How Are Casino Chips Made?

Casino Chips

Las Vegas legend “Big Julie” Weintraub once said: “The man who invented poker was bright. But the man who invented the computer chip was a genius.

Weintraub is one of the unsung heroes of Las Vegas. In the glory days of The Dunes, Weintraub ran the junket business. He organized VIP trips to Sin City for the rich and famous. In the early 1960s, many celebrities came to Las Vegas and put it on the map. Bizzo Casino has the same spirit today.

Weintraub was right: the casino chip is a 39mm wide, 8–16 gm disc, often called a genius design. Made of clay, modern chips mix sand, chalk, and clay used in cat litter. High-value chips also have an RFID tracker to prevent theft.

Producing chips is considered a trade secret and is not disclosed. The chips are numismatic tokens with real value. Counterfeiters would have a field day at the casino if it were easy to clone them.

Do you know the casino chip’s origin and where it first appeared? Let’s wind back the roulette wheel, shuffle the time deck, and work our way back to the beginning.

The First Chip

Casino Chips

The exact origin of casino chips is unclear, but gambling has existed for ages. The oldest board games date back to 6,000 BC. By the time the Pyramids of Giza were planned, gambling was common in Ancient Egypt. Dice, board games, and even laws against gambling were found around 4,000 BC.

As for the first betting chip. Again, hard to pin down. In ancient Rome, 500 years before Christ, betting was illegal. But, it was also widespread. The use of tokens, enabling players to deny gambling, is documented. Chips had arrived.

Chips evolved into their present form over two millennia. The highlights on the way include the tokens. They are sought-after and carved. They are made of mother-of-pearl and are from the Chinese Quin dynasty. It is interesting to note that the origins of ‘they’ can be traced back to the middle of the 18th century. Also, the first modern tokens were born during the Gold Rush.

The Classic Chip

In the mid-1800s Wild West, unregulated gambling boomed. Prospectors laden with gold led to the modern chip. Casinos had to weigh and assay gold. This process was time-consuming and difficult. Not something to attempt in the middle of a frenetic craps or blackjack game.

Gold was evaluated away from the table, and chips were used; early examples were made of bone, ivory, and clay. To prevent counterfeits, casinos branded and designed their chips.

Most chip manufacturers keep the process secret. They produce chips to order in ceramic or clay. Opinions vary about what is best. Plastic is a non-starter for serious players.

How are Casino Chips Made Today?

Modern casino and poker chips are made from clay. Mix rugged materials with clay and shape it under pressure. Manufacturers keep the exact way they make products a secret to avoid fraud. Each manufacturer varies their methods. Big companies like Gaming Partners International, Matsui, GTI Gaming, and Abbiati make these chips. They make them for casinos all over the world. In American casinos, chips usually weigh about 10 grams, but they can be anywhere from 8 to 16 grams. If you’re buying chips for home use, they’re likely made of plastic or plastic with a metal core.

Casino Chip Colours & Denominations

Casino Chips

Casino chips don’t have a set color for each value. Yet, most casinos use standard colors for different amounts. The highest value chip is $1,000, used at tables for high rollers. Some luxury casinos might have $5,000 chips, but you won’t find these at more casual, local casinos.

The Future of Chips

Casino chips are a hands-on way to manage your bets. Start with $100 in chips and stop playing when they’re gone. Many modern chips now have tiny RFID tags to prevent theft.

People are playing at online casinos, where the chips are digital. Technology is advancing. As technology advances, we are likely to see the rise of virtual reality gaming becoming more and more common. Until then, keep those physical chips handy!

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