What Should You Do With Small Amounts Left Behind?

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Ticket into slot machine

The ticket redemption machines at casinos are much more frequently prone to not give you change anymore. And some people don’t bother to bring small tickets back to the cashier. So what happens to all those tickets, one player wonders:

What should you do with a small amount left in a machine or a ticket left behind? And how much money is left behind? Where does it go?

Matt G.

There isn’t reliable data everywhere about how much is left behind, but one state leads the charge, as always: Nevada. Nevada has a law that tickets that aren’t cashed within a certain amount of time must be reported, and 75 percent of that amount must go to the state.

In fiscal year 2022, $22 million worth of expired vouchers were left behind by players. That was a big jump over previous years, and likely the effect of those ticket machines not returning coins anymore.

What do you do with small (under $1) amounts?

While the original justification was a coin shortage that did indeed happen at the beginning of the pandemic, but eased relatively soon after and the machines didn’t change back, there’s another major reason: Coins are heavy, and require extra labor to manage. By getting rid of coins, the machines didn’t need to get filled as often.

So, more of those under $1 tickets get printed, and players are less likely to go to the cashier. Some casinos added the ability to make a donation on the machine in lieu of a ticket, but not all have implemented this. Slot manufacturers have also added wager savers (also known as the Lucky Chance Spin on link machines) that let you wager whatever change you have left for a chance at another spin.

One thing you shouldn’t do is leave your ticket laying on a machine. Some states have laws that once a ticket is abandoned it is the legal property of the casino, and someone else being caught picking up that ticket could get into legal trouble for it. It’s not worth that sort of thing for your fellow player.

We have seen increasing instances of people handing a random ticket to another player sitting at a slot. That’s more kosher as at least you’re handing it off willingly to someone else. So if you don’t want to go to the cashier, or use the donation options, that’s our recommendation of what to do with your own tickets.

If you find someone else’s, it’s probably best to just leave it, just in case you’re in one of those super strict states.

Have a question? Submit yours here!

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2 Replies to “What Should You Do With Small Amounts Left Behind?”

  • Natasha Ayanah Thomas says:

    I use it up on machines that take extremely low bets, pass it on to someone or I use it as my pickup ticket. That 1st $.15 ticket I hold onto it and any game I get off of and has little change I put that ticket in then cash out. By the end of the night or week or month… it’s a pretty decent ticket to gamble or I just cash it out.

    • FlipTheSwitch.com says:

      Those little amounts really do add up Natasha! The approach of putting the small tickets together for a little extra gamble or cash out at the end is a fun approach.

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