Can you Take Poker Chips from Casinos?


After winning a game of poker at your local casino, it is expected that you cash in your chips before leaving. So what happens if you don’t want to?
What if you want to cash in on your wins another day? Are you allowed to take your chips home or do you absolutely have to cash in on them before you leave the casino? Read on to find out about the rules that govern the use of poker chips in and outside a casino.

can you take poker chips home
You can take poker chips home with you. But be careful that the expiration date doesn’t make them worthless next time you get back.

Can you take poker chips from casinos? Yes, you’re allowed to take away poker chips from a casino. You can bring them back another day to cash in on or even keep them as souvenirs. Unfortunately, poker chips can expire, and if you take too long to cash in your chips, they may become completely worthless.

So what happens if a person walks in with stolen poker chips?  How about if people counterfeit poker chips and try to cash in on them claiming to have won them at an earlier date? There are several measures casinos have taken to ensure they are not defrauded with fake chips.

Why Casinos Allow Players Take Home Poker Chips

Most people expect stricter rules guiding the movement of poker chips in and out of a casino, but are surprised to find that anyone can take home their chips if they want to. The reason behind this is quite simple and I’ll be explaining it below.

Poker Chips Security

Casinos have put in measures to ensure that people can’t falsely claim to own poker chips they stole or present counterfeit chips. If you return on a later date to cash in on your chips, you’ll be put through a thorough verification process to ensure you are indeed the owner of the chips.

In the case of counterfeit chips, it’s actually harder than most people imagine. Poker chips are made in such a way that they feature the same design, color, and weight. Also, each chip is marked with special markings that are only visible under UV light.

Higher denominations even have tracking devices embedded.

When a casino is trying to ascertain if a chip is real or not, they inspect the chips to see if it’s the same model as the standard chips.

Also, they can ask for your membership card to prove that you truly won those chips at the casino. With these stringent verification rules, it’s next to impossible for people to play a fast one on casinos.

Not all Chips Make it Back

One good reason casinos are happy to let you take their chips home is that they know a small fraction of chips that leave the casino never make it back. Some people might lose their chips, others could decide to keep them.

The result is that the casino gets to keep the monetary value of the chips that never returns. Another thing the casino knows is that chips have expiry dates. This means there’s a good chance some chips won’t return to the casino until it’s already too late to redeem.

If you want to read more when and how do chips expire, then find out more in this article.

Chips no Longer Good as Currency

Back in the days, poker chips were the ultimate currency around casinos and gamblers. Since just about anyone could redeem a chip, people were able to pay off debt, give donations and get haircuts with poker chips as payments.

pay off debt with poker chips
You cannot use chips to pay off debt, or pay for your haircut at a hair salon near the casino, anymore.

This directly contrasted federal law that says that no other form of currency should be allowed in the country. To help enforce this, the state of Nevada passed a law that made it illegal for anyone to treat poker chips as real money.

This meant a lot of people could no longer redeem the chips they got from third parties and they were required by casinos to show proof that the chips they presented were indeed gotten from the casino.

If you do accept chips from people as a form of payment and try to cash it in, the casino authorities reserve the right to confiscate your chips until you can adequately prove they are yours.

Why Chips Have Expiry Dates

It would seem strange that chips have expiry dates. It’s not like they become toxic or automatically explode once they expire, so why do chips have expiry dates?

The whole expiry date conundrum came into being when the state of Nevada issued regulation 12 which branded chips with expiry dates and forbade players from treating them as a kind of currency.

These regulations were issued to ensure poker chips were not used as an official currency aside from the US dollar.

Expiry dates are determined by each casino and they could range from a few months to years. Once a poker chip has expired, it becomes totally worthless. Players will be unable to cash them in and casinos transfer their expired chips to companies who handle chip disposal. Ultimately, the chips are destroyed with a tumbler and new chips are issued.

Do Casinos allow Poker chips from other Casinos?

There’s no rule that says a casino has to accept poker chips from other casinos, but they generally do. This is especially true when the casinos are owned by the same companies.

If you’re going to cash in your chips at another casino, you should be ready to produce evidence that you indeed won those chips from a game. To do this, you should be able to provide a player’s card that shows you’re telling the truth. Also, casinos will check for markers on your chips to ensure you have no outstanding issues with the casinos you got them from. These markers are used to check for players who have outstanding bets to settle.

While smaller denominations can be exchanged for house chips without much fuss, higher denominations like $1k chips might not be easily accepted if accepted at all. At the end of the day, all chips are cashed in at the casino they were created.

This means a foreign casino will need to send the foreign chips to its parent casino to cash it in. The stress and cost of getting someone to go cash in foreign chips is one reason many casinos would rather not accept your foreign chips.

poker chips souvenir
If you take chips with you, be careful you don’t misplace them. it is a good idea to also inquire about how long they are valid for.

Final Thoughts

If for any reason you’re nursing the idea of coming back home with the chips you won at a casino, you’re completely free to do so.

Casinos don’t stop anyone from leaving with their chips and you can always come back to cash them in on a later date. Is it a wise choice? That depends. If you’re taking a couple of chips home as a souvenir, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

If you do plan on cashing them in on a later date, you need to be careful to avoid losing the money you won. Before leaving the casino, inquire about the expiry dates of your chips. You don’t want to show up in a few months only to learn that your chips have expired.

When you take them home, keep in a safe place to avoid misplacing them. When you’re ready to cash them in, be sure to go along with your player’s card to show that you got them legally.

Related Question

What kind of chips do casinos use? Casinos use ceramic chips. They are otherwise referred to as clay composite or just clay. In truth, they are not made of clay at all. They are made with a unique resin or plastic that has similar qualities with ceramic.

What do I do if I find a chip on the floor? While most people might pocket chips they found on the floor, many casinos have rules which state that casinos found on the floor are properties of the casino. While you may not be arrested for pocketing a chip you found on the floor, they may actually kick you out for it.

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