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Best of John Robison

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Banned for taking money left on machines

24 January 2011

I WAS a frequent visitor for several years at the Cherokee Casino in West Siloam Springs, OK. In the last 12 months alone I have gambled away over $10,000 at the bare minimum at this one casino. Today, I was banned for a 24-hour period, humiliated and incredibly insulted by this casino's security staff.

I had apparently broken a federal law by going to EMPTY machines that people had left change on (all under $1.00, most under 20 cents) and cashed them out trying to put them together to make a dollar or two to gamble back. I was ordered off the casino floor to a little room, where I was detained for this "terrible" crime and punished.

Give me a break, Cherokee Casino -- was the couple a bucks you "lost" (though I was putting it back in your machines) worth losing a very loyal customer?? I will NEVER go to another Cherokee Casino as long as I live to gamble!

I was so horribly embarrassed by something I had no idea was wrong. If I find a quarter on the way to the parking lot, should I leave it to avoid arrest? If they have these rules that aren't evident to most of their visitors, shouldn't they post them to avoid this confusion and embarrassment?

To try to see the situation from the casino's point of view, they may have only seen you going from machine to machine and cashing out the change left on them and didn't see you actually play any machines. Security may thought you were a "silver miner," a person who scours the casino looking for money left in machines with no intention to play.

I don't think you broke a federal law. The proper disposition of money left on machines is a state matter, covered in the statutes that legalize the operation of slot machines.

In general, "finders keepers, losers weepers" does not apply. Money left on machines does not belong to the person who finds it. The money doesn't belong to the casino, either. The casino usually has to treat money left on a slot like other lost property. If it can't be returned to the proper owner, it has to be given to charity. Note that different states have different rules.

In your case, the punishment did not fit the crime. I think an explanation and a warning would have been more appropriate.

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