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The Story of Caesars Palace and the 25th Anniversary Chip

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In 1991, Caesars Palace celebrated their 25th anniversary. To commemorate the milestone, they came up with the novel idea to produce a limited edition $25 casino chip. Their hope was that patrons might decide to keep the $25 chip as a souvenir upon visiting the property. Since the chip would cost Caesars less than a dollar to design and produce, this venture might even turn a profit.

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They decided to produce 50,000 chips -- all in the $25 denomination to match their 25th anniversary. Special artwork was commissioned and the chip was manufactured in ceramic, rather than the usual clay chips used in their house rack. The cage would distribute all 50,000 limited edition chips throughout the various table games. It was announced that, at the end of the anniversary year, any of the $25 commemorative chips left on the tables or in the cage would be collected and destroyed.

At the conclusion of 1991 not a single commemorative $25 chip was anywhere to be found. All 50,000 chips had made their way out of the casino by enthusiastic patrons and were no longer redeemable, netting Caesars a profit of over $1.2M. The success of this little project started a boom throughout the casino industry.

Producing limited edition chips soon spread to other casinos, both inside and outside of Las Vegas. Limited edition chips were produced in various denominations from $1 through $100, and even included denominations that were never expected to see any table play, like an $8 limited edition chip popular with Asian players. The practice of producing limited edition chips became so widespread that the Nevada Gaming Commission eventually banned the production of $1 limited edition chips. $5 limited edition chips are the most common denomination today.

Casinos who notoriously took advantage of casino chip collectors by producing extreme numbers of limited edition chips include the Hard Rock and Palms. These casinos would routinely issue $5, $25, and $100 chips for everything from rock group appearances to triple crown races to Playboy playmate appearances to holidays (Christmas, Halloween, Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, etc.)...and of course anniversary chips. The Hard Rock has issued over 250 limited edition chips and the Palms has issues close to 400. If you've played poker at the RIO during the WSOP you might have even come across some of the 216 different $5 limited edition chips they've issued since 1995.

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