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Casino chips over cash: Why casino chips exist

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The story of casino chips and why casinos choose to use them instead of real money in gameplay.


When you step into a casino, it's like entering a different universe with rules you must abide by. One such rule includes using a different currency to fund your gameplay if you wish to sit and play your favourite games. That "currency" is casino chips.

What are casino chips?

If you're new to anything casino related, you might not know what on earth a casino chip is. First, we'll get back to basics to make sure everyone is on the same page. A casino chip is the 'currency' you use to pay or wager during your game.

Basically, you will go into a casino and trade your real money for a certain number of chips, unlike online casinos and facilitated payment methods. The amount you pay will get you a range of different-sized chips, each having a different value which will be stated on the chip.

The story of casino chips

In the days before the use of chips, gold coins, nuggets and dust were used for gambling purposes. These were later traded for casino chips mainly because the chips were smaller, lighter and easier to handle.

Back then, the chips were made out of wood and bone in some parts, while other regions had chips made out of paper and clay. One of the biggest issues with these chips was that many found a way to cheat the system by creating their own and cashing out.

When gambling became legal in Nevada in the early 1930s and casinos started to grow and expand, the number of chips became limited. Still, players found ways to cheat the system. The casinos realised this and collaborated with manufacturers to create chips that would look different from those in other casinos.

As time went by, the designs and materials of the chips became more intricate and unique to each casino, ensuring that chips from one venue couldn't be used at another. The casino chips all have serial numbers, making them easier to count than money.

Another benefit of these chips is that they improve the security in the casinos as they carry the casino's branding, colours and other factors. This ensures that the casino can protect itself from any potential fraudulent activities. And you might not know this, but many casinos have chips with RFID features for tracking or UV markings that aim to prevent fraud and cheats.

They are also more beneficial because they are easier to carry around the casino, and the chip values have a clear distinction. Using the chips is also more convenient for spending at the casino.

So not only is it better for safety, but it is a lot more convenient for the casino and the player in terms of carrying around.

The future of casino chips

Many believe that with technological advancements, we could soon expect electronic devices to replace standard casino chips. You might even find crypto casino chips instead of standard casino chips, where you can trade your crypto for physical pieces. Some are calling for virtual chips to take over, where there will be even more convenience and benefits with less to carry around during your gameplay.

Take a look at our Bitcoin casinos and their reviews.

However, the drawback is that physical casino chips remain a part of what makes that land-based gaming experience special. Completely dropping or trading casino chips would remove something that forms part of what is unique to land-based casino gaming.

This is why we believe casino chips might never be removed; they might only be improved with more advanced anti-fraud and anti-cheat technologies.

The fun of casino chips

We might not know much about casino chips in terms of whether they'll ever expire or retire. But the one thing we do know is that casino chips are timeless. They match the bright lights of Vegas and the noise of casinos like nothing else ever could.

One without the other almost seems like a crime. It's part of the experience, and while there are reasons for using these chips, it's also fun, as it separates the real from the different worlds of gameplay.

Published: March 17, 2023

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Article by Stelly

CasinoWow Contributor

Hey there! I am Stelly, and happily, I'm part of CasinoWow's content team. It excites me to be able to write and share with all gambling enthusiasts unbiased reviews and news that contribute to the gambling community and industry. Thankfully, I also have the chance to help you make an informed choice for casino brands and games, as well as provide interesting guides and news.

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