Casino Chips Potential Health Threat During Coronavirus Outbreak

March 22, 2020 John Isaac

With COVID 19 spreading all around the globe, casino chips pose a potential health risk as the number of players and dealers who have touched them on a daily level may make typical cleaning insufficient in terms of spreading this coronavirus.

Chips on a casino table

Casino Chips © Fielperson

Amandine Gamble, a postdoctoral researcher at UCLA, one of several scientists who participated in a recent pioneering study that revealed that coronavirus can live on certain surfaces for up to two to three days, illustrates the possibility.

But cleaning chips or even using disposable chips will only go so far because they are touched by too many people every day.

The studies have shown that coronavirus can live on stainless steel or plastic for up to 72 hours. This will last to 24 hours on cardboard.

He said the researchers are still unable to determine the amount of time the virus would live on materials that were not used in the study. In fact, they have not investigated the life cycle of the virus on casino chips, which are mostly made of clay composite.

The longevity of the virus also depends on certain aspects, such as the room temperature and humidity at which the virus is contained, as well as the amount of virus on a surface.

“This short-time transfer of chips might already give an opportunity to virus transmission, making measures such as chip disinfection or renewal once a day inefficient. The more viruses were deposited on the chips, the longer viable viruses will be detected. It is … really difficult to predict for how long chips might be contaminated after contact with an infectious person” – explained Gamble.

Some Casinos Haven’t Cleaned the Chips in Years

There are several businesses that disinfect casino chips. One of those service providers is Elite Casino Gaming, which cleans chips for casino facilities in Las Vegas and California. The Owner Clay Dubois has stated that they have been busier since the outbreak of COVID 19.     The company clean casino chips via an ultrasonic process. It operates on traditional chip-making materials, such as clay, ceramic or plastic, Dubois explained.

Another one who offers a service of this kind is Luke Orlando who has developed chip cleaning machines at TDN Money Systems. Orlando revealed that his company uses the machine to clean 1120 chips in 2.5 minutes. He even revealed that many casinos usually clean their chips two-four times per year, or they just throw away them and buy new ones. Contrary to that, there are casinos that don’t clean their chips at all.

Money Could Also Spread Coronavirus

Besides casino chips, money is another thing that may be of interest to those concerned about germs in casinos. The US money is composed of paper made from cotton fiber.

Bankrate confirmed that the central bank in China, where coronavirus first appeared, is cleaning currency and doing away with money that could hold the virus, something that the US Federal Reserve hasn’t done yet. But a parallel path is yet to be taken by the US Federal Reserve.

After the coronavirus epidemic, US casinos are increasing their maintenance activities, or take certain measures such as washing or shredding of chips. Some of them got even closed for a certain amount of time as some of the employees were tested positive of COVID 19.

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