Casino chips ‘stealthily’ disappearing from Tropicana Las Vegas ahead of final closure

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Though one of Las Vegas’s oldest hotels is set to shut its doors for good in under 24 hours, parts of its casino are already disappearing.

Tropicana Las Vegas doorman Dean Davis has seen people come and go for 33 years, but recently, he says it’s the poker chips that are coming and going.

“An awful lot of people just looking for memorabilia,” Davis said inside the hotel’s Trago Lounge, talking about an increase in foot traffic within the past month. “They ran out of $1 and $5 chips. All they have are the greens and blacks.”

Signs posted at nearly every roulette, poker and blackjack table inside the 1950s relic show you’re out of luck if trying to buy the cheapest chips. “We are no longer selling $1 & $5 dollar chips until further notice,” they read.

Signs posted at most playing tables inside The Tropicana casino floor acknowledge the cease sale of $1 and $5 chips. (KLAS)

Bally’s Corporation, which currently operates the facility scheduled to shut its doors on Tuesday to make way for the A’s $1.5 billion baseball stadium, confirmed to 8 News Now in a statement Monday that “we have a slight increase in chips not being cashed in.”

The Nevada Gaming Control Board mandates that whatever chips are left after a casino’s closure are destroyed. The final customers, whether they’re allowed to or not, are providing them new homes.

Over the casino floor inside Tropicana Las Vegas. (KLAS)

Robert McKee – a website designer living in Fort Worth, Texas – is now in possession of a whole rack of Tropicana chips. He got them during his most recent “chip grab.”

“(The dealers) were restricting people from coming up and buying them, so I had to be a little crafty,” McKee said during a virtual interview Monday morning, reminiscing on his mid-March trip to Las Vegas from Texas while holding the chips he obtained then. “I was kind of stealthily dropping these in my lap.”

McKee’s collection has grown over the decades since his undergrad years at UNLV in the early 90s. From The Castaways Hotel to The Desert Inn Casino, he began collecting chips ahead of a property’s closure since the 1993 implosion of The Dunes.

“The year I went to UNLV was, like, kind of the genesis of all these mega resorts and also it started the trend of all these mega implosions,” McKee said. “eBay comes around a couple of years later and I see these things for $50 apiece, and I was like, ‘huh, why did I not buy a rack of those.’”

Chips, like those in McKee’s collection, are listed online for a multitude more than what first purchased for. Even before the hotel’s closure, a $1 chip from the Tropicana Las Vegas was listed at twenty-seven times its purchase value.

Poker Chip Collector Robert McKee (left) shows 8 News Now his rack of chips he acquired from Tropicana Las Vegas ahead of its Tuesday closure. (KLAS)

McKee shares in this profit, some chips of his going as high as $85 a piece online. Of the 300 chips he says he acquired prior to the 2016 implosion of The Riviera Hotel & Casino, he sold 275 of them.

“(I) sell them one at a time or stacks of 10,” McKee said. “Someone’s always going to take them off your hands for at least what you paid for them, so you really can’t lose.”

But, what doesn’t sell remains a glimpse of history in his back pocket.

“Even though it’s kind of quasi-money, it held a value at one point,” McKee said. “People played, you know, decades of blackjack with these things. So, it’s kind of cool.”

Those in possession of unwanted poker trips from Tropicana Las Vegas have through mid-summer to cash in, if they want to. The Bally’s Corporation spokesperson cause The OYO Hotel just next door to the property will redeem these chips through July 31, 2024.

Original News Source Link – KLAS

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