Walk through most casino floors, and you’ll see a fair amount of people sitting at slot machines, hoping their next pull is “the big one.” Others tend to favor card games and spend their night playing poker or blackjack. But one New York City woman says she has a different game she likes to play whenever she’s at a casino — and it doesn’t involve placing any bets first.
“I don’t know if anyone else plays this game when they’re at casinos, but my favorite game to play is walking around and collecting all of the cash people leave on their machines and seeing how much I can get,” says TikTok user Ileana (@ileana.justine).
By “cash,” she means the cash receipts that slot machines spit out after a player is done with their game. Unless a player wins big, the receipts often amount to very little — a dollar here or a couple of cents there — which is why a lot of people simply leave them and walk away.
But not Ileana. She diligently collects each and every one she sees and then brings them to the cash machine at the end of the night, where she puts each ticket in to get cash in return.
“Tonight’s grand total after about half an hour was $7.28,” she shares in the video.
While that may not seem like much, it’s free money. So at the end of the night, Ileana walks away feeling like a winner no matter what.
After sharing the tip on TikTok, Ileana might have expected people to cheer her on. And while there were definitely some people who did, she was surprised by just how many told her that what she’s been doing wasn’t cool.
“Ooooo coming from a casino employee, be so careful,” one person warned.
“That’s called silver mining it’s usually not allowed,” another commenter told her.
Someone else had a different term for it: “They call them ‘ticket miners’ in the security realm and are a target for getting kicked out of the casino,” the person shared.
“I think that is illegal in some casinos,” yet another commenter added. “Money left behind actually belongs to the casino….”
After getting a ton of comments like these, Ileana started responding to some.
“Nobody needs to worry, I had my lawyer check into the legality, it wasn’t illegal in the state I was in,” she told multiple commenters.
She also added that it feels as though casinos should be “more concerned about people counting cards or harassing other customers” than something this minor.
While that may be true, several commenters said they knew someone who actually got in trouble for doing this.
“My friend got arrested for that,” one person claimed.
“So my SIL picked up a ticket off the floor that was $0.10 and we were immediately surrounded by 4 big security men in suits asking if it was hers,” another commenter wrote.
“We almost got kicked out of our local casino for trying this,” someone else said. “They gave us a warning and said next time we would be barred for 24 hours.”
Ileana did have her fair share of defenders, though.
“The amount of hate and judgement over less than $8. wow. glad you had fun!” one person told her.
“The way the casino makes millions of dollars and people are upset you took $7.28,” said another.
“That’s more than minimum wage,” someone else noted. “You scored!”
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