Featured in this article:
  • Unredeemed slot tickets allocated to casino revenue
  • Nevada casino players left $16.5M tickets unclaimed
  • Players can redeem tickets up to six months after wins

3 Minute Read

Playing keno? Expect different payouts than the lottery.

For many years, slot machines accepted cash. Players could insert coins or bills and play, with any winnings paid out in coins. They took those coins – sometimes in a plastic bucket – to the cashier to receive bills.

Casinos have changed as slot machines matured. Technology provided a method by which casinos could do away with coins. Machines began printing tickets. Instead of buckets of coins, players took their tickets to the cashier for cash. Even faster and cheaper, casinos installed cash machines that took tickets and dispensed cash in return.

Slot machine tickets ultimately provided an unforeseen benefit to casinos. Patrons sometimes forget to exchange the tickets for cash. Eventually they expire.

Nevada’s casinos benefit by the millions each year due to unredeemed tickets.

Unclaimed Tickets

Some gamblers throw away their tickets for a few cents, sometimes even a few dollars if they don’t have immediate access to a redemption machine. Other times, players lose their tickets before cashing them in. There are even gamblers who take their tickets home – by mistake or otherwise – from a Vegas vacation or Reno vacation and either forget to bring them back or don’t get back to Vegas in time to cash them out.

Those tickets do expire.

Nevada gives gamblers six months to use a voucher or let it expire. This means those tickets printed by slot machines go to back to the casinos’ coffers.

Casinos do not need to report how many tickets go uncashed, but they must include 25% of the redemption value of said tickets in their monthly gross revenue reports. After the casinos take their 25% as revenue, they must send the rest to the Nevada Gaming Commission. That body puts it into the state’s general fund.

Big Money

Nevada unclaimed tickets

Courtesy of Las Vegas Review-Journal

According to the Nevada Gaming Commission, casino patrons in the state abandoned $16.5M worth of gambling tickets in the 2021-2022 fiscal year, which ended on June 30, 2022.Casinos kept nearly $5.5M of that money and claimed it as revenue.

Prior to the pandemic, Nevada claimed only $10.4M in the fiscal year ending in June 2019.

While the jump from 2019 to 2022 was nearly 60%, it is not all simple slot tickets. A new law in 2021 includes sports betting vouchers and some table game tickets as well.

The numbers have risen dramatically from the first year that unclaimed tickets became a source of revenue for Nevada casinos. That year – 2012, showed just $4.2M of unclaimed tickets.


Jennifer Newell

Jennifer Newell has been writing about poker and the gambling business for nearly 20 years. She first fell for poker when she worked for the World Poker Tour in Los Angeles. She has worked for numerous magazines and websites, which she now does from her St. Louis home.

Back To Top
Back To Top