RFID Casino Chips

January 26, 2005

Gambling Magazine: Gaming Company Takes RFID To The Casino:

Shuffle Master, a gaming supply company headquartered, in Las Vegas, Nevada, recently purchased two RFID-related patents for $12.5 million. [...]

The first patent is for RFID-enabled gaming chips. A casino could track the chip from the time it was first played to the time it is cashed in. The second patent is for the gaming table tracking system that monitors and records all gaming chip transactions in a casino. Both patents were originally filed in 1995. [...]

So how do RFID-enabled chips and tables work?

"Say I sit down at a black jack table and I have a player's card. I place it and a $100 bill on the table. My card is swiped which places me at that table," explained Mr. Meyer. (A player's card is another way for casinos to track frequent gamblers. They earn points on the card for free meals, or other rewards.)

Without RFID, "as I play over time, the only way the casino can estimate the kind of player I am, is by using pit boss estimates. That's a pretty rough estimate. That's where table tracking comes in. Every chip is associated with me and is tracked using a reader. Exactly what I'm betting and losing or winning is tracked automatically. Without tracking, they (casino) don't know what I'm betting." In other words, the reasoning behind RFID utilization is that the casino will know what every player is doing at every table.

"Say you move away from one table with $500 in chips. You now go to cash in those chips. Those RFID chips can be read at the cage and associated with you. In your moment of generosity, you give a cocktail waitress a $25 chip. When she cashes it in, we know how generous a tipper you are."

Bill Glover:
File this one under, "ideas I should have patented myself." Can you think of a better place for RFID?
Future Now:
the industry spends a lot of money keeping track of who plays-- recording high rollers' drink preferences and dogs' names, but also watching who's doing what on the floor. [...] Given this, the fact that it would be looking at using RFID to keep track of chips, and to help refine their ability to monitor what players are doing, makes perfect sense.

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