It is indeed smart of the gaming properties to regularly disinfect chips because of the threat of recent Corona virus outbreak, since the chips are found about everywhere on the gaming floors.
The cleaning schedules may prove to be insufficient for checking spreading of deadly Corona virus, because of the huge number of players and dealers touching the chips.
It has been reported in a report by Amandine Gamble, a postdoctoral researcher at UCLA, one of the many scientists who took part in a new revealing study, illustrated the risk of Corona virus’s chances of survival for up to three days on some surfaces.
I think, generally speaking, it is indeed smart to disinfect casino chips frequently”. Gamble told the website.”Based on our results, infectious viruses may survive on inert surfaces for up to several days.
But disinfecting the chips or using disposable chips is not a permanent solution to the problem, as many hands touch these chips every moment.
“The efficiency of these approaches would depend on the frequency at which chips are disinfected or renewed,” Gamble explained. “I am not very familiar with casinos, but I assume that a given chip is likely to encounter several people in a few hours.
“This short-time transfer of chips might already give opportunity to virus transmission, making measures such as chip disinfection or renewal once a day inefficient,” Gamble warned.
The research showed that the corona virus can survive for up to 72 hours on stainless steel or on plastic.
The research does not say about how long Corona virus can survive on materials that were not tested, such as the casino chips, which are made out of clay composite.
Survival of this virus also depends on factors such as temperature and humidity of the room. This indicates whether virus is present there and if yes, what may be the amount of virus present there.
The more viruses were deposited on the chips, the longer viable viruses will be detected,” Gamble said. “It is really difficult to predict for how long chips might be contaminated after contact with an infectious person.
Chip Cleaning Services are busy
Many companies clean chips for casinos. Clay Dubois, the owner of Elite Casino Gaming, told the website that they really have been busier than before. They clean chips for Las Vegas and California gaming properties.
This company uses an ultrasonic process to clean the chips. It works on the materials used to make a chip.
“Typically, clay chips are used at the larger, more casino resort properties,” Dubois said.
“Chips typically are not discarded, no matter what denomination,” Dubois added. “Only when a chip is damaged, will a casino remove it from the gaming floor.”
Luke Orlando, the product specialist and developer of the chip cleaning machine, agreed that his company has also been busier since the outbreak of this infection.
“We use a specially designed machine, similar to a dishwasher, and specially designed racks that clean 1,120 chips in 2.5 minutes,” Orlando told the website. He said that higher denomination chips and those which include an electronic chip for tracking can also be cleaned.
“We clean 43mm chips or the higher denominations as well with our 43mm rack,” Orlando said. “Any chip that has RFID [technology] is usually not discarded, and we can clean them without harming that chip.”
But all the chips are not typically cleaned and some may not be cleaned at all. Casinos “usually clean their chips two-four times a year,” Orlando revealed, based on his industry experience. “There have been a decent amount of casinos that just throw away dirty chips and buy new once they are too dirty. I have been told that several times.”
In fact, Scott Morrow, a lecturer at UNLV who worked with the gaming sector for decades, including at Station Casinos, recently told the Las Vegas Review Journal thar casinos do not clean chips “Often enough. I have worked in operations where the chips were never cleaned in 20 30 years.
Brian Hedlund, a microbiologist of UNLV and UNLV students were engaged by Bluff Magazine fifteen years ago. They were to test poker chips from five casinos and it was found that they were full of Staphylococcus.
It was found that there were between a few hundred to five thousand bacteria per chip.
Only one casino had very low level of bacteria on their chips.
The US currency is made of cotton fiber paper. Bankrate reported that in China, the Central bank is working on disinfecting their currency. They are also destroying the currency which is expected to carry the Corona virus infection. This path is not yet taken by the US Federal Reserve.
“The Federal Reserve is in close contact with the CDC, Centers for Disease Control to ensure we are aware of the latest thinking on how COVID-19 spreads,” a spokesperson from the Fed told Bankrate. “Currently, the CDC has determined that COVID-19 spreads mainly through person-to-person contact.”
Amandine Gamble has recommended Social Distancing to avoid the risk of contracting Corona virus. She also recommended thorough hand washing or using hand sanitizers to clean the hands.
The US Casinos have intensified their cleaning efforts. They are cleaning shredded cards. Some of them are closing temporarily as some of their workers have tested positive for the Corona virus.