What do you do if you Find a Casino Chip?


You’ll be forgiven for thinking finding a casino chip is the same as finding money on the street. Most people just pocket found money if there’s no one around looking for it. But it’s not as simple as that when casino chips are concerned. Now, the answer to the above question is kind of ambiguous, since casinos may have different policies about found chips. Continue reading to know exactly what to do if you find casino chips.

Casino chips are the property of the casino that issued them and they should be returned to the casino if found. Now, there are casinos that go with the ‘finders keepers’ rule while others simply insist you hand over the chips.

Know that you shouldn’t wander the casino looking for lost chips or even unclaimed pennies in the slots. It’s frowned upon as it’s considered low-life behavior. Some casinos even have specific laws against it and you might be banned or removed from the casino if caught in the act.

Sometimes the casino has the policy of finders keeps for picking up the chip from the ground.
Some casinos do have finders keepers policy. But for high-value chips that you find it may very well happen (especially if you are unknown customer) that casino will check surveillance footage to verify you are indeed the owner.

What if you find a chip on the casino floor?

Some casinos specifically have rules stating that any chips or tokens with unclear ownership must be returned to the casino. Keeping or trying to keep chips found on the floor in such casinos is tantamount to stealing. And you’ll be saving yourself a lot of trouble by simply returning the chips to security or the cage.

However, most casinos find this rule difficult to enforce. Some players are smart and won’t just pick chips off the floor and head to the cage to cash them. They go to a table and play poker for some time before cashing out the chips.

Some casinos are fine with the ‘finders keepers’ rule, unless the chips you are found are high denomination chips like $1000 and above.

Casinos generally take more interest in high-value chips and may even check surveillance footage to verify the identity of the owner of the chips. And if you are found not to be the owner, the casino will hold the chips.

Casino Chips And Counterfeiting

Yes, chips can be counterfeited. But counterfeiting chips has become very difficult nowadays. This is because each chip is unique in weight, color, and design. Modern chips are even marked with special kinds of inks that can only be seen under ultraviolet (UV) light.

Counterfeiting high-value chips is almost impossible if not impossible. This is because casinos specifically track these chips and embed RFID tags in them. Also, casinos can monitor poker sessions at the tables via chips and ensure that the dealer is handling all transactions properly.

You should know that casinos have several cameras installed and are aware of everything happening in the house. They know every player that has cashed in large amounts of money and track their chips till they cash out.

How Can You Tell if a Casino Chip is Real?

Generally, chips are made from either clay or ceramic. And they have a number of markings and a weight range of 8-10 grams. While chips are fairly standardized, the truth is that they vary from one casino to another. All chips must have stamps or markings that indicate the casino that issued them.

If you are interested to know more in detail what materials poker chips are made of – from cheapest ones to casino quality – read this article I wrote.

In the past, casinos denominate the values of chips with colors of their own choosing. However, this has become standardized.

Nowadays, $1 chips are either white or blue, $5 chips are red, $25 chips are green, $100 chips are black, and so on.

With a glance, casino employees can determine the authenticity of chips. Also, chips come with unique serial numbers as well as sophisticated technology such as holograms, UV markings, and microdots. These technologies cannot be determined with our eyes, so there is no way you can know the security details of your chips.

Do Casino Chips Have Serial Numbers?

Yes, casino chips have unique serial numbers that protect against counterfeiting.

The most important security feature of a chip is the RFID tag mentioned above. This alone has made it extremely difficult to rob or cheat casinos. RFID chips are small, inconspicuous electronic chips put inside modern chips. These electronic chips hold information such as the value of the chips, activities, and a serial number. Casinos usually install special RFID readers on their premises and these readers immediately deactivate stolen chips the moment they are taken out of the casino.

By installing RFID sensors in modern poker tables, casinos can ensure dealers accurately determine the value of chips, thereby speeding up gameplay.

Casino chips are not legla tender like real money.
Picking up a poker chip is not the same as picking up money from the ground. Casino chips are not legal tender.

Are Casino Chips Transferable?

Casino chips are not legally transferable simply because they are not legal tender. You can read our article on whether casino chips are legal tender.

People still try to exchange chips for cash at rival casinos even though they aren’t legally transferable. This practice used to be popular in Vegas where you can cash out chips at any casino. You can even give someone else your chips and he/she will be able to cash out or play with them in other casinos.

However, the government had to interfere as it led to an increase in money laundering and counterfeiting. Anyone could take money to a casino and convert them into chips. Then the chips could be taken to any casino across town and cashed in.

Nowadays, casinos only accept chips issued by them, and even they do this only when they are sure of the source. Casinos may at times accept chips from other casinos. But the amount they exchange is usually small. You may at times hear a casino dealer call out ‘foreign chips’. Then someone will come up to handle the exchange or politely explain why the exchange cannot go through.

In a nutshell, casinos aren’t obligated to accept foreign chips. But they may do so as a courtesy to customers once in a while.

Can Chips Be Taken Out of the Casino?

Yes, chips can be taken out of the casino. However, you should know that the more monetary value you take home (in form of chips), the more difficult it’ll be to cash them later. Casinos will easily accept low value chips issued by them easily. But when you come with high value chips, they’ll be asking a lot of questions. And if you can’t properly account for the chips, the casino will confiscate them.

Chips and tokens represent money, making it easy to play games with. Also, chips are safer to carry in some ways. You buying chips and then leaving with them is beneficial to casinos especially if you never play them. It’s basically free money for the casino.

If you want to read more about it, then you should read this article: Can you take poker chips out of a casino?.

What Should You Do With Old Casino Chips?

Old casino chips and tokens may be worth money. Well, until they are not. You can check our article on whether old poker/casino chips are worth anything.

In Nevada, the law requires casinos to notify the public when they are retiring chip designs. Also, they must follow an established process for the removal of old chips from circulation. Then, the old chips will eventually be destroyed.

While casinos may issue new chips, they rarely change the designs. A reason for this is to save costs as changing chip designs costs money. Another reason is to avoid confusing regular customers that are already used to existing designs.

There are people that love to collect old casino chips. Who knows, you may be able to sell your old chips for a significant amount to these people. Some rare poker chips were sold for tens of thousands.

YouTube: Casino Chips Continue to Grow in Popularity with Collectors

Final Thoughts

A lot of people in the gambling industry are incredibly curious and ask every question they can imagine. We hope this article satisfies your curiosity concerning casino chips and whether you can pick them on the floor.

Casino chips are an integral part of the gambling community and there’s a story behind every chip. Should you find a chip in your attic, you should know there’s more to it, perhaps a story of adventure, a story of intrigue.

Primoz

I have played poker professionally for more than 10 years. I was a winner at every poker format that I played - from tournaments to cash games, both in NL Holdem and PLO. Now my biggest satisfaction is to provide enthusiastic but new poker players with answers to all of their questions.

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