What Happens if You Leave Money Behind?

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Cash out button on an Aristocrat machine

Fears of tickets not printing for the right amount have existed since the launch of ticket in ticket out (TITO) systems. Here’s an example of a question about them:

What happens if you win and it’s more than the ticket prints out and you walk off not knowing you had won more?

Linda L.

Since these systems were installed, machines have often had labels on them, or messages displayed on the screen, reminding players to check the amount before walking away. That way, if something goes wrong, which would be incredibly rare, you can catch it before leaving the machine.

Verify ticket before leaving the machine

If you won a jackpot, the machine is going to lock up, so you can’t cash out your ticket. If a machine is still counting up, it already knows under the hood what you’ve won, so hitting cash out would simply accelerate the counting up and move right to the print ticket phase.

So in either of those cases you shouldn’t have your ticket misprinted. A more likely, and perhaps more common, example, is in casinos where you download your free play balance upfront but fail to play the entire amount through before cashing out. 

When you cash out in those circumstances, the machines will often cash out the cash while leaving the free play balance on the machine. Walking away means someone else could potentially have access to that free play, depending on how the casino is set up.

But let’s presume you forget to cash out some amount, or some sort of glitch happens and the ticket doesn’t print for the full amount. Presumably in those cases the balance remains on the machine. If someone else spotted it and cashed it out before you realized it, or put a ticket in and began playing on their own, you might have a challenge that then falls to what casino policy is about abandoned funds.

We’ve heard stories of casinos that require the money be given back to the original player, or have chased players down when money was found left in a machine or a ticket on the floor was traced back to them. We’ve heard of stories where casinos take ownership of the funds, based on the state’s and/or casino’s regulations on abandoned funds.

So there’s not a clear-cut answer here, as policy comes into play, but the general gist of our answer is that such a scenario, absent human error, would be exceedingly rare. It’s healthy to do a quick glance at the ticket, but it’s unlikely it will cash out for the wrong amount, whether high or low.

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