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An incident with money left on a slot machine at a California casino

4 October 2010

California Casino Incident.

I was the first to play a slot machine on which someone had left money. I did not have my reading glasses on; I had my yellow-tinted sunglasses on that I wear inside buildings. I played the machine, that play won. I pull the ticket out of the machine it had $99.01 on it. I changed the ticket for cash as a rule so I would not spend it. But I did as usual, down to $3.22 and $3.00 in my hand, when casino security walked up to me and said I had taken $100.00 from a patron.

There was a man playing the machine next to where I had won the $99.01. The man I saw kept playing the machine he was sitting at. Security told me the man was playing two machines. But how was I able to sit down and play. So they then told me he was playing the other machine when he questioned himself about where his money went. They said it was the money I thought I had won. The security guard call me a thief and said I would be banned if I could not give it back. I offered what I had they would not accept it and proceeded to ban me from the casino. The casino security said money left on the machine belongs to them. So why did they allow me to cash out the ticket and keep the $3.22 and the $3.00 in my hand. If it was mine to keep why did I get banned ? Was I banned for not having enough money? And if I did would I been able to keep it also? How was I to know the money belonged to the man I sat down next to. He had to see me, the space to play the machines was designed to get as many people playing in a small space not comfort. I am not a mind reader to know he was the owner. In fact I would have put my life on whatever amount was on the machine it was not the persons I sat down next to.

Feel free to comment.

You can rest assured that if I choose to publish a letter, I will feel free to comment.

Are you saying that because you didn't have your reading glasses on, you didn't see that there were credits left on the machine? Some of your statements imply that you didn't know there were credits on the machine, yet others imply that you did.

In any case, the casino is right that lost money is like any other lost property -- you're supposed to turn it in to the casino. I'm not so sure that it "belongs" to the casino; I believe some jurisdictions require that the money be turned over to the state or donated to charity.

I have more questions. Why didn't the other player tell you right away that he was playing the machine? If he was afraid to confront you, why didn't he press the Service button to get someone from the casino to help him? And if you change tickets for cash so you don't spend the money "as a rule", how could you also, presumably, play it down to about $6 "as usual" (though you don't say how you turned $99.01 to $6.22)?

With the tracking systems and constant surveillance used in today's casinos, it's better to report money found on machines than to play it.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


Send your slot and video poker questions to John Robison, Slot Expert, at slotexpert@comcast.net. Because of the volume of mail I receive, I regret that I can't reply to every question.

John Robison

John Robison is an expert on slot machines and how to play them. John is a slot and video poker columnist and has written for many of gaming’s leading publications. He holds a master's degree in computer science from the prestigious Stevens Institute of Technology.

You may hear John give his slot and video poker tips live on The Good Times Show, hosted by Rudi Schiffer and Mike Schiffer, which is broadcast from Memphis on KXIQ 1180AM Friday afternoon from from 2PM to 5PM Central Time. John is on the show from 4:30 to 5. You can listen to archives of the show on the web anytime.

Books by John Robison:

The Slot Expert's Guide to Playing Slots
John Robison
John Robison is an expert on slot machines and how to play them. John is a slot and video poker columnist and has written for many of gaming’s leading publications. He holds a master's degree in computer science from the prestigious Stevens Institute of Technology.

You may hear John give his slot and video poker tips live on The Good Times Show, hosted by Rudi Schiffer and Mike Schiffer, which is broadcast from Memphis on KXIQ 1180AM Friday afternoon from from 2PM to 5PM Central Time. John is on the show from 4:30 to 5. You can listen to archives of the show on the web anytime.

Books by John Robison:

The Slot Expert's Guide to Playing Slots