The Associated Press reports that the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa says new chips are in play for the Spring Open poker tournament that started on Tuesday. The new chips are the result of a cheating scandal that happened at The Borgata in January of this year.
There are other security measures in effect also but the key move was to bring in chips that can be tracked; the new ones have more colors and contain an authentication element that can be seen under ultraviolet light.
"This was very expensive, but very necessary," said Joe Lupo, the casino's senior vice president. "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 new chips have been approved by New Jersey gambling regulators for use in tournaments and the chips have design and technology elements combined. Spot checks of the chips will be ran as part of the new security measures.
"We will be checking chips randomly throughout the day using a new process involving the UV lights," Lupo said. He described the checks as "part of the new normal."
If you're playing The Borgata tournaments, look for more chips counts each day during the tournaments and more staff to help keep the tournament field secure and make sure the disaster that struck back in January doesn't happen again.
The disaster that stopped the event in January was in the form of Christian Lusardi, a North Carolina man who slipped counterfeit chips into the Winter Open Big Stack No Limit Hold'em event. The event was cancelled with 27 players left and $1.5 million in prize money still on hold while a joint investigation by the New Jersey State Police and the State Division of Gaming Enforcement is in the works.
Lusardi is in custody awaiting trial on charges that include theft and rigging a public contest. Once Lusardi felt the jig was up and the counterfeit chips had been noticed, he flushed the remainder of them down the toilet from his room at Harrah's Resort Atlantic City. When maintenance checked out a problem with guests on the floor below complaining that water was dripping into their rooms, the chips were found to be clogging the pipes.
Will the remaining 27 players ever get the chance to battle it out for the remaining prize pool and see who claims the honor of champion? It's an interesting question and if an answer shows up — even if it's in the dead of night — we'll be sure to let you know. Check back!