May 31st, 2023: Enjoying your favourite blackjack or slot machine is easy and convenient when playing at online casinos. You top-up your account, choose the game, set your wager, and start the round. In the case of slot machines, you set the wager, spin the reels, and if you win, you request a withdrawal at the Cashier. But for players and enthusiasts who enjoy the games in Las Vegas, the experience is quite different.
After playing a video poker or slot machine, they’ll press the ‘Cash Out’ button and receive a small paper voucher representing their winnings. They’ll take the voucher to one of the ATM-like redemption machines on the floor as part of the process. And when they use these vouchers to encash the winnings, these machines often round down to the nearest dollar and dispense cash, but with no coins. And then they get about the voucher, this time for 99 cents.
So what normally happens to most guests and players of Las Vegas casinos? Well, some leave the piece of paper at the machine, throw it on the floor, or put it in the trash. Or, for some, they just put it in their pocket or wallet and forget about it. And if according to most rules, vouchers that are not redeemed within six months expire.
Pennies add up and become lucrative in the long run
Vouchers replace coin drops
One unclaimed voucher may be insignificant, but hundreds of unused vouchers can translate to millions of dollars. So how large is the amount that goes back to the operators? According to the Nevada Gaming Control Board, players in Nevada casinos forfeited around $22 million in vouchers last fiscal year. According to a state law passed in 2011, 75% of the unclaimed winnings go to the state, and the operators shall retain the rest.
Traditionally, machines in casinos instantly reward the lucky players with coins that automatically drop into the machine trays when a winning combo is hit. But with the improvements in technology, including ticket-in and ticket-out, operators can now run operations efficiently, but this can also lead to unclaimed money, which puts some players at a disadvantage.
Through the years, the revenues from vouchers have been increasing. In 2012, Las Vegas casinos reported $4.2 million, and it has been growing ever since. This type of revenue doesn’t go unnoticed by the casino management and some players. This arrangement aggravates people, and some are left asking- where does the unclaimed money go?
Louisiana woman files a case against MGM
This has led some players to publicly express their frustrations, including one who filed a complaint against a Las Vegas casino. According to reports, a Louisiana woman filed a case against MGM Resorts International in Mississippi’s Southern District Federal Court, claiming that MGM, the owner of the Beau Rivage Resort & Casino in Biloxi, is ‘stealing millions’ from unsuspecting players through its voucher redemption kiosks.
According to the complaint, last June, the player stayed at the Beau Rivage Resort and Casino in Biloxi, Mississippi. She played a slot machine, cashed out with a voucher worth $18.19, and went to redeem this at the kiosk. In her affidavit, she added that she received $18 in cash and a ticket worth 19 cents. In her complaint, she shared that she was unaware that the ticket must be redeemed at the casino’s cage, and she left without using the ticket, which expired after one month.
MGM has not commented at the time of the filing of the case.
The filing of this case shows how players are starting to question and take notice of the different policies that often favor the operators. Ultimately, we think players can still decide what to do with their vouchers. They have the right to cash it out, use it to play other casino games at low- denominations, and give it to others who can better use it. What are your thoughts?