Upgrade Magazine

GAMING

The technological development of casino chips

While they may look like pieces of plastic, there is actually some pretty nifty technology hidden inside to help the casinos.

By Lily Asis

Head into any casino and you’ll encounter casino chips. They are the casino’s currency and whether you’re playing poker, blackjack, craps or roulette, you’ll be playing with chips. While they may look like pieces of plastic, there is actually some pretty nifty technology hidden inside to help the casinos.

Here we will take a look at the history of the classic casino chips and how technology has been incorporated into the casino’s currency but before we do, don’t forget to check out the best casino bonuses on offer at the moment.

When poker took off in the nineteenth century, particularly in the Wild West of America, the poker chip hadn’t been invented and instead, the players used valuable items such as nuggets of gold and gold dust to bet with.

With the value of the bets being debateable, standardisation was required to allow the saloons to keep track of what was being bet. Initially, the saloons and gambling houses would give players pieces of clay, ivory and bone to gamble with. The only issue with these is that they were easy to replicate and forge “fakes” and so, gambling institutions would brand the items with their own unique symbols to establish them from the forgeries.

This didn’t prevent people from creating replicas though and it was towards the end of the nineteenth century that companies began to create more uniformed chips. These chips were made from a clay composition and were the beginning of one of the most recognisable aspects of a casino.

As society has progressed, the composition for the chips has developed and changed and it is now harder to forge a casino chip than it is to forge American currency. Casino chips nowadays are made from many different materials being compressed with clay. They are still branded by the casino but it is the technological advancement in recent years that is really astonishing.

RFID technology has dramatically changed the difficulty in both forging and stealing casino chips, but what exactly is it? RFID (radio frequency identification) involves inserting microchips into poker chips, allowing RFID readers to pick up on their unique radio frequency.

This makes it incredibly difficult to forge replicas and prevents players from trying to cheat the casino out of money. But it also prevents thieves from profiting from the chips. If someone were to steal the chips and sell them on for money, the casino can turn off the chips’ transmitter, rendering the poker chips worthless as they will no longer be recognised by the casino they came from.

Another technology used in modern casino chips is the UV security print. This feature also prevents the counterfeiting of casino chips as it allows casinos to print a security mark with an infra-red and ultra violet mixed ink. To the naked eye, these marks will be invisible, but under a UV or IR emitting light, the mark will be visible and can be confirmed as belonging to the casino. Land casinos are constantly under pressure from the online world of gambling, but, with their advancements in technology, and not just those in their casino chips, they still remain appealing to fans of casino games.

To Top