Why Do Casinos Use Chips Intead of Money?


Posted: May 5, 2020

Updated: May 5, 2020

You have probably seen how people use colorful tokens in various movies about casinos. Casino chips or casino tokens are the primary currency for most of the table games. However, what is the reason casinos use chips in the first place? Let’s find out. 

Safety is casinos’ number one priority 

Although casino games and gambling are as old as humanity itself, casino chips were introduced relatively recently. One of the main reasons why casino chips were introduced in the first place is safety. Using cash for betting is not only inconvenient but can also be dangerous for both casino owners and casino visitors. In the 19th century, casino owners often accepted jewelry, bars of gold and silver, and other valuable items as wagers. However, it was often hard to calculate the price of these items. 

Why do casinos use chips: domestic currency

Casino chips are also used to make financial transactions easier. At that point in time, casino owners started to introduce chips made of different materials. The first versions were made of ivory and wood. And as it was relatively easy to counterfeit chips, casinos started to apply visible insignia.

Around the 1880s, gambling facilities started to use chips made of clay. These chips were produced using a special press. However, clay tokens also didn’t catch on. Visitors often broke their chips and casino staff had to replace them nearly after each game. Chip manufacturers tried to come up with new formulas and make clay tokins more durable, but eventually, casinos had to switch to new material.

Manufacturers often used different kinds of clay in order to make colorful chips. And even after they have substituted clay chips with ceramic chips, the concept of using colorful patterns had taken hold. Even today casinos use a color-coding system in order to distinguish between chips. 

Tracking and data collection

Modern casino tokens are made of plastic. Nowadays, each chip manufacturer has their own formula, and it usually is a trade secret. Moreover, in order to avoid forging, each chip has a label, which is only seen under UV lighting. Some casinos also use radio-frequency identification or RFID for tracking their chips. For instance, even if someone steals a bunch of casino chips, they wouldn’t be able to hide them. The RFID chips also help to identify dealers’ mistakes and track the way chips circulate within a casino.

 Why Do Casinos Use Chips
Imagine the life of a croupier without casino chips – What a mess!

Moreover, RFID helps to gain valuable data about honest players. For instance, how much time and money an average person usually spends during one round. Similarly to the way staff track the slot machine use via bank card transactions, modern chips help to gather data about table games. Later on, they can use this data to enhance their system. 

Human psychology 

Another reason why do casinos use chips is our psychology. It might be hard to spend $1,000 in cash or using a credit card. However, a colorful chip doesn’t look like traditional money. Moreover, as each chip has a different denomination, players sometimes need to put one single yellow chip in order to bet $1,000. Thus, it is much easier to pass over the money.

Besides, if you want to learn more about chip values, check out our complete guide to poker chips.


Finally, there are quite a few reasons gambling facilities use chips as a currency. As a matter of tradition, some online casino sites in the US also use casino chips for table games and tournaments. However, unlike in real life casinos, it is much easier to track your transactions in online casinos. Moreover, dealers’ mistakes and other inconveniences are simply impossible. For instance, Intertops Poker offers a great number of traditional and live table games.

And if you are searching for reliable gambling sites, check out the list of online gambling sites in the US.

Click here to visit the Intertops Poker

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