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Counterfeit Chip Scam at Crown Casino

24/4/2009
If you’re heading Down Under to Melbourne in hopes of hitting it big at the Crown Casino, your world might be turned upside down as the jewel of Australasian casinos has been forced to inventory and authenticate AUD$13.7 million worth of chips after some fake $1,000 tokens were discovered.

The casino can verify that they’ve identified $36,000 in bogus chips since a staff member raised the red flag on the big-money scam yesterday afternoon.

Crown spokesman Gary O'Neill said Crown Casino staff examined 13,700 tokens, which includes 4,000 off the gaming floor, after the initial discovery.

Thirty-five other fake $1,000 chips were discovered in what’s being called the biggest fraud at Crown in recent years. As an emergency measure, Crown has changed the look of the chips to counteract any further attempts to defraud the casino.

O'Neill subsequently fended off accusations that casino was in crisis, saying it took only a couple of hours to review the fraudulent $1,000 chips.

"A review of the rest of the [denominations of] chips wouldn't take us all that long either,'' he said, adding that while the quality of the fakes was good, it didn’t take long for staff to raise the alarm. “I think in the early days it was fair to say that the quality of the fakes was laughable,” said O’Neill. “These days they're getting better at it but so are we [at detecting the fakes}.”

O'Neill also commented that knowing the total value of the fraud was impossible to calculate since the fake chips were estimated to have been circulated for less than a day.

“They were on the floor, clearly they had been passed for something,” said O’Neill. “I don't know whether they were cashed in or whether they were simply there in circulation.'”

A police spokesman confirmed that they would work with Crown security to get to the bottom of the incident.
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