Gambling related articles

Forgetful Punters are Losing out on Millions Every Year

From Claire Siblot.
January 2017.

Forgetful casino goers in Las Vegas have unwittingly been responsible for filling the state government's coffers to the tune of millions of dollars in unclaimed casino winnings. Since Nevada introduced paper tickets to replace machines churning out actual cash at slots - aka pokies - and video lottery terminals, some gamblers have been literally walking away from their winnings. While some receipts for minimal wins can be put down to punters feeling it isn't worth the effort to cash in their relatively small winnings, a larger percentage of unclaimed tickets are for sizeable jackpots. In these cases, punters have either not realised they are winners or simply left by accident.

"Las Vegas Night Skyline" (CC BY 2.0) by Prayitno

The issue has been highlighted by a report that found that almost $12 million worth of winning ticket receipts went unclaimed at casinos in Nevada during 2016, with more than $7 million coming from the Las Vegas Strip. Tickets remain valid for 180 days under a law passed by the state in 2011. If they're not claimed, the money is then redistributed, with 75% going to the government and the remaining 25% ending up back with the casino. In the five years since those changes to the law, the state is now better off to the tune of $35 million - this certainly makes playing slots online look even more appealing than it already was.

The world of online casinos has really seen slots and pokies evolve dramatically over the past decade, and punters are now able to not only learn how to play different slots but also choose from an almost endless range of options. There's more guidance too: novice players can now watch this new video tutorial that shows the best approach on how to win at the pokies before going on to take their pick from a huge selection of games, both casinos classics and the latest releases. In the online casino world, winnings are paid directly into a player's account, so there is no danger of walking away from a jackpot win. If you're as absent-minded as the Vegas players discussed, you simply realize there's extra cash in your account and check your winnings history.

In Vegas, all winning tickets are anonymous, making it harder for punters to claim a missing ticket or even for the casino to track them down. While some players are signed up to loyalty or reward schemes with the bigger Las Vegas casinos, and thus have shared their personal details with the casino, the only other way casino operators have of tracing the winner of an unclaimed ticket is by trawling through hours and hours of security camera footage, which is simply not feasible. It ultimately benefits the casino if they can't match a winning ticket with a visitor, so it's no surprise so much money has been left unclaimed on the casinos floors up and down the Las Vegas Strip since the introduction of paper tickets.


While this is a relatively new issue for casino visitors, it will be interesting to see whether or not this will see even more punters make the switch from traditional bricks-and-mortar locations to online casinos. As well as offering all the games you'd expect to see in a normal casino, online operators can play host to a vast selection of different options that you simply couldn't fit into even the biggest venue on the Las Vegas Strip. And with so much security when it comes to either making a bet or winning one, online casinos will look even more appealing to those who may have walked away from a winning ticket on their last visit to a casino.


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