Basic Tips and Tricks for Collecting Casino Chips

min read
Stacks of casino chips organized by color - black, blue, red, and green - against a black background.
BetMGM Aug 25, 2023, 6:31 AM

Casino chip collecting has been going on for years. It’s a hobby enjoyed by people all over the world. Using chips in casinos has a rich history and people collect them for many reasons. While online casino games are more accessible, in-person casino games allow casino chip collectors to obtain chips and keep their hobby alive. 

Brief History of Using Chips in Gambling

Chips have been used in gambling for centuries. Before the introduction of casino chips gamblers used valuable minerals such as gold nuggets as their bargaining tool. As casino games and gambling grew in popularity during the 19th century, so did the use of chips. During the Great Depression in the 1920s and 1930s, people made chips illegally and continued to gamble in secret. 

Various materials were used in the production of chips, including bone, stone, wood, ivory, clay and paper. After a while, this evolved into the use of ceramic, metal, acrylic and plastic — depending on the budget and manufacturing costs. Today, ceramic is the most popular material used to make chips.  

In the late 1980s, one of the first clubs for chip collectors was formed and was called the Casino Chips & Gaming Tokens Collectors Club. Then, as the internet grew, so did the popularity of collecting chips as collectors could now easily communicate with one another.

Why Do People Collect Chips?

Many casino chip collectors collect chips as a memento or a souvenir from the casinos they visited as they all have uniquely different designs. It’s a popular trend for collectors to collect chips from every casino in Las Vegas, Nevada and the Nevada area in general. Most common casino chips are bought from the cashiers or at the tables after the game or tournament. Some chips are quite rare, especially those from casinos that have closed down. Rare chips aren’t available in casinos because of their high value and worth. Instead, they become available at auctions, antique shops, specific marketplaces and resale sites such as eBay. Collectors also acquire rare chips from casinos they’ve visited in foreign countries.

Tips and Tricks For Collecting Casino Chips

As a first-time collector, starting a chip collection can feel daunting and confusing. But once you’ve nailed the basics, it can be an entertaining and informative hobby.

Here are a few tips and tricks for collecting casino chips.

Display Them With Pride

Many collectors display their chips in display cases. Display cases are available for purchase from any number of outlets or, if you’re extra crafty, you can make one yourself. These cases help prevent your chips from getting damaged and dirty. In order to preserve them well, the area in which they’re displayed should be dry and away from direct sunlight as well as harsh lighting. Nowadays one can also find special plastic-sleeve folders to keep chips in. These come in particularly handy when you’re traveling to collector’s events and gatherings. 

Keep Them Clean

As a new collector, one important thing to remember is to keep the collection in good condition. In addition to displaying them correctly, it’s necessary to keep them clean. Remember to disinfect any new chips obtained from a casino since they may be dirty and full of germs. Ceramic chips can be cleaned with a simple solution of hot water and dishwashing liquid. Wiping them with alcohol will also make sure they are free of germs. It’s best not to collect chips that have stickers on them as these can come off during the cleaning process. 

Join a Club

Thanks to the rise of the internet and social media, joining a collectors club or community is now easier than ever before. Joining a chip collectors club has many benefits. One of them is that they help grade the quality of their members’ chips. Clubs also have regular events and gatherings, making it the perfect opportunity to trade and show off the collection to others. These clubs are a great source for learning more about the history of chips and other interesting facts. Members also share various tips and tricks, which can be very helpful for new collectors. Clubs are also a great place to hear about upcoming auctions or sales involving rare chips.

Start Small

When starting as a collector, it’s necessary to start small and let the collection gradually evolve. Chips come in different colors and molds, depending on the casino they came from. As a first-time collector you should also consider establishing a niche for yourself — for example, poker players often prefer to collect chips for their poker chip collection after games and tournaments they participated in. It’s best to start by collecting chips valued at one dollar and from there to proceed with collecting higher valued ones. One-dollar chips are also easier to obtain from casinos since many of them have quite strict rules governing the use of their higher-valued chips.

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Actress Vanessa Hudgens flipping casino chips next to the text "The King of Casinos"
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Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.

Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.