Police hunt $1.5m Vegas casino chips thief

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The Independent US

Authorities are looking out for anyone trying to cash high-denomination chips at the Bellagio casino in Las Vegas, after an armed man stole at least $1.5m (£960,000) worth of the tokens and fled on a motorcycle.

The thief took chips ranging in value from $100 to $25,000, but he might find it hard to redeem them anywhere else but the Bellagio, an Italian-themed resort with a wall of fountains famously located along the legendary Las Vegas Strip.

Gordon Absher, spokesman for Bellagio owner MGM Resorts International, said the casino chips aren't the same as cash. "At some point they have to be redeemed," he said.

Chips are unique to casino properties and are generally not interchangeable, although state regulations allow casino companies to redeem chips from sister properties with some restrictions.

Absher wouldn't say if MGM Resorts properties are among Las Vegas casinos that embed radio frequency devices in chips. But police will be keeping a close eye on cashier cages in case someone shows up with a stack of $25,000 chips.

The robbery had the makings of a scene straight out of a Hollywood caper. Police say a man wearing a jumpsuit and a motorcycle helmet with white stripes walked into the casino with a gun, robbed a craps table then sped away on a motorcycle in the dead of night.