A casino token is the name given to the chips that are used in casinos. Chips are given in exchange for cash, and have the exact same value, only converted into what is referred to as casino currency. Chips have not been used as long as most people assume, and in days of old casinos would be littered with gamblers using just about any object of value in order to place bets. It was not uncommon, for example, for gamblers to use gold nuggets, gold dust, ivory, watches, jewellery, and even, as difficult as it is to believe, servants.
This practice went on for over two hundred years, until casinos eventually standardised using casino tokens as casino currency. The main reason for this was to balance out the sum or value of gambling bets, since the value of objects could vary dramatically. A gold nugget, after all, could not be said to have the same value as a watch, but the two would frequently be used as objects of same value. The second reason for the introduction of casino tokens was to avoid the theft and crime that often centred on casinos. By having players hand over money and get chips, a much stronger level of security was able to be maintained.
Types Of Chips
All casinos must have a different standard of casino token, which can be quickly and easily told apart from other casinos. This avoids a gambler getting chips at one establishment, and using them at another, which would take currency away from the casino economy where the chips were originally bought. Many casinos use creative and colourful designs, not only setting their establishment apart, but making gamblers feel that there is a value to the plastic items in their hands. Of course, the objects have no inherent value whatsoever, and the gambler has already parted with his money.
Most casinos will also have different designs for chips of a greater value. In casinos in the United States, for example, chips with a value of over twenty five thousand dollars are rectangular instead of round, often made of light metal, and have a serial number. The design of the chip gives the impression of the item having a higher value, while the serial number helps track the chip. The serial number will be noted by the casino, and should the casino token ever be lost, and later recovered, it will be known who the chip belonged to.
Modern Card System
In modern times, many casinos are turning away from the chip system, and beginning to issue electronic cards. This involves gamblers handing over money and getting credit assigned to a single plastic card. The card may then be inserted into a slot machine, or swiped at a gambling table, allowing the gambler to make bets. The system is not yet popular, but is regarded in both a positive and negative light.
On one hand, it is said to impersonalise the act of gambling, not giving the bet maker any sense of achievement when making a big win, since no tokens are visible to see the amount. On the other hand, this some effect is said to cushion a big loss for the same reason, making gamblers more likely to make risk bets.