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What Not to Do with a Found Slot Ticket

7 December 2009

By John Robison

Hi,

I have a question about finding the lost slot TITO. I went to a casino and I was playing the slot machine,and across from me there was a lady playing at the blackjack table. When she was done and left, she dropped 3 TITO on the floor worth $397.I discovered it only after a few minutes and I got excited and put it in my pocket. A few minutes later, she came back looking for it and I was still playing the slot machine. I didn't give back to her but I should have when I had the chance. You see, it was like walking in the street and spotting a $1 or $20 bill on the ground but the incident occurred inside the casino and surrounded with security cameras. I thought about cashing it out but I realized that it's considered stealing and it's belong to her. The TITO may be considered as cash but to me, it's a piece of paper.I thought about turning it over to the cash office but I got scared and nervous that the security will accuse me of stealing. Honestly, I have no intentional of stealing but it happened. I just got excited but I knew it would be wrong to cash it out.so,I zoomed out of the building and took the it with me.

I came back the same night and thought about turning it in to the cash office but instead I went to the cash out machine and found out that the TITO were invalid. So I assumed that the cash office tracked the amount and blocked it from redeeming the money.so I didn't need to turn it in and I went to the restroom and torn it and flush it in the toilet. And I came back to the casino because I didn't cash it out.

A week later, I came back and I played the slot machine and a observer officer came up to me and flashed his badge to me. He asked me what I did with the TITO and I told him that I torn it up. He told me that it doesn't belong to me and that I supposed to turn it in to the cash office and then he said not to do that again and left. I was surprised he didn't take me to the office or arrest me but I'm glad that I didn't cash it out otherwise, for sure I'd be in jail for theft. Like I said I have no intentional of stealing but the next time I see the TITO left behind on the floor, I'm not going to take it and let someone else deal with it.

Dave

Dear Dave,

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 you players 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,
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