Loose change is annoying as hell. It’s also a pain for casinos. What happens to all those nickels, dimes and quarters once you’ve cashed out your chips? They pile up in vats under the casino cage. But what about if you don’t have $25 worth of chips at the end of the night?
This idea came to me after watching my friend blow almost his entire $100 bill on quarters in one session of video poker at Circus Circus. He had to ask a casino employee for help counting out his change, which was a mixture of $1, $5 and $10 bills.
It got us wondering: Can casinos take loose change? There are a few casinos that still take coins.
A Brief History of Loose Change in Casinos
Casinos are full of change. It’s no secret that gamblers often have to sift through their pockets while they’re cashing out in order to find the right amount of coins for a cashier.
The problem with all this loose change is that it’s hard to control, it gets picked up by gamblers and floor attendants and it can be lost or stolen easily. Casinos started using coin counting machines to solve the problem of finding the right amount of change for gamble-happy customers.
But those machines don’t get rid of the loose change altogether. They just make it easier for casino employees to handle the coins instead of having piles and piles everywhere.
Why Can’t Casinos Take Loose Change?
Casinos have to keep meticulous track of their chips and coins in order to settle up at the end of the night. Imagine if they started accepting loose change as alternate payment for games like slots or poker. It would be a mess for the casino — not to mention a major headache for their employees.
Casinos, like most businesses, have a set conversion from cash to chips in place. For instance, $1 is worth two chips. That means that someone with $1 will get two chips from the casino and someone with $5 will get ten chips from the same casino and so on.
But what happens when someone walks into a casino without any money? They can’t use loose change as an alternate form of payment because it would throw off their conversion rates. They also don’t want people gaming with coins that belong in the vats because they wouldn’t know who put them there — it could be anyone.
Why Loose Change is a Problem for Casinos
Casinos face a unique problem with loose change, which is that they collect so much of it. Casinos are always looking for ways to get rid of their loose change. The most common method is to roll all the coins up into rolls and sell them in bulk to coin collectors.
However, this process can be time-consuming, and casinos have started to use machines that automatically count the coins for them. But there’s still the problem about those people who don’t have enough money on them to play any games or gamble at all.
If these people wanted to convert their loose change into tokens, there should be an easy way for them to do it. But as of now there isn’t one. These people might end up wandering around playing games and not spending any money at all, even though they came in with some amount of money on them.
An alternate form of payment for games?
One idea that came to us was about an alternate form of payment for games. For example, if you come in with $5 but don’t have any tokens, the casino might charge you a dollar at the door and give you five tokens as change.
Casinos could take your loose change and turn it into tokens for games. Sure, it would be inconvenient to not have enough cash on hand, but people could then play 25¢ versions of slots or penny video poker.
It would also encourage people to spend more time gambling in the casino given they can find a way to get their hands on free tokens at the door.
One Solution: Require a Deposit to Play Games
One solution to this problem is requiring a deposit to play games. Casinos will take your coins, nickels, dimes and quarters in exchange for tokens of equal value.
This means that if you had $10 worth of coins on you and wanted to play the slots, you would need to have at least $10 worth of tokens in your account before playing.
Once you’re done playing, you would cash out with the casino desk and get your original stack of coins back.
Another Solution: Accept Credit Cards and Tokens
The best solution for casinos would be to accept credit cards and tokens. A major deterrent for people who want to gamble at a casino is that they don’t have cash on them. It’s easy enough to whip out a credit card, especially if you’ve got one built right into your phone (thanks Apple Pay).
But most casinos only take cash. Tokens are another option, but they can be problematic because they have a limited life span — they expire after a day or two of not being used by the player. If the player doesn’t play again, the token becomes worthless.
Another issue with tokens is that they’re pretty inconvenient when you want to split your winnings between multiple people in your group. Credit cards are more practical than either of those options because there are no restrictions on when you can use them or how many people can use them at once.
They’re also safer than carrying cash around in public and make it easy for players to keep track of their winnings from multiple games.
Another Solution: Loose Change Lockers
It’s difficult to walk into a casino without some loose change. Casinos across the world are looking for ways to handle all the coins they accumulate. One solution is to offer customers lockers where they can store their change until they need it again.
In fact, the Bellagio in Las Vegas already offers these lockers. In addition, casinos encourage people to donate their loose change by placing donation jars near cashiers and at slot machines and tables.
The money collected from these jars is given to local charities like the Red Cross or Salvation Army. As for my friend with his $100 bill of quarters, he took our advice and converted his money into chips instead. Keeping his loose change would have been a better idea.
Why wouldn’t casinos want your loose change?
Casinos don’t want your change. And they don’t want you to use it as an alternate form of payment for bets at the table either. Casinos make a lot of their money from slot machines, and this is one way they do that. You insert a coin into a slot machine, push a button and see if you win.
One coin equals one chance to win, so the casino makes money when you lose. When you have loose change in your pocket, it starts to work like cash in a slot machine: 1% of nickels is worth $0.05; 1% of dimes is worth $0.10; and 1% of quarters is worth $0.25.
When I calculated how much my friend lost on his video poker session using loose change instead of coins, I found he would have had to play 5 times longer than he actually did just to break even on the game.
Loose Change as a Token
Casinos make a lot of their money off the small bets of people playing slots and table games. The problem for casinos is that when you’re sitting at a slot machine, it’s almost impossible to trade your change for tokens.
And if you have a bunch of coins or pocket lint from the casino, it can be hard to take it all with you because most casinos don’t allow metal or plastic containers into their establishments. So what would happen if we were able to convert loose change (or any type of currency) into tokens?
This would be an interesting idea for casinos because it would keep players engaged in the casino floor longer, which means they might spend more money overall. If this idea were implemented, I can imagine players will only need to exchange as much money as they plan on spending.
For instance, if someone walks in with $20 and wants to play video poker, they could walk up to an employee and ask them how many quarters they need to trade in order to get $5 in tokens. This system also has the potential to give players who are short on cash another option for gambling—and maybe even win some money back.
They would then use those tokens for betting on any game after getting them converted back into cash at the end of the night.
The Problem With Loose Change
Casinos deal with a lot of loose change, especially when it’s spilling out of the machines and onto the carpet.
And while slot machines are pretty good about spitting out nickels, dimes, and quarters as you need them, table games are more generous: if you’re playing two hands of blackjack at once, they might give you a whole $25 in chips to work with.
This raises an interesting question: what happens to all those nickels, dimes and quarters once you’ve cashed out your chips? They pile up in vats under the casino cage. As any casino employee will tell you, they spend their days constantly sweeping nickels off the floor.
How to Turn Your Loose Change Into Real Money
You may be surprised to learn that it is possible to exchange your loose change for real money. All you need to do is visit one of the many coin-counting machines available in casinos. There are two types of machines you can use to count your change.
The first type is like an ATM that accepts quarters, dimes, nickels, and pennies. The other is more like a kiosk that allows you to dump your loose change into a hopper that counts it and gives you a printout with the total.
The first type of machine is convenient but can be slow if there is a line. The second type is faster but requires you to dump your loose change. You can also count your loose change manually, but it will take a lot of time and effort.
You will need to tally up all your coins and then tally the totals. Many people have tried this, but it can be very time consuming and tedious. You also need to make sure that you didn’t accidentally miss any change.
Related Article: Can you go to the casino with a paper license?
Let’s say you have $5 in quarters, $2 in dimes, $1.50 in nickels, and $0.50 in pennies. You would take these five coins and put them in a Coin Out slot inside a casino. Press the button to select how much you want to exchange your five coins for.
You might decide to exchange your $5 in quarters for $2 in cash. This would allow you to have the $2 in cash while still keeping the $5 in quarters. But you might decide to go a different route by exchanging your $5 in quarters for $3 in tokens.
You could then use the $3 in tokens to play a few games and hopefully win more tokens or even more money. If you want to exchange your $2 in dimes for cash, you would press the $2 button. If you want to exchange your $1.50 in nickels for $1 in cash, you would press the $1.50 button.
And if you want to exchange your $0.50 in pennies for $0.05 in cash, you would press the $0.50 button.
Let’s say you want to convert your $3 in tokens into cash. You would take your tokens to the Coin In machine inside the casino and press the button to exchange them for cash.
The machine will then ask you if you want to exchange all $3 in tokens for $3 in cash or if you would like to exchange some or all of the tokens for tokens of a different denomination.
You may decide that you want to exchange all of your $3 in tokens for $3 in cash. Or you could press the $3 button and exchange $1 in tokens for $2 in cash. Or you could exchange $0.50 in tokens for $1 in cash.
Let’s say you have $5 in nickels and $3 in dimes. You would take these two coins and put them in a Coin Exchange machine inside the casino. Press the button to select how much you want to exchange your two coins for.
You would then choose whether you want to exchange all $5 in nickels for $5 in dimes or all $3 in dimes for $3 in nickels.
You might decide to exchange all of your nickels for dimes. Or you could exchange $2 in nickels for $2 in dimes. Or you could exchange $0.50 in nickels for $0.50 in dimes.
How to Turn Your Loose Change Into Travel Funds
You don’t have to convert your loose change into money to put it towards travel. You can also use it as a gift towards a friend or loved one who is planning a trip. You could take your change and put it in a decorative coin jar.
Then, when your friend or loved one is planning a trip, you could gift them a jar full of coins. When they get home, they could visit a casino and use the change to play games. They could even exchange the coins they win for more travel funds.
Make Your Change Count with Donated Dollars
You don’t have to exchange your loose change for more loose change. You could donate it to a charity as a gift. You could donate $1 in change every day and give it to a charity as a gift.
For example, if you have $500 in loose change, you can donate $1 in change to a charity each day for 50 days. At the end of the 50 days, the total value of your donation will be $500.
You can use this donation to lower your taxes or it might even be the trigger that gets you a free cruise.
What are the benefits of converting loose change into tokens?
Converting your loose change into tokens would be beneficial for the casino. The casino would then have an easier time counting out your chips as well as providing you with coins to use for gaming. It also eliminates the need for most people to carry around cash, which can make it difficult to withdraw money from an ATM machine
How much loose change do people have on them when they walk into a casino?
The average person who walks in has about $2 in their pockets and $3 in their wallet.
What is the average amount of cash a person walks in with?
On average, a person carries about $5 in their pocket and $10 in their wallet.
What is the best way to keep track of my loose change?
The best way to keep track of your loose change is in a special change wallet. A change wallet has a slot that allows you to slide coins into it one at a time.
How often should I clean out my loose change?
You should clean out your loose change whenever you feel like it is getting too full. You can also clean out your change at the end of each year.
When do I need to clean out my loose change?
You should clean out your loose change when it is getting too full. You should also clean out your loose change when you move to a new home.
Casinos have long been a place to lose your loose change. But it’s not just the increase in cost that’s making it difficult for casinos to take your loose change. One solution is to charge a deposit, which would require a player to hand over a high-value token.
Another solution is to accept credit cards, tokens or loose change lockers. No matter which solution is adopted, casinos will be taking more of your money. This is why some experts question why casinos would want your loose change, considering it’s more profitable for them to let you keep it.
Casinos are a place where you can spend your money, whether through loose change or through tokens. If you’re looking for the cheapest way to gamble, it may be worth considering loose change as a form of payment for games. However, there are still some problems with this solution that need to be addressed.