Look on the back of a sports betting ticket from a Las Vegas casino and you'll notice an expiration date, usually 60-120 days after the event. But it's an unwritten rule that a sportsbook will always cash a winning ticket, even after the expiration date. To do otherwise is simply not good for customer relations.
Michael Shackleford, a professional gaming consultant, the author of a book on gambling strategy and an adjunct professor at Nevada Las Vegas, wagered $1,000 on Oklahoma State to beat Texas Tech last Sept. 22. It was a moneyline wager, meaning the Cowboys, who were slight underdogs, had to win the game outright, at odds of plus-190.
Oklahoma State won, 49-45, and the winning ticket paid $2,900 (the original $1,000, plus $1,900 in profit).
Shackleford finally made it to the Stratosphere on Jan. 26 to collect his winnings. That was 126 days after the event, 66 days after expiration date on the back of the ticket. The Stratosphere told him to take a hike, and now Shackleford has taken his fight to the Gaming Control Board.
"I plan to fight this until the day I die,” Shackleford said.
Although the case remains unresolved, it was revealed in an April 2 hearing that the Stratosphere’s redemption period for sports tickets is actually 120 days, not 60 days. The casino continued to issue tickets with the erroneous 60-day deadline printed on them because "the property has several rolls of ticket stock material on hand, [and] it was not cost effective to reprint new wagering tickets," according to the board.
Gamblers in the city have taken note. Jeff Haney of the Las Vegas Sun writes: "But regardless of the outcome, the Stratosphere bosses should be ashamed of their actions. This episode gives another black eye to Nevada’s legal sports betting scene, which in terms of black eyes lately seems to resemble Floyd Patterson at the end of his second fight with Muhammad Ali."