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Ask the Slot Expert: A slot ticket scam?11 March 2015
This reminds me of a problem I had a few years ago after my local water company and another water company in New Jersey was bought by a third water company, which was from another state. The records got mixed up as they were imported by the new company and somehow I got associated with a delinquent account from the other water company they bought and got reported to a collections agency.
Talk about an industry with poor customer service! I told them my water account had a different account number than the one they listed on their payment notice - even a different format - and my account was current. I said that I didn't have anything to do with the delinquent account. They said I had to get my water company to correct the error.
My water company could find no record of the account. After reporting that to the collections agency, the phone rep said that someone must have stolen my identity and I should report it to the police and then she hung up on me.
I finally got the situation straightened out when a rep at my water company was aware that they had purchased two New Jersey water companies and found the delinquent account in the second company's data. Mystery and problem solved.
I understand that many of the people calling the collections agency claim that they don't owe the amount requested, but still sometimes the caller is right and there is a mistake.
The slot floorperson who "helped" you could have given much better service. She could have explained that she is not able to open the cashbox, so she can't physically see the last ticket that was redeemed. She could have explained that she could pull up a log of tickets redeemed and the log shows that the last ticket was 10 cents. Instead of assuming you were trying to scam the casino, she could have assumed that you had made a mistake.
Ticket systems are well tested and extremely reliable. Is it possible that you were mistaken about the value of the ticket? I know I sometimes get confused when I have a couple of tickets in my wallet and put the wrong ticket in a machine.
In honor of the newish Batman slot machine on some slot floors, I ask the following question: When is a casino not a casino?
Answer: When it's run by the lottery.
When a casino is run by a state's lottery, the W-2G rules for lotteries applies and not those for Class III slot machines.
According to the instructions for Form W-2G, the form is required when you win $600 or more in a lottery and the winnings are at least 300 times the amount of the wager.
You're both partially right. You had the right dollar threshold and the cashier had the right ratio.
Your win of $1,000 is over the $600 threshold, and it represents over 300 times your $3 bet, so you won yourself a tax form in addition to your grand.
This win would not have triggered a tax form in a corporate casino, where the threshold is $1,200 or more. A few days ago the IRS proposed lowering the threshold to $600. The proposal is currently in the 90-day comment period.
Based on the disappointing results for online gaming in New Jersey, I don't think online games will have any effect on casino revenue.
Playing at home is no substitute for going to the casino. Part of the fun of going to the casino is strolling through the casino finding the new games. And part of the unpleasantness of going to the casino is finding out your favorite game is gone. The sights and sounds in your living room, moreover, can't compete with the sights and sounds of the casino.
For me and many others, nothing compares with going to the casino. I've played in some of New Jersey's online casinos for free, but I've never opened a real money account. It's fun to play the same games as in the casino, but I've found it's impossible to get a cocktail waitress in my living room.
Send your slot and video poker questions to John Robison, Slot Expert™, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Because of the volume of mail I receive, I regret that I can't reply to every question.
Best of John Robison