The recent counterfeit ‘chipgate’ scandal at Atlantic City’s Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa has prompted the casino to adopt a new high-tech chip design to reduce the risk of a repeat occurrence. In January, players at the World Poker Tour’s Borgata Winter Open alerted organizers to the presence of $800k worth of counterfeit 5K chips among the chips in play. The subsequent investigation led to the arrest of North Carolina resident Christian Lusardi, who had attempted to flush a further $2.7m worth of bogus chips down the toilet of the Harrah’s casino at which he was staying. The kerfuffle ultimately caused the cancellation of the Borgata Winter Open’s Event #1.
To avoid future embarrassments, the Borgata has now introduced new high-tech chips containing a number of safety features, including the ability to be authenticated when passed under ultraviolet light. Borgata senior VP Joe Lupo told the Associated Press the changes were “very expensive, but very necessary” in order to “ensure the integrity of the games.” Lupo said “part of the new normal” meant the Borgata would now conduct random UV-light chip-checks on the casino floor during game play.
The Borgata’s woes are far from unique. Just this week, Macau Judiciary Police announced the arrest of two Hong Kong men who’d attempted to pass bogus chips at Galaxy Entertainment Group’s Galaxy Macau casino. The brouhaha began after the men attempted to redeem two HKD 10k (US $1,300) chips at the exchange window. Smelling a rat, casino security was called and the two men were found to be in possession of 34 more suspect chips, as well as 45 genuine HKD 1k chips. The casino also found another 19 bogus chips that had successfully made it onto the gaming tables.
The Macau Daily Times reported that the two men claimed they’d been hired by a criminal organization to introduce the bogus chips – said to be virtually indistinguishable from the real thing to the naked eye – into the casino. The criminal gang reportedly enlisted 11 individuals in total, paying each man HKD 3k ($400) to introduce a total of 200 bogus chips but Macau Business Daily said police have their doubts as to this claim. The two arrested men have been charged with forgery and police are continuing their investigation.