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Bellagio Eliminating $25,000 Chips After Robbery

Dec 29, 2010
Author: Steven Lock
Bellagio Eliminating $25,000 Chips After Robbery

If the man who stole $1.5 million in chips from the Bellagio earlier this month wasn’t already going to have a tough time cashing in those $25,000 chips, any attempts to cash in on the robbery are about to get much more difficult. MGM Resorts International has announced that they will be discontinuing the $25,000 chips used at the Bellagio, requiring gamblers to redeem them by April 22, 2011.

It’s not clear whether the $25,000 chips – which are red with a gray inlay – will be replaced with a new chip at the same denomination, or if they will produce chips at new denominations instead. However, after the deadline, the chips will be essentially worthless except as a novelty item.

Of course, cashing in $25,000 chips is no easy task in the first place, meaning that the thief was unlikely to be able to get his money’s worth for the chips anyway. Cashing in chips at that level requires identification, and a player who has not been gambling in the casino at high limits will stick out like a sore thumb when they attempt to redeem a $25,000 casino chip.

According to earlier reports, the group most affected by this change may, in fact, be high-stakes poker players. Many of these high value chips are held by poker players as a store of value and a way to keep a bankroll without attracting attention from the IRS.

The Bellagio robbery took place early on the morning of December 14. The thief took chips from a craps table at gunpoint, taking chips ranging in value from $100 to $25,000. No one was injured as a result of the incident, and there were no reports of cash or personal property being stolen. The gunman wore a motorcycle helmet, making identification of a suspect difficult.

The same man may have been behind an earlier robbery on December 9 at the Suncoast Hotel & Casino. In that theft, the robber managed to take around $20,000 in cash from a poker room cashier.

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