Tuesday, February 12, 2008

What DO They Do With the Fountain Change?

A podcast listener from Israel kept asking us that very question: What happens to the coins folks toss into the various fountains at Vegas resorts. The responses were fascinating:

MGM Mirage says they allow each resort to pick a charity to give the money to. I’m trying to get a list and an estimate on how much they give and I may be able to report that on the blog or on next week’s show.
Harrah’s says they give it to their employee-controlled assistance fund which grants or loans money to employees when they have personal emergencies.
• The Las Vegas Sands folks said they give it to the Venetian Charitable Foundation, whatever that is.

But the most intriguing answer came from Wynn spokeswoman Jennifer Dunne, who got this response from the department that handles this:

We remove the coins thrown into the water features periodically. They get hard water deposits on them and the banks won’t take them in this condition. We have tried everything under the sun to clean them and haven’t found anything that works. The intention would be to give them to charity, but they cannot use them in this condition either. Last time I checked we had several 5 gallon buckets full of coins that we cannot use.

That's a fascinating thing on two fronts. First, it makes a certain amount of sense and it makes me wonder if the other properties are fibbing. Secondly, I would LOVE to see these buckets of coins. Anyone out there have any idea what they could do to make this money worth something again?


Casey said...

I think this may fall under the Treasury's definition of mutilated coins.

"Mutilated coins, on the other hand, are coins that are bent, broken, not whole, or fused or melted together. The United States Mint is the only place that handles redemption of mutilated coins, and they should be sent to the Mint at Post Office Box 400, Philadelphia, PA 19106."

Nagumi said...

EEE! You answered my question! I WAS ON THE (net) RADIO!!!!! Those answers are cool... actually, I thought to ask y'all after seeing a recent episode of COPS (I get bored) in which a guy gets arrested for collecting coins in the Mirage fountains... twice. The first cop lets him off with a warning and throws all his coins back but three minutes later he catches the same guy AGAIN back in the water. Apparently the gentleman in question was homeless and was trying to get food money... He certainly looked like he needed some spare change, and if you're panhandling already I can see how all those coins just laying around would be tempting.

Anyway, thanks for answering my question... My face was so red when you boys were talking about me. If you're ever in Israel, for example, if you're here to cover Jerusalem's Pride march this June, I'd love to take you guys out for drinks. Also, if you ARE interested in reporting on Pride, I've been the head fundraiser for Jerusalem's LGBT org for the past three years and can get you in touch with the people in charge and on top, including city council members and activists.

Thanks again! I'll be sure to ask more inane questions in the future.


Troy from Las Vegas said...

I like the idea of keeping the money 'in house' meaning to be used if there is an emergancy with an employee or something like that. Although I may be biased being a former casino employee and remembering the devistation that occured during Katrina and all the hotel/casino employees who suddenly found themselves out of work.