When you visit your favourite casino and find a casino chip and want to know whether it is a real one of not we have some tips for you on how to tell the real thing from a fake. We are not making this guide so you can attempt to make your own as fake chips have not worked in years.
Signs the Chips are real
You might think all the chips are fairly similar across the board and are made in big patches in factories like any other thing you can buy in a shop or something. Actually, they do vary massively from casino to casino. For example, the general feeling is that casino chips weigh around 11.5 grams to be a real chip but this is not always the case.
In actuality, the top casino on the famous Las Vegas strip, use casino chips which vary in weight between 8.5 grams to 10.6 grams. Chips are usually made from clay or ceramic.
All casinos use distinct stamps or mark that identify where they are from. The best way to think of casino chips markings are like the marking you find on coins such as cents or pence. That being said, some casinos do offer players the opportunity to cash in foreign chips but these are subject to limits and depends if the casinos are owned by the same operators. Chips without any logo on them will instantly be classified as fake.
In the past, casinos would use their own specific colour scheme for the different values of the chips, but this has become more standardised over the years. White/blue chips are worth $1, red chips are $5 and are known as nickels. Green chips are $25 and called quarters. Black chips are $100. Purple chips are worth $500 and the most valuable chips are coloured orange and they are worth $1000.
This might make you think that these colours will be easy to replicate but they are a very specific shade of the colour and will be extremely difficult to replicate. This means that despite the colour being quite simple its the level of detail that makes the counterfeit chips easy to spot for casinos.
The colours of the chips do more than just tell you how much they are worth, the colours are used on signs for the table games to show what the table limits are.
How casinos stop counterfeit chips
It can be very difficult to create fake casino chips than you probably initially thought, due to the exact weight, colour and design of the chips and also because the chips are usually marked with a special ink that is only visible using UV rays. The more expensive chips are also tracked by casinos, so you could only replicate the chips that are worth less than $25.
For higher value chips, casinos put tracking tags like RFID tags in the chips themselves. These can be useful if someone is trying to steal the chips or cheat the system in some way.
These chats do more than just provide the casino with an added security measure. The casinos use this tracking to identify the activity at the various tables across the casino floor, looking at what tables are making the most and which ones are losing the most and ensuring the dealers are doing their jobs correctly.
Found a casino chip, here is what to do
You would assume if you find a casino chip, it is like finding a pound on the street, finders keepers right. Well, this not the case with casino chips.
Most casinos have the rule that any casino chips that are found on the floor and the owners are not easily identifiable they remain property of the casino. So this means that picking up chips on the floor is comparable to stealing. This is not easy to enforce as players who find chips on the floor don’t usually cash them in immediately, they rather play it at a table where the dealer is not sure where the chips have come from.
Some casinos do take a more relaxed approach to found chips but this does not mean you should enter a casino looking for lost chips or a few pennies in the slot machines as this is considered shady behaviour and can lead to your removal from the premises or banning from the casino altogether.
If you find a casino chip when you are around the house of a friend or family member, you have a number of options. You can go back to the casino it came from and explain the situation and as long they can prove that it is a legitimate chip then it is worthwhile cashing it in. Be aware that stealing chips and trying to use them to gain high roller status can lead to some serious prison time.
Older casino chips from now shutdown casinos could be worth a lot of money to collectors. Collectors will pay lots to own a piece of casino history. This does mean though that these people know what they are looking for so will spot a fake a mile away.