Fake Gaming Chips Passed at Vegas Casinos Lead to Arrest

Posted on: April 20, 2024, 08:08h. 

Last updated on: April 20, 2024, 08:08h.

A 54-year-old man was apprehended by police recently on some 14 charges linked to the use of fraudulent gambling chips at at least three Las Vegas gaming properties.

The Cosmopolitan
The Cosmopolitan, pictured above. The Las Vegas casino alerted authorities after a fake gaming chip was presented. (Image: Trivago)

Earlier this month, Gratis Woolen, Jr., was arrested for burglary, possession of unlawful instruments, and other counts, according to Las Vegas TV station KLAS.

Woolen allegedly took part in an unrelated April 10 incident in a Las Vegas Strip motel. Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) officers arrested him for the disturbance, according to KLAS.

Upon doing a background check, officers said they realized he had a warrant out for his arrest associated with the illicit chips.

He appeared in local court and was released after posting $1K bond. Clark County judge Melissa Stratton required him to be put on an electronic monitoring device. He’s scheduled to return to court on Thursday.

Casinos Discover Fake Chips

The investigation began in January 2023 when a worker at Harrah’s Las Vegas Hotel and Casino alerted the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB). A female player had used a fake chip at the gaming property.

Concurrently, an employee at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas also alerted the NGCB about someone else using fake $100 chips at that casino. That suspect turned out to be Woolen, KLAS reported.

He allegedly cashed in the fraudulent chips for money at the casino’s cashier’s cage.

Stickers Were Peeling

When inspecting the chips, a NGCB staff member noticed that they had a Golden Gate gaming property sticker attached.

“Some of the Golden Gate … stickers were peeling, which revealed a solid black face underneath the sticker,” a NGCB employee stated in a report.

The chips were easily identified as counterfeit, as legitimate chips are a solid piece of ceramic without external decorations, such as stickers and paint.”

Further investigation revealed “inserts of the counterfeit chips were off… and also had an abnormal ‘bump’ underneath,” KLAS reported from the commission investigation.

In addition, in still another incident, a cashier at the Linq Hotel + Experience inspected a chip presented at that Las Vegas gaming property by the unnamed woman.

It “did not look like a good chip,” the cashier told NGCB investigators. She turned it over to a casino manager. He looked at it and told her to tell the person who presented it, to return it to the Golden Gate.

It remains unclear if the chips were manufactured by Woolen or if he acquired them from another source, KLAS reported.

The female suspect has yet to be charged, according to initial news reports. Police didn’t name her.