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More on Lost Slot Tickets

26 April 2006

By John Robison


In response to the question from Slot Machine Freak, regarding lost slot payout tickets being traced, or payment stopped, the answer should have been FORGET IT.

Each ticket, along with the information about date/time/machine number/amount will also have on it, although in small print, the phrase that this is a bearer instrument.

Any person that is old enough to legally be in the casino can pick up and cash in that ticket, either at the cashier's cage or the redemption machines usually located throughout the casino.

I am sure that most people that play the ticket-type machines are aware that sometimes the machine itself will jam when producing a ticket, and the paper will not come out. If they leave the machine without having the machine unjammed, that will permit someone else to come to that machine, put in their money, play, and punch out. This too will also jam, and they get the slot attendant to clear the jam will give both tickets to that person, and the first person who left the machine is just out of their money.

Dear Sir:

I love your column and share it with my friends. Sometime I print articles for those that do not have a computer.

About the article on cash tickets: At Harrah's, I had $82.02 that I cashed out of a penny machine. I went close by to an other machine, put my ticket in, but promptly withdrew the ticket to play another close by. I never looked at the amount, but when I put it in the machine I only had 2 cents. I called for help and they tracked the $82 back to the machine I had left which an old lady was playing. She was told what happened, and it was up to the woman and me to settle. I gave her $20 dollars, which she said she had put into the machine, and took the rest of the ticket, which was a big loss.

Check those tickets.

I am a high limit slot player and a registered professional gambler. Slot tickets are bearer items; that is, whoever holds it can cash it. It is possible that a casino may be able to track it from the point of issue, but it is a question of procedure. If a player had a big ticket and made a big stink, a security supervisor could check play tapes and possibly track it. Then the casino can place a hold on it if it hadn't already been cashed.

But I and my fellow players have seen where TITO tickets are being stolen or even counterfeited. Unwary players walk away from cash outs or hand pays because they are unaware. When I teach slot players how to play, I always stress to them to watch and read everything, and ask someone if they need clarification or information. Always check the credit meter and make sure you have your money before you walk away!

I have had a slot ticket taken. I was at the Hard Rock in Vegas last August, you had to push the cash out twice in order to get your ticket. I pushed it once and my husband said something to me and I walked over to see what he wanted. When I realized that I had walked away from my machine, just a couple of seconds, I turned around and my ticket was gone. It was $78.75, I will never forget that number. Someone was watching and was close enough to my machine to push the button and print the ticket and walk away.

I talked Security about it and they just laughed!!!!

I wasn't drinking and it was in the middle of the afternoon. Urrrr.. How discouraging. That will never happen again. Anyone can cash in your tickets, at least at the Hard Rock.

I was playing a slot machine while waiting to be called for a poker tournament at Ameristar Casino, St. Charles, Mo., when they called my name I got up to get my entry form without cashing out. I went back to cash out my machine and someone had cashed it out and taken the ticket. I asked the casino hostess and they said those tickets are just like cash. If you leave it in a machine or drop it anyone finding it can cash it and take your money. Needless to say I am very sure I have cashed out of a machine before leaving it now.


I read your column and really appreciate your efforts to dispel many of the myths surrounding the operation of slot machines.

I wanted to respond to "A Slot Machine Freak," who asked about lost and stolen tickets.

You are correct to assume that the ticket is just like cash. In most casinos that offer ticketing, the tickets can be accepted in most or all of the machines on the floor, redeemed by a redemption machine or cashed by live cashiers. The best thing to do if a ticket is lost or stolen, is to notify Slot or Security personnel as soon as possible. Tickets can be blocked from being cashed on most ticketing systems, but time is of the essence. If the finder redeems the ticket before it can be blocked, there is little that the casino can do. In cases where the ticket has already been redeemed, the only recourse is for security and surveillance personnel to try to find the person who redeemed it in the casino and ask for the money back.

Chris Lorton
Slot Manager
Spa Resort Casino

Thanks, Chris, for giving us some insight on what can and can't be done by some ticketing systems.

The bottom line on slot tickets is this: Treat them like cash. If one is lost or stolen, notify the casino right away. You've nothing to lose.


Send your slot and video poker questions to John Robison, Slot Expert, at Because of the volume of mail I receive, I regret that I can't send a reply to every question. Also be advised that it may take several months for your question to appear in my column.

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