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Best of John Robison

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Reactions to banned for taking money left on machines

7 February 2011

Hi John,

It was interesting reading the question and the response to this. I understand the original writer went to several machines to collect leftover money and that's what got him into trouble. But what about when you go to a single machine (with intent to play) and there is credit left on the machine? Usually I see this in amounts less than the smallest denomination or on occasion, less than the max bet.

Do you print the credit out and leave the ticket there? Do you call an attendant over to reset the machine? Give them the voucher? Or just throw in your cash and play it out? Is there a legal or ethical obligation, or just call it a windfall and spend someone else's two bits?

Ian

Dear Ian,

There is a clear-cut answer. As members of civilized society, we are obligated to not take another person's property without his or her permission. The "civilized" response to finding money left on a machine is to make an attendant aware of the situation. He or she will then follow the casino's procedures for handling money left on a machine.

But let's be realistic. Toll money (a couple of bucks) left on a machine is more than likely abandoned and the proper owner is probably not going to come back for it. I wouldn't have any qualms about sitting down and putting money in a machine that already had a few dollars' credit on it in Las Vegas, Atlantic City or Tunica. If the credits were over $10 or I was playing in another jurisdiction, I would call an attendant.

All of the horror stories players have told me about poor treatment after taking money left on a machine have occurred in the newer gaming jurisdictions. The safest course of action in these jurisdictions is to call an attendant. It's not worth taking a chance on having troubles for a buck or two.

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