Bellagio owner MGM Resorts is serving notice to a robber who made off with $1.5 million in chips from the casino that he has until April 22nd or they will become worthless. The casino operator is notifying the public that after that date, its standard $25,000 chip will be discontinued, meaning any gamblers holding any of the red chips with gray inlays have until then to cash them in before they will be worth nothing more than the plastic they're made from.
MGM first posted notice of the impending devaluation of the chips in the classified section of the Las Vegas Review-Journal one week after a robber wearing a motorcycle helmet pulled a gun at a craps table and made off with a bag of chips of varying denominations. Police and Nevada State gaming officials have been working diligently since the December 14th hold-up to locate the perpetrator and keeping an eye out for anyone trying to cash in the chips, which range in value from $100 to $25,000.
A spokesman for the Las Vegas Police said Wednesday there have been no significant developments in the case.
A spokesman for MGM Resorts said that the decision to discontinue the chips was made immediately after the robbery, and the chips were off the casino's tables within an hour. Bellagio officials also filed to discontinue the chips with state gaming officials the same day. It is reportedly unknown how many of the chips remain uncashed.
Discontinuing chips is a common practice for casinos. Casinos will often circulate special chips for commemorative events and then discontinue them after a certain period. State law requires that casinos file a plan with regulators, serve public notice of the discontinuation, and afford gamblers sufficient time to cash in chips they might be holding before devaluing chips.
It is presently unknown how many of the $25,000 chips were stolen, though given the announced $1.5 million value of the take, it would only be 48 at the most.