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Following the Chips in Wynn's New Casino 264

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the hey-steve-comp-me-a-suite dept.
ctwxman writes "As Steve Wynn gets set to open his new Las Vegas casino, something new hits the tables: RFID encoded chips they report that "The fancy new chips look just like regular ones, only they contain radio devices that signal secret serial numbers. Special equipment linked to the casino's computer systems and placed throughout the property will identify legitimate chips and detect fakes" " " Having stayed pretty much everywhere else cool on the strip, I'm sure I'll try the Wynn out soon after it opens, but I think I'll be cashing out my chips before I leave the casino. It makes me nervous knowing I could be unwittingly scanned by others after I leave the floor. Of course, this added inconvenience may save me a fortune in blackjack losses!
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Following the Chips in Wynn's New Casino

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  • by Space cowboy (13680) * on Thursday February 10, 2005 @04:59PM (#11634734) Journal

    The range over which you can read RFID information in any sort of portable (ie: non-obvious) fashion is limited to a few inches. In fact, tuning the damn things so they'll read at (say: 4 or 5) inches is hard.

    The readers that are designed for doorways can do roughly 2 feet, but they're huge and very very obvious - they're designed for store entrances, where they make you walk through the "gates" to get in/out of the store. You can't miss a 4-foot (max) separated row of columns covering all the exits...

    RFID works by the reader exciting a sympathetic response in the tag (which is itself unpowered, though it rectifies the incoming RF energy to self-power), this response modifies the reader's waveform signal, overlaying an incredibly weak (roughly 1% of the incident waveform) signal on top. It is this weak modification to the reader's signal that has to be extracted and deconstructed into a bitstream.

    Speaking as one whom RFID has tried, it's not an easy task to get any significant distance between tag and reader, and IM(NS :-)HO the likelihood of being randomly snooped on wherever you go is damn small. Almost flying-pig small. Our asset management system aimed for a 6" separation between tag and reader, and we didn't care about being obvious though there were size constraints for the reader (had to fit in a 1U box). Getting repeatable results proved very difficult with the units we had.

    Aside: London Underground introduced an RFID-based system for block-purchase of tickets, promising it would read your "ticket" in your bag/pocket as you passed by. This claim was dropped on introduction, and they now advise you to swipe the reader with your tag as you go by...

    Simon.
    • The range over which you can read RFID information in any sort of portable (ie: non-obvious) fashion is limited to a few inches.
      For now...
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 10, 2005 @05:04PM (#11634802)
      Speaking as one whom RFID has tried...

      RFID tried you out? How did that go? Did it hurt?
      • I probably oughtn't respond to this, but since it's possibly a colloquial expression.... It's in the same vein as "I found it trying to ...", or "it was not easy to".

        Simon.
    • The readers that are designed for doorways can do roughly 2 feet, but they're huge and very very obvious - they're designed for store entrances, where they make you walk through the "gates" to get in/out of the store. You can't miss a 4-foot (max) separated row of columns covering all the exits...

      Right, but as they become more and more common, you won't notice them. And I'm sure plenty of businesses would love to know if you're carrying a lot of chips around.

    • by Tackhead (54550) on Thursday February 10, 2005 @05:13PM (#11634912)
      > The readers that are designed for doorways can do roughly 2 feet, but they're huge and very very obvious - they're designed for store entrances, where they make you walk through the "gates" to get in/out of the store. You can't miss a 4-foot (max) separated row of columns covering all the exits...

      Considering the space already available to install cameras, cabling, and God only knows what else above the ceiling, wouldn't it be easy to include large transmitters in the ceiling?

      Better yet, install a semi-large one (a little smaller than your doorway-size variety) in each table. Doesn't matter if you see all 10 tables "light up" when Joe Gambler walks by them, you only need to get 2-3 hits before you can retrace his steps.

      It's sorta like facial recognition in that you can build up a track of where Joe Gambler went during his entire time at the site.

      But it's better -- because you can sort those tracks by dollar amount. What would it be worth to a casino's marketing department to know which path certain groups customers walk after losing all their chips (or after doubling their chips!), and reorganizing their floors (placing bank machines along the most likely route for the losers, and slot machines or other tables along the way to the cashier's cage for the winners) accordingly?

      If you were really clever, you could even have hustlers on the floor. Guy wins $1000 at a $25 Blackjack table? Cute chick comes over and offers him a drink on the way to the cashier's. Asks him how he did. Points out the conveniently-located row of $100 tables that somehow always have to be walked around before he can get to the cashier's.

      As we progress, running a casino will become more and more like playing SimAnt. (Then you can sell an extension the technology to the government to play with the rest of society, and it gets to be a lot more fun, to say nothing of more profitable :)

    • RFID tags used for tollways (in Houston & elsewhere) can read a tag going 60+mph (100km/h) from a distance of 12+ft (2.5m). Reliably! The reader is a flat panel about one foot (30cm) square.

      Perhaps these tags are mroe than a single chip, and have a small loop antenna. But so could casino chips. I'd expect multiple readers (up to one per gaming point, plus each seat & a series for the dealer) to be built-into gaming tables eventually.

      • Are you *sure* that's not an active tag ? ie: is the tag powered in any way, and how big is it ?

        After giving up on the manufacturer-supplied readers, we built a reader starting with the reference designs available, and it's all down to the power emitted, the angle-adjusted cross-sectional area of both tag and reader antennae, and the frequency of the carrier wave. I would have thought it would be physically impossible to achieve what you say using only passive RFID. Pretty easy with active RFID though...

        W
        • by Anonymous Coward
          This the problem.

          Your experience with 125kHz and 13MHz systems are using inductive coupling, and thus, must be within the electromagnetic nearfield for reader interrogation. These are legacy systems such as security badge readers, and yes, they're limited to short ranges (say 6 inches).

          New systems (such as epc) are currently 902-928MHZ, and (real soon now) 2400MHz band. These devices can interrogate transponders in the electromagnetic far field, and can easily read passive transponders up to 10 meters w
      • by kenh (9056) on Thursday February 10, 2005 @05:31PM (#11635098) Homepage Journal
        The RFID tags used on cars are much larger than any chip I've ever seen in a casino - and there are good reasons they are as big as they are - they need to absorb enough energy to send the signal back to the detector/antenna 10-15 feet away...

        Also, casinos already know where the players are, they don't need to track them based on chip movement...

        I think the real application will be the action at the table (a computer could watch the volume of betting and act as a virtual pit boss, signalling when the action is getting heavy/slacking off) and in the cashier (count and verify chips quickly). I also wonder if they will also use sensors in the doorways to try and keep their chips in their casino, and know when someone comes in with chips from another casino...

        Ken
      • I believe they are all active devices. I recall a recent news story where all of the original EZ-Passes in the NE USA were failing because the batteries in them were dying.

      • RFID tags used for tollways (in Houston & elsewhere) can read a tag going 60+mph (100km/h) from a distance of 12+ft (2.5m)

        Those sound very similar to the FastTrak system used on bridges in the SF Bay Area. I bet your system beeps an acknowledgement whenever you go through the toll area, which means it's powered.
        • Everything is powered somehow. There's no reason that a sufficiently large tag couldn't pick up enough power via RF to beep a piezo. Granted, the FastTraks are internally powered, but that doesn't mean every similar device must be.
      • There's a toll road around Toronto, Ontario, that uses RFID readers in much the same way.

        However, it also reads license plates directly if you don't have an RFID tag. One receives a bill in the mail (with a surcharge for not being "in" the system) at the end of the month.

        Dunno about out of province drivers. I guess Canadian ones are tracked down and fined or jailed. (Americans probably just get a fist shaken at them, as they cross the border back into the U.S., thinking to themselves "nyeah, nyeah, nhea

      • by HEbGb (6544) on Thursday February 10, 2005 @05:52PM (#11635340)
        EZPASS and Fastlane tags are powered transmitters [howstuffworks.com] - there's a lithium battery inside them. This is a complelety different beast from the RFID tags in the casino chips (and other small passive devices).
    • So you're saying you need a purse or bag with a PDA and a small antenna to walk through a crowd in order to pick up who has the most chips to steal. Doesn't sound too hard in the dense vegas crowds...

      Also, don't forget about future enhancements in the antennas, or perhaps a vehicle mounted system. Anything that uses radio waves is in danger of being snooped.
    • Simon,

      Thanks for the post. I guess there really is no need for alarm since the readers have to be so large. In fact we should embrace RFID in every aspect of our lives.

      After all, if there's one thing every /.'er knows, it's that technology never gets faster, smaller, and more powerful.
    • You bought the wrong stuff. In good conditions you can read an RFID tag very far away, with off the shelf equipment. The more tags you are carrying, the more likely that you'll get a signal off one of them. The results don't have to be repeatable if you get enough readers and someone is carrying around enough tags. Any time a reader gets multiple hits at one time from a directional antenna, it can associate those tags until they diverge, and a hit on either one can be considered a hit on the same target.

      W

  • by de1orean (851146) <ian.deloreanrock@org> on Thursday February 10, 2005 @05:00PM (#11634742)
    ehhh, it hardly matters. the house always gets its chips back eventually....
  • Go to a casino, bring some foil. Put the chips in your pocket and put one in the foil.

    Smuggle it out of the casino and then see what makes it tick when you get it home.
  • by JJ (29711) on Thursday February 10, 2005 @05:02PM (#11634765) Homepage Journal
    to take a chip you legally bought out the door?

    I see this as a way to protect against theft, as in bringing illegal duplicate chips in the door.
    • by Don'tTreadOnMe (686201) on Thursday February 10, 2005 @05:17PM (#11634959)
      In the couple of casinos I worked at, they wanted you to take the chips home with you - it's close to 100% profit. And the silvers and clays are made by companies with almost as much rigor as the US Mints, so someone would have to go to a lot of trouble to bring in fake chips.
  • by funny-jack (741994) on Thursday February 10, 2005 @05:03PM (#11634779) Homepage
    from the rejected submission bin:

    funny-jack [blogspot.com] says: A small school in the San Francisco area has come up with the latest "innovative" use for RFID: tracking student attendance [sfgate.com].
  • by Stavr0 (35032) on Thursday February 10, 2005 @05:03PM (#11634787) Homepage Journal
    "I'm sorry sir, your $100 chip appears to be counterfeit."
    "WHAT? I just got it from the blackjack table over there!"
    "Remain calm. Casino security will be with you shortly."

    In other words.... PWN3D!

    • by TheCarp (96830) * <sjc&carpanet,net> on Thursday February 10, 2005 @05:35PM (#11635137) Homepage
      what will be interesting is to see how they work this new feature into their procedures.

      As it is now, I could easily (assuming I could have good counterfits made that were not distinguishable from normal chips in some simple manner) bring fake chips into a casino and use them... the hard part is getting good fakes and putting them into your stacks without arising suspicion.

      Remember there are cameras and various forms of security all over the place.

      So lets say I do make it to the table with stacks of fairly good counterfit chips. Lets say they are exact minus the RFID tag. OK, so my normal course of action is to go to the poker table, but I could go anywhere.

      My goal here is not to make money, but to break even. I can't risk taking fake chips to the cashier, because thats where its very likely to get caught and if they have and RFID, they will definitly be looking for missing chips.
      (ie they will want to wave my rack of 500 chips over the detector and get exactly 500 valid unique rfid signatures right?)

      So I need to exchange all or at least most (if I have 1 or 2 fakes in a set of 500 chips, its going to be easy to claim I won them at a table and they wont care, but if I have a large number, rest assured they will have some questions for me)

      Preferably I want these chips going into other people's stacks rather than the dealers. So my best strategy is to fake $5 chips, because they don't use $5 chips in the rake usually, and never use one in a situation where the dealer will use it to make change... this isn't too hard.

      Now play a few rounds of poker and you see I have a problem. How do I keep fakes and reals seprate? If my method of getting them to the table is sound (notice I am ignoring this aspect, and with good reason, will get to that) then its easy to start out with a mix of fakes and reals that I can identify and nobody else can by sight.

      Each time I win a pot, I get my chips back, plus other peoples, and note, between rounds of betting, the dealer splashes the pot. so I can't easily keep my fakes seprate.

      ALl in all the whole thing will work for a little while, but will quickly break down.

      Best I can come up with is leave with $500 in real chips, just play to break even, then toss the chips in a backpack and leave. people do this all the time, leave withthe chips to come back later....

      Then come back with them racked in the backpack, but with ALL my chips in the backpack (so security doesn't become supiscous if they see me take $500 in chips out of my backpack when the door mounted detectors only registered $100)

      Then I play and try to keep the chips seprate.... leave again with all the chips... separate on my own time, and come back with the real chips only.

      But by this time they have realised that I am the only person at my table that never cashed in, and everyone else had bogus chips...

      Thats what the casinos have, defense in depth. Sure you can pull off a little scam here and there, but by the time it amounts to much, they have put 2 and 2 together.

      All they have to do is set the bar high enough that you can't scam enough to make it worth risking. Which is why this will eliminate any worries about fake chips.

      The real scams are collusion on the poker table and card counting on black jack... and marking cards etc. (tho I think card counting is bullshit, its not the players fault that he can remember things and do math... its the houses fault for using dealer shoes rather than shuffling every time)

      Frankly if you want to make money at the casino do what my roomates and I do... become good at poker. You will make money any time you play against people that take bigger risks than you do over time. It is not hard to become disciplined enough to play better than 90% of the poker players out there.

      -Steve
  • The blurb seems to indicate that this is a first. If so, I'm really surprised. Many times I've seen dealers pass chips (usually $100 or more) over a scanner that lights up. I assumed that it was checking that the chip was valid, and I guessed that they were using RFID. That's how I would have done it anyway, and I figure that they're AT LEAST as smart as me.

    Looking over the rooms on the web site, I'm surprised at the room rates. The small rooms are expensive (start at $349 per night) and the big rooms
    • The "scanner that lights up" is simply a UV light. Most casino chips have some form of logo or identifying mark that can be seen under UV. Try this with your credit cards also! The California drivers license also has an image of a bear that is visible only under UV.
  • by A nonymous Coward (7548) * on Thursday February 10, 2005 @05:05PM (#11634814)
    Seems to me it could be spoofed, but I Am Not An Expert. What if you have a small radio transmitter in your pocket to swamp the table's RFID transmitter? Maybe read the RFID at one table, and play it back later to spoof some other table?

    Plus it would give the security personnel a false sense of security, and maybe more traditional ways of cheating would be easier.

    I wonder if this is not just a publicity ploy, just make some noise to get more people in who would not otherwise come in.
    • I think you'll find if you wander around a casino with a radio transmitter secxurity will want a quick chat.
    • Seems to me it could be spoofed, but I Am Not An Expert. What if you have a small radio transmitter in your pocket to swamp the table's RFID transmitter? Maybe read the RFID at one table, and play it back later to spoof some other table?

      Doing this in a place with more cameras than patrons, heavy security, a network of private detectives (Griffin Investigations), and the most sophisticated facial recognition packages around makes this a fools game at best.

      If you value your kneecaps, don't pull this in a c
    • Oceans 13!!!!!!!
  • multiple uses (Score:5, Insightful)

    by orange_6 (320700) <jtgalt@gmCHICAGOail.com minus city> on Thursday February 10, 2005 @05:06PM (#11634822) Homepage Journal
    Aside from helping to stop counterfeitting, these RF chips could also be used to further what casinos already do: track players. If you know what players have what chips you can figure out what bets they place at table games easier.

    They already do this with slots (where you put a card in with credits) to keep track of comps and the like. If this were implemented into the chips, it would be easier to keep tabs on mid-low range players and who is a good repeat player for issuing comps.

    Just an expansion of many casinos approach to customer relations :)
  • Tracking gamblers (Score:4, Interesting)

    by redelm (54142) on Thursday February 10, 2005 @05:07PM (#11634831) Homepage
    RFIDs in the chips will make tracking the gamblers very easy: Record the RFIDs as issued, as bet and as paid out. Yes, it will require (gasp!) computers, but the casinos have money.

    They will be able to track individual gabling habits, and from that, system usage.

  • Not terribly new (Score:5, Informative)

    by Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) * <seebert42@gmail.com> on Thursday February 10, 2005 @05:07PM (#11634837) Homepage Journal
    Back in the mid 1990s (1995-1997) when I was working for Casino Software Corporation of America, one of our major competitors already had this kind of system up and operating. Though I think thiers was ACTIVE RFID instead of Passive (was passive available that early?) they had readers in their blackjack table and even a scanner in the shoe to know what cards were where and who to pay out to. I always thought their system was a security hole- if you could grab the image off of the pit boss's system you would know the cards of everybody at all the blackjack tables. But their system sure did prevent the common "double payout" scam that was running around at the time (where the con man went to the table of a dealer he was paying under the table- and knew that he could get the bets paid incorrectly).
    • I believe that system was the Mikohn SafeJack. Apparently the problem was that the chips with integral RFID's were more expensive than their par value. A $1 chip actually cost several dollars.

      An interesting idea but perhaps just too far ahead of its time.

      • I couldn't remember the name of the company until you said it- and yes, that was it. As I remember, yes, you accurately described the problem at the time.

        Today, of course, RFID prices have fallen immensely- embedding one in a clay chip would only raise the price of the chip $.15, and be far less than $1 per chip to produce in total.
  • by Chairboy (88841) on Thursday February 10, 2005 @05:07PM (#11634840) Homepage
    That's nothing. Call me when they RFID the cards. I've got a hankerin for some poker.
  • Another reason... (Score:4, Informative)

    by johndeeregator (549310) on Thursday February 10, 2005 @05:08PM (#11634846) Homepage
    Another reason for RFID chips is that they can be used to automatically detect bet amounts, and thus can be used to better determine appropriate player comps. For example, with blackjack, simply place a RFID sensor under the box where the player places his bet, and with the appropriate software, the floorman can instantly see how much the player has been betting (and, perhaps, winning and losing, although that's a little more tricky).

    Also makes cashing out in the poker room quite a bit quicker.
    • by tgd (2822)
      Better comps would be a big plus... unless you're a high roller, the pit boss rarely pays enough attention to accurate track your betting, especially if you bet in an inconsistent manner at something like craps.

  • Not Entirely New (Score:3, Informative)

    by richlb (168636) on Thursday February 10, 2005 @05:09PM (#11634862)
    Foxwoods Casino in Conn. has been using these in a limited way for a year or two.
  • I wonder... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Iphtashu Fitz (263795) on Thursday February 10, 2005 @05:09PM (#11634864)
    If I took some chips out of the casino, rendered the RFID tags useless with a magnet (or whatever it takes), then went back and requested payment, would they refuse to pay?

    I can potentially imagine the big stink that would arise if RFID tags stopped working in valid chips for some reason. Suppose you were playing blackjack and won a ton of money, went straight to the cashier, and they refused to pay because the RFID tags weren't responding. I can imagine lawsuits would spring up pretty darned quickly.
    • I suppose if enough stink was made, the casino could x-ray the chips. Big letters inside "LUXOR", next to the now-defunct RFID chip, would identify the chips as theirs and valid.

      I doubt the RFID functionality is the last word in valid/not valid chips.

      Good question to ask when you get some chips, though.

    • I'm sure that won't be the *only* way to identify the chips, it will just make it lots easier.

      "Hey, this batch of 500 chips have incorrect RFID tags, we should check them out".
  • I don't get it... (Score:4, Informative)

    by gUmbi (95629) on Thursday February 10, 2005 @05:10PM (#11634880)
    I'm sure I'll try the Wynn out soon after it opens, but I think I'll be cashing out my chips before I leave the casino.

    I'm pretty sure that you're not supposed to leave the property with the chips but even if you could, they won't be accepted at other casinos (especially since Wynn is not part of the major casino chains - unless you plan on playing in Wynn's property in Macau).

    If you're concerned about going back to your room with chips because of theft - well, I think it's more suspicious redeeming them for cash in plain view.

    The RFID features are meant to a) reduce theft, fraud and counterfeiting and b) reduce the time required to balance a table.
    • I'm pretty sure that you're not supposed to leave the property with the chips ...

      I doubt that the casinos mind if you don't cash in chips. In fact, feel free to take as many $100 chip home with you as you want! How do you think these [ebay.com] got out?

      I don't know how much casinos pay for chips, but I'm sure it's much less than the face value printed on them (even the fancy RFID ones).

      • I don't know how much casinos pay for chips, but I'm sure it's much less than the face value printed on them.

        That's not true for the lowest denomination of chip. Real casino chips are made of a type of clay that is not cheap to produce. If you want the feel of real chips when playing poker with your buddies, buy a big load of $1 chips from a casino and take them home, it actually costs less than buying the real ones for yourself!
      • Well, I can tell you from experience that the chips themselves (at least the ones without RFID) cost under $1/each when purchased from the manufacturer. In fact, the major chip manufacturers market their brands of chips to the casinos as being great for collectable revenue (people walking out with them). Even someone who takes a $1 chip home with them is giving free money to the casino. Not a bad deal, huh?
    • Most casinos will redeem chips from another casino in the same area. High denom chips are considered suspicious, but the normal denoms are used without an issue. Every so often, the casinos will exchange the "foreign" chips back to the casino they originated from.
    • Living in Vegas, this is how it actually works...

      You are allowed and usually encouraged to take chips with you when you leave a casino... In fact, most casinos (especailly the Palms) have limited edition chips of all denomitaions that you are encouraged to collect. The casino's can then issue "Removal From Circulation" notices, that render the chips worthles... Perfect profit system.

      On the other part of your statement,

      "they won't be accepted at other casinos (especially since Wynn is not part of the m
  • by feepness (543479) on Thursday February 10, 2005 @05:11PM (#11634893) Homepage
    They don't care about you, they care about where all the $500/%1000 chips are.

    They will see when it is put into a rack, taken out of a rack, and can match that up to the cameras if a particular dealer or shift is consistently low on their "take".

    Casinos are far more worried about their EMPLOYEES stealing (or conspiring with accomplices) than their regular customers. You're giving your money away anyways, what do they care how you do it?
    • Actually, they do care about their customers because if the customers are ignored or feel like they won't win...ever...then they won't come back. It's basic business, keep the customers happy. And what better way to do that than to keep track of what they do on and off the casino floor.
      • Actually, they do care about their customers because if the customers are ignored or feel like they won't win...ever...then they won't come back. It's basic business, keep the customers happy.

        It's like they said in a special I saw... "If someone loses big, they'll tell a couple of their friends when they ask what happened, if somoene wins big, they'll tell everyone they see"

        Free advertising on the happy customers.
  • does anyone know where to get an affordable hand held RFID reader? it would be nice to know weather certain places/things are RFID enabled.

    also is there anything someone could carry with them to make RFID reading useless? like a Credit card type card that will make it so the reader can't read these casino chips or your RFID drivers license?
  • by UnknowingFool (672806) on Thursday February 10, 2005 @05:17PM (#11634961)
    "Honey, how did you do at the black jack tables?"
    "Lost everything."
    "Was that before or after you gave that floozy a $100 chip?"
    "Damn you RFID!"
  • "However, financial losses due to counterfeit chips are usually minor, and few perpetrators get away with it, Copher [NGC's Chief of Enforcement] said." I really don't think counterfitting is their primary concern. Why don't they just come out and say that they want to track card-counters and people to give comps to?
  • by borkus (179118) on Thursday February 10, 2005 @05:21PM (#11634997) Homepage
    While it may be difficult to track chips on the table, the techonology would be very useful in the cashier's office. For one thing, you could incorporate an RFID reader in your chip counter - that would prevent someone from cashing in counterfeit chips. Also, while it's alright for players to walk out of the casino with chips, it's not okay for employees to walk out of the cash office with chips. While they already have cameras galore in there, RFID would give them another way to make sure cashier office staff didn't walk out with a spare chip or two - unless their underwear from Wal-Mart sets off the scanner.
  • Sweet! (Score:3, Funny)

    by Dolohov (114209) on Thursday February 10, 2005 @05:21PM (#11635007)
    Now when I want to decide who in a casino to beat up and rob, I just have to buy a detector, figure out which poor bastard has the most money, and follow him! No more muss or fuss with guessing wrong and going to the trouble of mugging some jerk who's poor.
  • There are much better uses for identifiable chips than preventing fraud. This makes it much easier to track player habits down to every dollar they bet. Think of a poker game. On a player-by-player basis, you can now track every doller bet during every moment of the game. This would presumably make comensation systems more accurate (rewarding someone for being a riskier gambler rather than dead weight at a table). With a little mathematics and CPU time it would be trivial to watch for collusion between play
    • This makes it much easier to track player habits down to every dollar they bet.
      Don't fret it too much. Don't want to be tracked? Remember these two magic words: Money Plays.
  • "... but I think I'll be cashing out my chips before I leave the casino ..."

    Using RFID tags in Casinos was mentioned a while back, and one of the reasons why they wanted to use RFID tags, was to make sure people don't leave with the chips.

    http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=04/01/09/ 18 28225&tid=158&tid=98&tid=17
  • but I think I'll be cashing out my chips before I leave the casino.

    Why wouldn't you be doing this anyway? You can't play one casino's chips at another casino.
  • That's like closing the barndoor after the barn's burned down!

    Membership cards linked to multiple casinos, every square inch of every building under surveliance, and data mineing the likes of which the G'uvment can't compete with. Cashless video games that print out your winnings on a barcoded slip of paper...

    If this has you concerned, RFID in your chips is the _least_ of your problems.

  • In his classic Steal This Book (a fascinating read, now online for free [mindmined.com]) 60s activist Abbie Hoffman described the following way to get a free trip to Vegas. Many casinos (at least back then) offered free round trip airfare and a room for a weekend, even meals in some cases, but you had to buy like $500 in chips. These were specially marked chips that could not be cashed in, so you had to gamble them away. The trick he suggested was for whoever goes with you to buy an equal number of standard chips upon arri
    • You're almost right.

      1. You don't need a friend. In roulette, you bet against the house - each player plays independently.

      2. It's not a free weekend, but it is cheap.

      3. You take your $500. Bet $13 each on 0 and 00. Bet $237 each on red and black (or odd and even, or any other 2:1 action). If 0 or 00 comes up, you get $468. If either red or black comes up, you get $474. Thus, your weekend costs you either $26 or $32. Of course, if you feel lucky, you can omit the 0 and 00 bets and simply bet $250 on red

      • Informative? If you bet $237 on red and black, if it comes up red, you lose $237 and win $237. THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE. You might as well have NOT BET AT ALL. The same if comes up black.
        • Informative? If you bet $237 on red and black, if it comes up red, you lose $237 and win $237. THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE. You might as well have NOT BET AT ALL. The same if comes up black.

          That's the point. He wants to convert $500 of non-cashable chips into $500 of cashable chips. He's trying to break even.

    • I'll tell another story... This one is 2nd hand, and dates from the 50s. I believe the casinos have gotten a lot smarter since then, so I doubt this would work any more.

      The story goes that a friend of my father invites him and his wife (my mom) to Vegas for the weekend. They get there and start living it up. The friend says not to worry, he'll pay for it all. They see a couple shows, have fabulous meals.... All the while, the friend is periodically going to the cashier's window and cashing checks.

      Comes

  • by bigbigbison (104532) on Thursday February 10, 2005 @05:50PM (#11635318) Homepage
    I worked as a cashier in a casino (that bills itself as the most popular riverboat casino in the world if anyone wants to figure out which one) for at total of 2 and 1/2 years and while I remember several instances of counterfeit money, I don't remember EVER seeing counterfeit chips. I have seen chips from other casinos, but not forged ones.

    While I didn't work in Vegas, I am highly sceptical this happens. If they said it was to prevent employee theft, I would have an easier time beleiving it (although to be effective it would require every exit being covered, which would seemingly be cost prohibitive).

    For counterfeiting chips to be effective, you would have to have a lot of chips, and prefereably a lot of high denomination chips. At least in the casino i worked in, surveillance knows who has the chips already so if someone they have never seen before walks in with even an ammount as small as $5000 in chips, there is a good chance they are going to know. Cashing in anything over $10,000 gets reported to the government anyway (again, unless Vegas is different, but I think that is part of RICO laws), so I don't see counterfeiting chips being effective when you can fake money ans spend it everywhere.
  • by ctwxman (589366) <me@@@geofffox...com> on Thursday February 10, 2005 @05:52PM (#11635335) Homepage
    CmdTaco has added comments to the parent post after mine. However, there is no clear distinction where my words end and his begin. Since they might be interpreted to be from me, and they don't represent my sentiments, please note: everything written beginning with the words, "Having stayed," does not belong to me. In email conversation, CmdTaco has said he didn't feel there would be any confusion since my words are italicized. In this case, I respectfully disagree. I would appreciate this post being modded up.
    • I think anyone who's read Slashdot for any period of time knows that the post is in italics and anything else is by the editor who posted the story... This sort of writing happens ALL the time, no-one gets confused... at least I thought they didn't.
  • gambling is a stupidity tax. Man it is depressing walking past a bank of zombies punishing themselves. Skinner's pigeons got nothing on the blue haired ladies.

    Even if you are playing poker, the house is still a parasite. The rake is unbelievable. Maybe the rake buys you a clean game, but I kind of doubt it. The ethics of mobsters and corporations are no better than that of home game weasels. The only thing saving you is that the overhead of a fix is probably not worth the trouble. Still more do I do
    • IIRC this may be Heinlein, but anyway I read it somewhere: what you pay the house is the price of your night out. View it as an evening's entertainment. If you're betting red/black on roulette you only lose 1/37 of what you bet, at minimum bet it probably adds up to less than what you'd spend going to the cinema or a restaurant. As long as you don't get addicted, or bet money you don't have, you're fine.
  • *shrug* (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Mysticalfruit (533341) on Thursday February 10, 2005 @06:29PM (#11635704) Journal
    I don't have an issue with this since the chips are the property of the casino.

    It's the same thing if they decided to put RFID tags in the towels.

    The only thing I would be interested in, is full disclosure. Even if it's something I have to ask the manager about, the the manager would tell me, "Yes, the chips contain RFID tags, we use them when you cash in the chips to make sure they're legit."

    What surprises me is that hotels haven't put RFID tags in their towels and charged you when you steal them!
  • ifilm [ifilm.com] is showing a banned superbowl commercial for the Wynn casino. The commercial is just him standing on top of his casino saying it's the first time he's put his name on one. Seems pretty harmless, anyone know why it was banned?

Murphy's Law, that brash proletarian restatement of Godel's Theorem. -- Thomas Pynchon, "Gravity's Rainbow"

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