By Bill Burton
One of the quickest changes to the casinos over the last few years has been the transition to coinless slot machines. Some of the casinos call it the EZ-Pay system while some call it TITO which stands for Ticket In Ticket Out. Instead of feeding coins into the machine you place any denomination bill in the bill receptor and the machine registers the appropriate amount of credits. When you hit the button to cash out a voucher is printed with the amount of payout which you can redeem at the cashiers cage or redemption machine. All of the new machines being made have this feature.
The change to a coinless system became a necessity because of the advent of the multi–denomination machines. The casinos also favored them because it allowed them to cut labor costs by having to hire less slot attendants and change people.
The casinos made a conscience effort to make sure the new coinless system would be accepted by the players. Many casinos added numerous redemption kiosks around the casino floor. This makes it faster and more convenient for players to cash in their vouchers. Players no longer have to lug buckets of dirty coins across the casino floor and wait in line for a cahier to count them.
Players also don’t have to worry about a machine running out of coins while they are cashing out. In the past the biggest complaint amongst slot players was the time they had to wait for a hopper fill especially when the casino was crowded. The TITO system has eliminated this problem.
When coinless slots were first introduced onto the casino floor the main complaint from the players was the inconvenience when switching machines. If they wanted to switch machines they I had to take my voucher over to the cashier and convert it back to money to put in the next machine. Fortunately, this issue was quickly addressed and in many of the newer coinless machines you are able to place a voucher from one machine directly into another. If you are in hurry when you cash out you can even just put the voucher in your wallet or purse and use it when you play later.
This however can cause a problem if you forget to cash it in before you head for home especially if you are visiting a casino in another State. A few weeks ago I received an email from a person who had forgotten to redeem a slot voucher while on vacation in Las Vegas. He told me it expired in 60 days and wanted to know how to cash it in since he would not be going back to Las Vegas in that time.
I had never forgotten to cash in a coupon and I just assumed that you could mail it into the casino and they would send you the money. I learned that this was not the case at every casino. In fact while doing some research I found that the policies for dealing with forgotten slot vouchers varies not only from casino to casino but State to State even among casinos owned by the same gaming companies.
I called several casinos around the country and asked to be connected to the main casino cage. In each instance I asked for their policy for redeeming a voucher that a player forgot to cash in. Here is a sample of my findings.
Casino Policies – At Foxwoods in Connecticut the ticket/vouchers from the slot machines are good for 240 days. If you forget to cash one in you can mail it in to collect your money.
Harrah’s is one of the biggest national gaming companies and I called several of their casinos to check their policies. When I called the casino in Atlantic City I was told that the EZ Pay vouchers did not expire but if I wanted to redeem one after 90 days I would have to go to the main cage to cash it. At Harrah’s in Las Vegas the vouchers are good for 90 days and they even have an address printed on the back with instructions for mailing in the voucher.
Boyd Gaming is another national company and their policies differ at casinos around the country. At Sam’s Town in Tunica, MS the slot vouchers are good for 60 days and if you forget to redeem one you can mail it in to collect your money. This is not the case at the Fremont, another Boyd property in downtown Las Vegas. I was told that the slot vouchers at the Fremont expire in 30 days and there is no way to mail them in or redeem them other than in person.
When I called the Mirage in Las Vegas I was told that their vouchers were good for 90 days but there was no way to mail them in. A player must cash it or lose it.
Subject to Change – Because the policy for redeeming slot vouchers varies so much you should call the casino if you find yourself with a ticket you forgot to cash. The casinos also change their policies at times so even the information I mention could change at a moment’s notice.
What You Can Do – If you should find yourself with a voucher from a casino with a “no-Mail policy” all may not be lost. If you are a regular player at the casino my advice would be to call and ask for a casino host if you don’t already have one. Explain the problem with the host. The casino host wants to do everything possible to retain their good players and they may be able to work out a solution for you.
To avoid forgetting the vouchers you should redeem them when you get done playing. I like to do this because I can enter the information in my log book after I cash my voucher. If you want to save them to play later then make it a habit to redeem your vouchers at the end of the day before heading to your room. When you get ready to check out of your hotel make sure take a look in your wallet for any vouchers you may have forgotten.
Consistent Policies – If the casinos wanted to make the TITO system more player friendly they could make the vouchers interchangeable among the properties they own. I realize however that this may not be possible for accounting purposes. They could however initiate a policy that would be consistent among all of their casinos.
Until Next time remember:
Luck comes and goes…..Knowledge Stays Forever.
Bill Burton is the author of “1000 Best Casino Gambling Secrets” and “Get the Edge at Low Limit Texas Hold’em” available online at www.billburton.com. He an instructor for Golden Touch Craps: www.thecrapsclub.com