What is a Chip?
At a casino, rather than using actual cash to place bets at the gaming table, customers are required to use chips. These are small, coin-shaped tokens which come in a variety of designs and colours. Each chip has a specific monetary value. Before commencing play, players need to buy their chips from the casino, then use them to place their bets. Once the play has finished, players who have any remaining chips or have won chips must cash them in (swap them for money) before they leave – chips have no financial value outside of the casino environment.
Chips are small, disc-shaped objects which are usually made from a composite of clay and other materials or ceramic. Chips are of uniform weight and size, which makes the job of tallying them much easier than if standard coinage is used. Casino staff can simply weigh the chips to determine how many there are, without needing to count them individually. This saves time and enhances accuracy. The colour schemes on chips are not consistent – different casinos may each have their own system, so a yellow chip could be worth $5 in one casino and $2 in another.
Using chips doesn’t just make accurate payouts easier, it also ensures that players don’t have to stop gaming to get additional change and prevents other similar distractions. Some casinos have chips which are beautifully decorated and all chips are marked with a number of security features to prevent them being used illegally or forged.
High-end casinos may even commission a set of uniquely decorated chips which can be bought as a novelty item. As well as being a key part of casino and card gaming, chips are also prized collectors’ items, with some fetching thousands of pounds on the market.