It is my understanding if a private individual sells a chip that is money laundering.

Say I pay someone $100 to place a $10000 sports bet that wins. If it wins, I cash the ticket. Have I committed money laundering?

In addition: if a private individual sells a casino chip, or sells it for more than the face value, is that money laundering?

Jurisdiction is Las Vegas, Nevada.

1 Answer 1


No. Money Laundering is the act of taking money that was made as a result of criminal activity and turning it into "clean" money. There are a number of ways this occurs, and there may be ways to do it with casino chips, but you haven't demonstrated that your money is "Dirty" to begin with. If you have a $100 dollar chip from a Vegas Casino, it means that the original casino where it was purchased will redeem it for $100 dollars in currency. Nevada is unique in the United States as Casinos operating in the state must honor chips between different casinos so it's possible to buy a Chip at Casino A, go to Casino B, and redeem the chip there. This allows Las Vegas to use them as a sort of alternative currency and so long as the person you are doing business with accepts it as a form of payment, you are allowed to use it same as cash.

Collecting Casino chips is a hobby of some people and you can find them on places like Ebay, often times for more value than the face value of the chip. Like Currency, nothing says that you have to buy the chip at face value, so rare, old, or chips with defects may be worth many times over their current face value to the right collector.

It would only be money laundering if that $100 dollars was obtained through illegal activity and you were using the chip as a way to gamble to make your legitimate earnings on tax reports. While you can launder any value of money, the people who do so are normally doing so with 10,000s of dollars (the value most banks will notify the government if deposited in a single transaction... and they will take notice if you're doing more frequent smaller transactions to avoid that detection).

If you have ever seen "Breaking Bad" there are a few scenes where Money Laundering is explained, but the idea is to take a business that has a large use of hard currency exchange (Arcades, Nail Salons, and Car Washes are all discussed in show as perfect business examples) in which dirty money is mixed with legitimate earnings and deposited into the bank. As cash does not have a paper trail, you can't determine which bills were earned at the arcade verses through other means.

As long as your bookie is legitimate, Sports Gambling is legal in Vegas (You can even bet the Superbowl Coin toss) and as long as you report it as taxable income, you're not committing any crimes.

  • You have $11,000. You give $10,900 to a casino with a corrupt employee, and he arranges things so that your $100 bet wins $10,000. You turned $11,000 of dirty money into $10,000 of clean money.
    – gnasher729
    Oct 30, 2022 at 0:00

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