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The Meadows Opens Table Games With Super Secure Chips

In the search for the perfect casino heist, chip forgery is one of the ideas that keeps getting thrown around. It has a simplicity to it. You don’t have to steal anything. Just get the right chips, go into the casino, gamble, cash in, and you have money. There’s no point at which you have to hold up a gun. There’s no getaway car. It seems like the perfect crime.

Earlier this year, one person with the brilliant idea of having a professional chip manufacturer make chips for him discovered that the chip manufacturers work with the casinos to avoid forgeries, so no, they wouldn’t make him chips just like the ones in those photos he took. William Reece Lancaster, who painted signs for a living, got caught taking 25 cent chips from the Grand Lake Casino and repainting them to look like their $500 counterparts.

As Pennsylvania’s Meadows Racetrack and Casino opens its doors to table games, they’re looking at a whole new level of preventing chip fraud. While other casinos in Pennsylvania have sophisticated chip security measures including images visible only under ultraviolet light and micro printed images which are visible only under magnification. Additional security measures such as color and weight are low-tech but already prevent some chip fraud.

The Meadows chips, though, use RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) which means a whole different level of security. Each table is equipped with scanners, so as soon as a player lays a chip down on the table, the chip’s entire history is immediately available to the dealer. Moreover, another type of fraud which is common in casinos is the attempt to add extra bets to winning hands. With the RFID microchips embedded in the Meadows casino chips, the dealer will instantly see any attempts to add or subtract bets.

The Meadows general manager, Sean Sullivan, said “We don’t want to scare anybody to think [counterfeiting] happens every day, but we surely want to do everything we can do to discourage it from happening here. At The Meadows, we’re going the full way. We don’t want to have any issues with this.”

According to Michael Cruz, the director of gaming laboratory operations for the state Gaming Control Board, if a casino finds a single counterfeit chip, they are required to exchange their entire set of chips, a very costly operation. So while The Meadows may have spent $2.50 for each smart chip compared to the usual $1.50 for a regular chip, they believe the cost is well worth it.

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