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June 29, 2017

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State looking to cash in on unredeemed slot tickets

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Leila Navidi

Gamblers play the slot machines at Aliante Station in North Las Vegas, in this file photo. Under a proposed regulation, the state would keep most of the money from unredeemed slot tickets.

CARSON CITY — A proposed regulation to divert most of the money from unredeemed slot machine tickets to the state took another step forward Tuesday.

The state Gaming Control Board held a workshop on the preliminary regulation that could mean millions dollars more for the state treasury.

Board Chairman Mark Lipparelli said he was surprised no one showed up to testify about the proposal. The proposal drew spirited opposition from the Nevada Resort Association and other casino representatives during the last Legislature.

By one estimate, it could mean $43 million now being kept by the casinos would go to the state.

Slot players routinely put cash in machines and receive a printed ticket for their balance when finished playing. Mostly gone are the days when coins were used in the one-armed bandits.

Some customers, however, forget to cash in their tickets or don’t bother, especially if the balance is small.

If the voucher is not redeemed, the casino keeps the extra money and pays the state’s 6.75 percent tax on it.

Under the proposed regulation, the casinos would have to send 75 percent of the proceeds from uncashed tickets to the state. The clubs would keep the remaining 25 percent and pay taxes on it.

The proposed regulation stipulates that slot vouchers would automatically expire after 180 days, unless the casinos designate a shorter time. Testimony in the Legislature said expirations typically range from 30 to 90 days, though some casinos will pay off tickets regardless of how old they are.

The proposed regulation now goes to the state Gaming Commission for final adoption. If approved, casinos would have to make their first report in October for the quarter that ended in September.

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