Casino chips are small discs that are used as currency within casinos. Casino chips are made of either coloured metal, compression moulded clay or injection moulded plastic. Metal chips are primarily used in slot machines whilst clay or plastic chips are used in table games.
Casino chips can be acquired by exchanging money for them at the casino cage, at the tables, e.g. the roulette table or at the cashier station. The casino chips generally have no value outside of the casino, although in Las Vegas some casinos might honour chips from other casinos, or some businesses – such as waiters or taxi’s, especially for tips, in gambling towns might honour them informally.
Casino chips were employed for several reasons, the main one’s being chips are more convenient to use than currency and also make theft and counterfeiting more difficult. Because of the size, regularity and colouring patterns of stacks of chips they are easier to count in stacks compared to paper currency when being used on a table. The main advantage of this is that it’s easier for the pit boss or security to verify the amount being paid, reducing mistakes by the dealer. Furthermore it is observed that customers gamble more freely with replacement currencies than with cash.
Many casinos have stopped the use of metal chips (and coins) in their slot machines in favour of pre-pay cards or paper receipts. Although these methods are costly to implement they eliminate coin handling expenses and jamming problems in machines that took coins. With the coin mechanisms removed from the slot / fruit machine there is more space to keep game specific technology, enhancing the users overall gaming experience.
The hobby of collecting casino chips and gaming tokens is becoming increasingly popular, with a collectors club being formed in 1988. Some casino chips are worth up to $100,000. Several casinos sell custom-made sets of chips and one or two decks of cards stamped with the name of the casino on them.
Despite the fact gambling houses were legalised in Venice in 1626 actual poker chips was not used for over two hundred years. Back in the 19th century and prior, poker players seemed to use any small valuable object imaginable. Early poker players sometimes used jagged gold pieces, gold nuggets, gold dust, or coins as well as “chips” primarily made of ivory, bone, wood, paper and a composition made from clay and shellac.
Each casino has its own unique set of chips; this is even if the casino is part of a larger company that owns many casinos. This distinguishes the casinos chips from the others; this is because each casino chip on the casino floor has to be backed up with the appropriate amount of cash.