Though they may not admit it vocally anytime soon, the state of Nevada is quite happy when casino-goers lose casino tickets or simply forget to redeem them in time. According to the Las Vegas Sun, the state of Nevada has benefitted from forgetful gamblers to the tune of $35 million over the course of the past half-decade. This is something people rarely think about because the prospect of simply losing or forgetting about a casino ticket is something people do not think will happen to them. The fact of the matter, however, is that it does, clearly, affect a lot of people.
Times Change, People Don’t
Even though there are almost no Las Vegas casinos who still use coins like what you would have found back in the day, the absence of a multitude of coins has not made people any less forgetful than they have always been. Nowadays, the way in which you turn a casino ticket into cash is by entering it into a special machine that will read the ticket and dispense cash, or by taking it to the casino cage in much the same way you would turn chips into cash.
While one might think that slot tickets, like chips, have a never-ending lifespan, the fact of the matter is that Nevada state law sets very specific guidelines for how long a slot/video poker ticket is valid. The letter of the law states that these tickets expire on a date that the casino has set, or 180 days—whichever comes first.
Even though gamblers have reportedly lost more than $35 million over the past 5 years, the state of Nevada only sees a percentage of that total amount. Once again, this has everything to do with the way in which state laws are worded. In 2011, it was established that the state of Nevada would see ¾’s of the lost funds, while the casinos from which they originated would receive the other ¼.
According to the law, casinos from Las Vegas are legally required to report the dollar amount of unclaimed tickets that has accrued during that 3-month period. It then becomes the gaming control board’s duty to collect those funds and ultimately deposit it in the state’s general fund, at which point it can be used for whatever purpose lawmakers see fit.
The 2011 ruling seems to have been an extremely wise one, seeing as the state is averaging nearly an additional $10 million in revenue simply because of forgetful gamblers. As you could have imagined, most of the unclaimed tickets are derived from the Las Vegas Strip. Of the $12 million in unclaimed tickets that were abandoned in 2016, more than $7 million worth of them originated from the Las Vegas Strip. The location that came after The Strip was Downtown Las Vegas, however just barely $1 million in unclaimed tickets were found there. The rest of the state of Nevada contributed only $2.5 million in lost tickets.
Once again, state lawmakers might not admit this openly, but the hope is that as the number of casino-going visitors grows, so too will the total number of Dollars from unclaimed tickets. This just goes to show that even as casinos make the lives of gamblers increasingly straightforward, gamblers will still manage to needlessly lose out on winnings due, mostly, to carelessness.