Gambling

Casinos Are Closing the Window for Slot Ticket Redemption

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It’s a casino trend that could affect your financial wellbeing, so we’re all over it.

Some casinos are discreetly shortening the window of time before a TITO (ticket in, ticket out) voucher can be cashed. If your slot ticket expires, you could be SOL, and that would be FUBAR as a reminder of your Las Vegas YOLO experience.

In human English, you need to pay attention to TITO voucher expiration dates!

Don’t be frustrated, A.I. gambler. You serve an illustrative purpose only.

Traditionally, gamblers have been given 90 to 180 days (about six months) to redeem their slot tickets. These expiration dates aren’t exactly set in stone, as casinos often honor expired tickets, but it’s a gamble to go beyond the expiration date stated on the ticket.

Now, casinos are giving customers as little as 30 days to trade their vouchers for cash. We are not a math person, but that is as much as five months less time to turn in a slot ticket than in the past.

Such a short redemption period should be of concern, and not just because it feels a little sneaky. Who reads the small print on a slot ticket?

Players often leave town with their voucher, assuming they’ll just cash it on their next visit in three months.

If you wait three months to cash in a voucher at a casino with a 30-day redemption limit, your Las Vegas visit is going to cost much more than anticipated.

No, we have not compiled a comprehensive database of casino voucher expiration windows. We are a noted lazy person. However, we do know expiration windows vary widely. Our friends at Vegas Advantage did the leg work so we don’t have to.

As stated, most casinos have slot vouchers that expire in 180 days, including Casino Royale of all places. There’s no real rhyme or reason to how long a casino will give a player to get their cheddar, or whatever our fellow youths are calling money now. Clams should still be a thing. With all our modern technology, nobody has come up with a better word than “simoleons” for money.

Westgate tickets expire in 120 days.

A bunch of casinos have 60-day time limits, including

Slot vouchers at Wynn/Encore expire after 60 days, ditto Circus Circus, El Cortez, Ellis Island and Plaza.

Golden Nugget and Treasure Island slot tickets expire after a mere 30 days, along with off-Strip casinos like Rampart and Ojos Locos.

That’s as comprehensive as we get on short notice.

If you haven’t cashed out, have you really “lost” anything?

Why the shortened timeline?

We have no idea, but that will not keep us from pretending to be an expert about everything.

Slot vouchers are a liability for casinos, an outstanding “debt.” The sooner the casino can get that liability off its books, the happier the bean counters are.

Is shortening the redemption window a “trick” on the part of casinos? Not really. Yes, casinos get a piece of the action from uncashed slot tickets, but it’s not very much.

When a slot ticket is “abandoned,” the casino keeps 25% for administrative costs and the rest goes into Nevada’s General Fund for important things like education. Just kidding, we meant publicly subsidized sports stadiums.

More than $22 million a year in unclaimed vouchers might sound like a lot, but that’s a paltry $5.5 million kept by all the casinos in Nevada, and that’s spread out over 150 casinos in Las Vegas alone. Pocket change.

Speaking of change, the amount of money for unredeemed cash-out vouchers has climbed since most casinos stopped giving coins at redemption kiosks, under cover of the pandemic, of course. The truth is coins are a pain for casino operators, but don’t get us started.

There was even a lawsuit about the irksome no-change practices of casinos. We have no idea how that ended up, but the threat of lawsuits had zero impact on Las Vegas casinos. You still have to shlep to the cage to get your 48 cents.

Anyway, the whole point is you should not assume your slot voucher will be good for six months, as it could be redeemable for as little as 30 days. If your slot expires, your money is potentially forfeit.

Ultimately, casinos don’t want to screw people out of money in an underhanded way. They prefer to do it in the old-fashioned way: Math. Casinos don’t need to scam anyone, every bet has a built-in mathematical advantage for the house. We try not to think about it.

If your voucher has expired, try a kiosk, but the machine might kick your ticket back out. Head to the cage and be nice to the cashier. If they won’t pay it, speak to a manager and be nice to them.

Your winnings are unlikely to break the bank (if you won more than $1,200, you were paid in cash, not via TITO voucher), and casinos like to keep customers happy so they keep coming back. Payment of expired TITO tickets is at the discretion of the casino, so like we said, be nice.

If your ticket is going to expire and you won’t get back to Vegas in time, you can often mail the voucher to the casino (along with a copy of your “valid government issued photo identification card”) and the casino will send you a check in a month or two.

Now, you know.

Leaving a casino with cash is very rude, by the way. It doesn’t not help our local economy, and if everyone left with money, Nevadans would have to start paying state income tax and nobody wants that.

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