Casino chips and plaques are just another form of cash, even if their direct purchasing power is limited to the casino floor and cage. It is not surprising therefore that some people spend as much time and effort in trying to fake gaming chips as other criminals put into counterfeiting paper currency.
Abbiati Casino Equipment, a specialist in casino currency and table games equipment based near Turin in Italy, has spent two years developing what it says is a new product in the market – a chip that marries the portability, durability and versatility in terms of theming of the best American-style casino chips, with the technological sophistication found in higher face value casino plaques.
The new Abbiati product is called Gettone, which in Italian means ‘token’. Some older readers will recall that was also the name of metal tokens once required to operate Italian public pay phones. The tokens were sometimes also offered as small change by shops in Italy in the days of its lira currency.
Casino industry consultant Christophe Leparoux (pictured) of Golden Cathay Consulting, and who advises Abbiati in Asian markets, spoke to GGRAsia during the recent Global Gaming Expo (G2E) Asia trade show in Macau about how the new product came into being.
“You see now in Asia more and more attempts at counterfeiting casino currency even though there are good security technologies available – such as ultraviolet [ink] and holograms. This new chip product is designed to help combat that,” Mr Leparoux told us.
“It is a composite product. Two or three years ago we started to combine the technology used to make plaques with the those of the injection moulding processes and specifications used to make American [style] chips. The point is that plaques as a product category are still the best in terms of anti-counterfeiting features. With plaques the manufacturing process, the raw material, the sophisticated techniques used in the manufacturing make it extremely difficult – not impossible, but extremely difficult – to produce fake ones and successfully pass them,” he explained.
The idea, Mr Leparoux said, is to marry the look and feel of an American chip – with its standard diameters of either 39 millimetres, 43mm or 45mm; injection moulding inserts; and the ability to print photographic images if the client wishes – with the security and sophistication of a plaque.
“We started by calling them ‘hybrid chips’ but then switched to the name ‘Gettone’,” he said.
He added: “Some players like traditional styles of chips, some players like more modern styles. That’s something we are also ready and able to do, because all our manufacturing is done under one roof.”
Customisation of casino equipment, including of game tables, is something Abbiati has been “doing for many, many years,” noted Mr Leparoux, although he added that in the current trading conditions in Asia – where casinos and junket operators have to compete keenly to recruit and retain high value players – equipment customisation could play a valuable role.
“Certainly we see opportunities for customised sales currently, where casino operators and junkets want to stand out to attract and retain table game customers,” Mr Leparoux said.
“We can customise products such as baccarat tables or roulette tables to make the player experience different from one casino to another, and even from one junket operator to another. For example, we can customise tables to a junket’s specific players, a specific environment, or a specific feel the junket wants to give to whatever room they run.
“We know our tables are not necessarily for the mass-market. But we have had a good response to them from the industry here in Asia,” added Mr Leparoux.
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Aggregate number of licensed junkets in Macau as of January 2022