Borgata Introduces High Tech Poker Chips After Cheating Scam

After an alleged counterfeit chip scam disrupted Atlantic City’s Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa’s Winter Poker Open, the casino has introduced new high-tech chips for its Borgata Spring Poker Open, which got underway last week. The new chips carry identification visible only under ultraviolet light and are more colorful and intricate than previous tournament chips.

Atlantic City’s Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa has taken steps to tighten the security of its tournament poker chips after an alleged chip counterfeiting scam disrupted January’s Borgata Winter Poker Open.

With the casino’s spring poker open now underway, Borgata unveiled new chips that have high-tech safeguards against counterfeiting. The new chips carry an authentication tag only visible under ultraviolet light, are more intricate and have more colors than the casino’s previous tournament chips.

“This was very expensive, but very necessary,” Joe Lupo, the casino’s senior vice president told the Associated Press. “In order to have the biggest tournaments in Atlantic City and as the market leader, we need to ensure the integrity of the games.”

The chips were introduced on the first day of the Borgata Spring Poker Open.

In January, a North Carolina man was arrested by New Jersey State Police and charged with introducing 160 forged chips into Event 1 of the winter poker open. Christian Lusardi was charged with theft and rigging a public contest.

According to court documents, Lusardi received packages of plastic chips from Hong Kong and used spray paint to create the forgeries.

Lusardi, won $6,184 in the tournament, but was caught after he attempted to flush some of the chips down a toilet in his Harrah’s Resort and Casino hotel room. Staff at that hotel discovered the chips, which had clogged plumbing in other rooms, and alerted police.

About $1.5 million in prize money is still on hold while the investigation continues. About $800,000 in prize money was already paid out before the fake chips were discovered.

The new chips were approved by New Jersey gambling regulators for use in tournaments. Part of the new security measures will include spot checks of chips in play during games.

“We will be checking chips randomly throughout the day using a new process involving the UV lights,” Lupo told the AP. He described the checks as “part of the new normal.”

The Borgata also will add more staff and will do more chip counts each day during its tournaments, Lupo said.