Casinos adopt new $25,000 gaming chip

March 25, 2008 6:00 PM
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Atlantic City report by Staff & Wire Reports | Itís enough to pay for a new Honda CRV, a first-class wedding, or your childís college education, assuming you donít 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 casinoís senior vice president and general manager.

The Caesars chips will feature the companyís signature horse and chariot design.

Thereís no limit on how many of the chips casinos can buy; itís 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 thatís 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, Harrahís, 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 banís 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 generalís 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.ís claim that the ban impinges on his right to enter a place of public accommodation, observing "gambling is not a constitutionally protected activity."