- Denver man convicted of theft after playing a slot machine with $0.76 abandoned credit
- Hundreds of similar cases in Colorado identified
An investigation by FOX31 has shone a light on the abandoned credit policies of a number of casinos in the state of Colorado, which led to the prosecution of a man found guilty of playing a slot machine with $0.76 left by another customer.
Thirteen years ago, A.J.Werling visited a Black Hawk casino at the age of twenty-one and put $20 into a machine without noticing that the previous player had left $0.76 on the game.
According to Werling, he was then approached by casino security who said that he had attempted to steal $0.76. Prosecutors from Gilpin County, the casino involved and the Colorado State Department of Revenue Gaming Division worked together to bring a case against Werling, who was convicted of fraud, fined $500 and ordered to perform 24 hours of community service.
He says that the conviction continues to affect him.
He casino: “I still have to deal with the background checks, having to go over what transpired for jobs, apartments, anything that requires a background check. I have to disclose why I have a gambling theft conviction on my record.”
By law, Colorado casinos have special treatment when it comes to keeping another person’s credit.
The FOX31 investigation looked at over 900 cases in the last five years alone in which casinos based in Black Hawk, Central City and Cripple Creek have used State Gaming Enforcement agents to arrest customers for using money left by other patrons.
The policies and their legal underpinning are not mirrored by casino practice in other parts of the US.
Prior to 2011, Nevada casinos operated on a ‘finders keepers’ basis.
Since a law change that year, casinos in the state have been allowed to keep a quarter of abandoned credits, with the rest going to the state treasury.
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