You play the slots, you win a couple bucks, you print out your ticket and you walk to the kiosk to cash in your winnings. But there’s a line. So you think, I’ll redeem it later. But you never do. Oh well, you figure, it was just a couple bucks. Only it’s a bit more than that. Try tens of millions of bucks, unclaimed winnings that all go to the casinos. Beginning on July 1, the state will start taking 75 percent of those unclaimed slot ticket winnings. The Senate passed Assembly Bill 219 by a 14-7 vote. The Assembly passed it 40-2. Legislators think AB219 could raise more than $30 million in the next two years. What makes Bill 219 such a clever political maneuver is the casinos’ inability to object to it from a PR standpoint. What could the casinos say? “We worked hard for that money—it’s ours”? Of course not. That would make them looks greedy, and it would beg the response: “Actually, it’s not your money; it’s the players’.” And how could the casinos respond to that? “The money is ours; those winning tickets have expiration dates”? Hell no! Slot ticket expiration dates are the last thing to which casinos want to draw attention. So kudos to state legislators for finding the perfect taxation target. And watch out, expired gift card revenues. You could be next.
Wed, Jun 15, 2011 (1:45 p.m.)