Sin City, Lost Wages, Glitter Gulch, or just plain old Las Vegas. What immediately comes to mind? Probably not unclaimed property. But the state of Nevada has finally discovered a way to add insult to injury by requiring unclaimed property holders (e.g., casinos) to remit uncashed “wagering instruments.”

On March 1, 2011, the Nevada Legislature introduced Assembly Bill No. 219. This bill, if passed, would add the following property type and dormancy period to the state’s unclaimed property law reporting and remittance requirements:

Any wagering instrument, 1 year after the wager is placed, unless the Nevada Gaming Commission specifies by regulation a different period in which the wagering instrument must be redeemed is presumed abandoned.  

What is a wagering instrument? Under Nevada law, a wagering instrument is “a representative of value, other than a chip or token, that is issued by a licensee and approved by the board for use in a cashless wagering system.” Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 463.01967.

Under the proposed legislation, wagering instruments (including cards issued by casinos that operate like debit cards) are reportable after one year of inactivity. Imagine reporting all of those “free” buffets. (The value of the buffets and other “rewards” on the card arguably would be deemed reportable since “wagering instrument” is “representative of value other than by chip or token.”)

It is the casino’s responsibility to try to contact the gambler before the dormancy period expires. To do so, the casino would need to obtain the gambler’s name and address information. Arguably, the casino has the information on the player’s card, but what about those slips of paper that a player never redeems? If a casino does not track and maintain owner information under the unclaimed property law, the unredeemed “wagering instrument” and the accompanying funds must be remitted to the casino’s state of incorporation.