Why Casinos Use Chips Instead of Money?
Last Updated: December 30, 2023
Chips are a universally accepted currency in every casino across the globe. Whether you’re playing in a casino in West Virginia, Las Vegas, or Macau, they are an integral part of nearly every casino game and often a branding opportunity for casinos that helps them distinguish themselves from their competitors.
But, have you ever wondered how this tradition started and why casinos use chips instead of directly using money in all of their games? On this page, we’ll explore the main reasons why casinos use chips instead of real money.
When Did Casinos Start Using Chips Instead of Money?
The history of casino chips dates all the way back to the 18th century. The French game Quadrille used differently colored chips for settling player payments in the game.
Going into the early 19th century, poker players used different small objects like coins or gold nuggets as chips, often combining them with chips made out of wood or ivory.
The first modern poker chips made from clay started being produced in the 1880s. It took nearly a century for the introduction of ceramic chips. Nowadays, most casinos use either clay, ceramic, or plastic casino chips.
Many players nowadays aren’t aware of this, as it doesn’t affect you in any way when playing online. For instance, when you’re playing in a legal and regulated casino in West Virginia, this isn’t something you need to think of. Nevertheless, before starting your online casino journey, we recommend reading the complete guide to online gambling.
While online gambling in West Virginia is entirely legal, it’s important to understand all aspects that make the experience. That way, you’ll make sure you know everything you should so you can start off your online gambling journey on the right track.
Why Do Casinos Use Chips?
There are several significant reasons why casinos use chips instead of real money. Here’s a breakdown of each of them:
Faster and More Streamlined Gambling
Imagine if every player at the poker table would bet using real money instead of chips. The time it would take for every player to count their money when betting or raising.
Not to mention, once all the players have bet, the pile of money would clutter the center of the table. Then, if more than one player wins the round, dividing the pot would be a nightmare.
Some money would be crumpled up, there would be a mix of new and old bills, and it would take the dealer ages to count everything. With chips, every player needs just a couple of seconds to select how much they’d bet. It’s easy to size bets, and an experienced dealer can visually keep track of everything without needing extra time to verify every bet’s size.
Security and Fraud Prevention
When playing online casino games on a trusted gambling platform, you don’t have to worry about security and fraud. But, in land-based casinos, casino chips serve an essential security purpose.
Unlike cash, casino chips can’t be used anywhere else except in the designated casino. This makes it very simple for casinos to trace their chips and prevent scammers from stealing money from them.
Moreover, modern casino chips have built-in RFID technology to further minimize the chance of any fraud. This technology enables the casino to track potential cheaters in the casino. It also helps identify if the chips have been stolen or counterfeited.
Besides using it as a scam prevention tool, casinos often include RFID in higher denomination chips to track the activity of their high rollers. This enables them to incentivize the biggest spenders with more rewarding comps.
Direct Impact On How Much Players Spend
We’ve all probably heard about research covering how most people generally spend more money when paying with credit cards instead of cash. This also applies to the casino world and gamblers.
By using casino chips instead of money, players are subconsciously disassociating the chips from their real value, often disregarding just how much they’re spending. When playing in a casino, it’s easier for a gambler to place a bigger bet with chips than with money, as they don’t have the same feeling as when spending real cash.
Additionally, using casino chips makes for a much more immersive experience. Most of us think of gambling as playing a game instead of spending money when we’re playing with chips. But, this is exactly what gambling is, exchanging money for entertainment value.
While this reason isn’t as vital as the previous ones, casino chips serve as a great marketing tool for the casino to add a customized touch. Imprinting their name and logo on every chip is a simple branding tactic that can often help strengthen the relationship between the casino and the player.
As you’re running your fingers through the chips, betting, and winning, you’ll associate this part of the game with the specific casino you played at. So, without even realizing it, the branded chips can be a part of why you choose a particular casino over other options.