A Gardena card club lost thousands of dollars when bogus poker chips that may have come from a gambling casino in Thailand were used at two clubs, police said.
Thirty phony $100 chips were discovered at the Horseshoe Club on Feb. 17 when a cashier sorting chips noticed "Thailand" written on several of them, Gardena Detective Rodney Tanaka said.
Only one chip was discovered at the Normandie Casino, when a player who received one of the chips in a game on Feb. 19 alerted the management after comparing it with the slightly darker-hued chips the club uses, Tanaka said. The club honored the chip.
Regularly Change Colors
"They might be legitimate chips in Bangkok but over here they're no good," Tanaka said.
There were no other reports of the bogus chips at other Los Angeles-area card clubs, although clubs in Bell, Bell Gardens, Commerce and Huntington Park have been notified of the Gardena incidents, Tanaka said.
The card clubs require patrons to use chips rather than cash, and the clubs regularly change the color of chips to avoid such problems, Tanaka said.
'Pretty Good Exchange'
At the Horseshoe Club, the worthless chips matched the purple color of the $100 chips used last month, down to the vertical black markings on the sides, Tanaka said. The color of the phony chips was slightly lighter than that used at the Normandie Club, which were marked with turquoise lines on their sides, he said.
"It was a pretty good exchange," Tanaka said. "The colors were pretty close and the markings were good. Unless you really examined each chip you probably wouldn't have noticed them." A floor manager at the Horseshoe Club who declined to give his name said the incident "was no big deal, the whole thing didn't amount to nothing."
The bogus chips were not found at the Eldorado Club, the city's other card club, where $100 chips were green and white in February, Tanaka said.