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What not to do with a found slot ticket7 December 2009
Let's follow the chronology of your actions. First you pick up three tickets that a lady dropped. That's okay. I think the pleasure centers in our brains kick in first and we dream about what we can do with found money. Then the moral centers fire up and we realize that we an obligation to find the rightful owner. You said it would be wrong to redeem the ticket -- that's right -- so you left the casino. That's wrong. You should have turned in the tickets. Even if it had been many minutes since you found them, the casino would not accuse you of stealing them because they don't know when the lady lost the tickets or when you found them.
Later that night you returned to the casino and thought about turning in the tickets. But instead you tried to redeem them. What happened to the thoughts about turning them in? How can you say you had no intention of stealing when you tried to redeem the tickets?
As you discovered when the machine would not redeem the tickets, a TITO ticket is not just "a piece of paper." It's a piece of paper with a unique serial number and whose history is stored on a server in the casino. The casino can tell when the tickets was issued and on which machine. The casino can also tell when a ticket is redeemed or attempted to be redeemed.
When the lady realized she had lost the tickets, she reported the loss to casino personnel. They checked to see if the tickets had been redeemed. (If they had been redeemed, they could have alerted security about the redemption and security could have reviewed surveillance to see who had redeemed the tickets.) Her tickets had not been redeemed, so they invalidated them and issued new ones. They might also have set a flag to alert security if anyone tried to redeem the tickets.
Here's what to do on both sides of the situation:
If you lose a slot ticket, let the casino know immediately. You'll have to help them figure out the serial numbers on the ticket(s) you lost. The casino may be able to find the serial numbers using your player's card number. If not, you'll have to tell them which machine issued the ticket, the approximate time and the approximate amount.
If you find a slot ticket and there's a casino employee nearby, point out the tickets to the employee and let him or her take care of it. If no one is around, then pick up the ticket and take it to the cage or give it to casino personnel as soon as possible. This is what you would want someone to do if you lost a ticket. No matter what you do, don't try to redeem it.
Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
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.
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