Casinos adopt new $25,000 gaming chip

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Atlantic City report by Staff & Wire Reports | It’s enough to pay for a new Honda CRV, a first-class wedding,
or your child’s college education, assuming you don’t send him to Harvard or
Yale.

And it fits in the palm of your hand.

The highly-valued “it” is a new $25,000 casino chip
approved last week for Atlantic City casinos.

The New Jersey Casino Control Commission approved the new
gold-colored chip, which now outranks the $20,000 yellow chip, the second
highest denomination in Atlantic City.

The new chip is slightly larger than the yellow chip, whose
color will be altered somewhat to reduce the chanced of a $5,000 mistake if the
two get confused, Dan Heneghan, a spokesman for the casino commission, told the
Press of Atlantic City.

Caesars Atlantic City petitioned the commission to approve the
higher chip, which it expects will be used at its high-end tables where gamblers
can bet up to $50,000 at a time, said Dan Nita, the casino’s senior vice
president and general manager.

The Caesars chips will feature the company’s signature horse
and chariot design.

There’s no limit on how many of the chips casinos can buy; it’s
up to them to determine how many are necessary.

Atlantic City casinos now offer chips in the following
denominations: $1; $2.50; $5; $10; $20; $25; $100; $500; $1,000; $5,000; $20,000
and $25,000.

But even that’s not the limit; some casinos use large metallic
markers called plaques that keep track of even larger bets of as much as
$100,000 at a time. For instance, Harrah’s, which operates four casinos in
Atlantic City, including Caesars, has been using $50,000 and $100,000 plaques
for its top customers for the past 10 years.


Voluntary ban’s a life sentence

The idea of a problem gambler banning himself from a casino is
kind-of like a problem overeater sewing shut his mouth.

And just as permanent.

A New Jersey appeals court last week said casino regulators
rightfully refused to reinstate a listed gambler who rued his decision after he
learned his self-imposed ban applies not only to Atlantic City casinos but to
gaming halls they own out of state.

In essence, the gambler known as “S.D.” cast his die
and lost, “and we discern no basis to second-guess that decision,” the
judges ruled in the case.

New Jersey has two exclusion lists: one involuntary, created in
1977 to keep organized crime figures, career criminals and other miscreants out
of the casinos, and one voluntary, created in 2001 to help admitted compulsive
gamblers.

The voluntary list is confidential but casinos in New Jersey may
share it with sister properties outside the state, which in turn may decide
whether to apply the ban. Casinos that do not have a presence in New Jersey do
not have access to the list, says Daniel Heneghan, a spokesman for the Casino
Control Commission.

The voluntary list offers three options: a one-year ban, a
five-year ban and a lifetime ban. On July 26, 2004, S.D. elected the third
option, but less than a month later, he asked to be taken off or, in the
alternative, to be placed on the one-year list. He explained that his intent was
only to keep himself out of New Jersey casinos because of their proximity to his
home, and that he did not know the ban would apply to casinos outside the state.

His request was denied both by the commission and by the state
attorney general’s Division of Gaming Enforcement. The latter said that any
potential out-of-state exclusion was a “collateral consequence” of
application for a lifetime ban and that if the ban were rescinded, there would
be a risk of undermining the intent of the program.

Last week, the appeals court agreed. The panel also rejected
S.D.’s claim that the ban impinges on his right to enter a place of public
accommodation, observing “gambling is not a constitutionally protected
activity.”

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