The state of Nevada is literally cleaning up on unclaimed slot and video machine tickets that gamblers have either lost, forgot to cash in or didn’t bother to, to the tune of more than $35 million over the past five years, according to the Las Vegas Sun report.
Gone are the days of coin-based slots, gamblers playing on video poker and slot machines now collect their winnings via machine-dispensed tickets that must either be cashed in at the casino’s cage or at a ticket-in, ticket-out machine. In accordance with the state’s gaming regulations, the tickets expire in 180 days or at a date set by the casino, whichever is sooner.
The state doesn’t, however, get to pocket 100 percent of the more than $35 million in tickets unclaimed by gamblers. Lawmakers approved Assembly Bill 219 in 2011, which mandates that 75 percent of the revenue from lost/expired tickets go to Nevada’s general fund, with 25 percent staying with the casino.
On a quarterly basis, the dollar amount of the unclaimed tickets is reported by the casinos to the Nevada Gaming Control Board. The casinos then gather 75 percent of the amount and send it to the board, which in turn sends it to the state’s general fund. And in the five years since the law was enacted Nevada has averaged close to $8 million a year in slot vouchers that have expired and have been collected; over the past four years, collection reporting has been complete, according to the news agency.
Most of the nearly $12 million worth of unclaimed tickets in 2016 were attributed to the Las Vegas Strip. Of the $12 million, $8.78 million went to the state, with the remainder going back to the casinos. In addition, this fiscal year more than $7 million worth of video and slot vouchers went unclaimed on the Strip, according to the report. The next largest amount was attributed to Downtown, with just under $1 million, with the least claimed in Northern Las Vegas, with $193,640.