If you go into a Strip casino in Las Vegas and linger near the cashier’s cage, waiting to cash in some traveler’s checks or casino chips, there’s a sign posted nearby that’s sure catch to your eyes. It states, in words to this effect, that ” because of recent forgeries, chips of other casinos will not be redeemed at this casino.” And if you go across the street to another Strip casino, you’ll see the same sign posted at its cashier’s cage.
The reason that casino chips can’t be redeemed at any casino but the one issuing them has nothing at all to do with forgeries. Casinos will not honor chips issued by other casinos because most of the Strip clubs have a secret pact to protect their bankrolls and to make certain that players don’t misuse casino credit. That’s the real reason.
In the old days players with credit or those on junkets could go into Casino A on the Strip (at a time when junket members weren’t carefully watched as they are today), take a marker for $1,000, play for a few minutes, then walk out of the casino go across the street to Casino B, and cash Casino A’s chips there.
This could occur in those years when casinos on honored each other’s chips and would happily redeem for they figured that they were taking away a player competing casino. Even today in downtown Vegas or in the casinos in Reno and Lake Tahoe a player can hop from casino to casino and play at their tables with other casinos’ chips and even turn them in at the cashier’s cage.
This can be done because these casinos don’t issue credit the way the Strip hotels do, and if they do, it will generally be for smaller amounts, to allow a player to cash a check up to a few hundred dollars, for example. Junkets are rarely, if ever, arranged for these hotels, and for the most part the play-as who wander into these casinos are known as “grinds,” or small players. The few high rollers who try their luck usually bring cash with them or have a credit line at some of the casinos, but it really doesn’t matter if they take the casino’s chips outside to another club. It won’t hurt the casino at all. It is only the Strip hotels and those casinos that cater to junkets that worry about their credit being abused.