I was looking around stack exchange today and ran into this post over in personal finances and money. tax on gambling winning with social security number The op had a friend whom cashed out a 100K ticket for a stranger using his own SS# in exchange for 20K.

This got me thinking:

In the poker room there are lots of little hustles like this. One of them is to sell large chips at discount prices to avoid cashing it out themselves. Why not is the question?

  • If it sounds too good to be true ..
    – Mawg
    Feb 13, 2018 at 11:07
  • On that link the wording is odd but I don't think the transaction has happened.
    – paparazzo
    Feb 13, 2018 at 14:15
  • The OP said it happened 4 months ago down in comments on my anonymous reply. (JW from Las Vegas)
    – Jon
    Feb 13, 2018 at 21:03

2 Answers 2


A hustle is really easy to spot, someone you don't know very well or at all will ask you to do something involving money. Usually something involving a little easy money for you.

In the case of the player trying to sell a large chip at a slight discount, or sports ticket, or slot ticket or any gaming instrument of value, there are many things that can go wrong for you if you take them up on the offer. The bigger the transaction is, the more likely things can go wrong and the more severe can be the consequence.

Things that can go wrong if:(I mean extremely wrong)

The chip is stolen. All large chips for sometime now have RFID chips in them. If you take a hot chip to the cage you are going to need to explain where that chip came from. If that chip was stolen in a violent manner, you may be asked many more questions then you can answer. You really have no way to know if that token was obtained in a legitimate manner if you got it from a stranger. And law enforcement is not going to easily dismiss your possession of something as being evidence that you were involved in the crime.

That player might be involved in a criminal enterprise that is laundering money. Actually selling a chip like this, to avoid a cash transaction with the casino, by definition is laundering, so by participating in it you have technically participated in a crime.

The first sign that someone is trying to hustle you is that they are offering some kind of gaming token at discount. There is no good reason for someone to not be able to cash out a gaming token if the token is legitimate. Someone making this kind of offer is trying to avoid something, like taxes or legal liability because the token is *found or stolen. If you take the person up on the offer, you become an accessory to whatever the reason is. You might be getting sandbagged, but your not going to get to play innocent victim safely.

*I mentioned found things. It is really not a good ideal to try and cash anything like large chips, slot tickets, sports tickets etc. that you may have found someplace. Your better off just turning them into lost and found (usually security) and take the upside of them being returned to you if no one claims them. In the casino this is not unwise to do with even cash. You don't know the source of anything you found and if it is stolen you have a problem. Slot tickets are often associated with the person whom had the slot card in the machine. Some place will press charges if you take a ticket out of machine that does not belong to you. I do not know what other things are tracked in this manner, but why find this out the hard way? Just never take anybody up on an offer of this kind. Even if your handicapped grandmother makes you this kind of offer, counter offer with I will push you to the cage.

  • If you look on ebay they sell what appear to be real chips. If the chips are NOT obtained illegally are you sure it is still money laundering.
    – paparazzo
    Feb 13, 2018 at 16:16
  • If I missed something (only ran a couple pages) let me know. All I saw there where collectibles, none of them were priced below the face value, and they were all available in a retail environment. I suggest you watch Breaking Bad, they have a great episode where Saul explains laundering to Jesse.
    – Jon
    Feb 13, 2018 at 20:29
  • The definition of money laundering is from illegal activities. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Money_laundering Just asking if you are sure selling a clean (legal) chip is money laundering.
    – paparazzo
    Feb 14, 2018 at 0:22

I am not a lawyer but I am not convinced it is illegal if the chip was obtained legally. I am paying tax on the chip when I cash so I am not evading taxes. If the seller is not reporting that cash as income that is between them and the IRS.

I got this opinion on law SE.

Say your tax rate is 30%. If they discount 30% you are even. Ask for a 40% discount. Yes it could be stolen or fake so assess the risk.

If you lose the money you are ahead 40%. If you win you are ahead 10%. All you have to do is get the chip on the table. After that it cannot really be traced back to you. When you cash even if the chip had come back to you you can say it came off the table and that is out of my control.

Or tell them you will not pay out until it is cashed. If it is stolen or fake they are not going to hang around. They have no incentive to get you to cash an illegal chip.

  • Nothing is illegal until you get caught. Just saying if you get involved in some kind of transaction where something is shady, you expose yourself to risk.
    – Jon
    Feb 14, 2018 at 21:47
  • @Jon Buying a used car is a risk.
    – paparazzo
    Feb 14, 2018 at 21:52
  • Does not really matter that one makes a profit or not. If the simple fact is the person is trying to get you to cash out something so they avoid taxes(IE laundering), and one accommodates them by cashing the chip, their an accessory to whatever that guy is up to.
    – Jon
    Feb 14, 2018 at 22:32
  • @jon I don't agree.
    – paparazzo
    Feb 14, 2018 at 23:01
  • Things don't work like that. What are you special, so people don't get to respond to your posts? You post a non-answer that is just an (incorrect) opinion, you don't get to dismiss it as we disagree.
    – Jon
    Feb 15, 2018 at 0:04

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