What happens if you find money in a Casino? Colorado man arrested for ‘theft’ of 76 cents from a casino slot machine

A Colorado man was arrested, fined and given 24 hours community service for playing with 76 cents left in a casino slot machine by a previous player.

What would you do if you saw some money or a chip on the floor of a casino? Most people would probably just think that it was an exceptionally lucky day and either stick it in their pocket or on a number on the roulette wheel. But, if you do that then you could be arrested and prosecuted.

That’s what has happened to hundreds of casino gamblers in Colorado per year thanks to a relatively unknown statute: Fraud – Take Money Not Won.

This law states that all money on the casino floor belongs to the casino and if you find anything and keep it then the casino can prosecute you, and they do.

One man, AJ Werling, was the victim of this in Denver, placing $20 into a slot machine at Black Hawk Casino. He hadn’t realized that there was already 76 cents loaded into the machine from the previous player. As soon as he started spinning the wheels, AJ was approached by security.

“They got on the walkie-talkie thing and said, ‘We got ‘em.’ And I looked up and went ‘You got what?’ They said I tried to steal 76 cents from somebody,” Werling said.

The result was AJ was prosecuted and given a $500 fine and 24 hours community service, for theft of 76 cents from the casino. He now has a criminal record for the next 13 years.

“I still have to deal with the background checks, having to go over what transpired for jobs, apartments, anything that requires a background check,” Werling said. “I have to disclose why I have a gambling theft conviction on my record.”

Most people wouldn’t think twice about picking up a dollar from the floor, or using whatever leftover credits were in a slot machine that had been abandoned, but AJ’s case shows that you should never take anything for granted if you are betting at the casinos in Colorado.

“If you find money in a casino, in a slot machine, even if it’s one penny? I don’t care if it makes you irritated to go find security. Go find security and have them clear it out,” Werling said.

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