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Dutch Casino Operator Bets on RFID Chips

Casino supplies manufacturer Gaming Partners International (GPI) today announced a major order for its RFID gaming chips. The company will sell 950,000 chips to Holland Casino in a transaction valued at 1,850,000 euros, or approximately US $2.45 million.
Dec 08, 2006This article was originally published by RFID Update.

December 8, 2006—Casino supplies manufacturer Gaming Partners International (GPI) today announced a major order for its RFID gaming chips. The company will sell 950,000 chips to Holland Casino in a transaction valued at 1,850,000 euros, or approximately US $2.45 million.

As the only legal casino operator in the country, Holland Casino has 14 casinos located across the Netherlands. The company has a 30-year relationship with GPI and decided to make the nearly one million-chip purchase in order to achieve improved chip security and decreased fraud.

The chips' denominations range from 2 to 500 euros. The RFID chips (not all are RFID) are GPI's Hitag Vegas-S model which operate at 125 KHz, also referred to as low frequency or LF. They will be manufactured by GPI's SAS subsidiary in Beaune, France, and are slated for delivery before the end of the year.

GPI has established itself as one of the leading RFID casino chip providers in the world. In its third quarter financial results bulletin distributed last month, the company reiterated its expectation to sell $16 million worth of the chips this year, three times the amount it sold in 2005. "Looking ahead, we remain encouraged by the opportunities in the RFID space, as demand for our next generation casino currency solutions is continuing to build," said GPI president and CEO Gerard Charlier according to a quote in the bulletin. "RFID technology is still in its infancy particularly in the US and expected to be a significant growth driver for GPI going forward."

Such optimism notwithstanding, the company has run into costly difficulties manufacturing the technology in high volumes, difficulties which caused a decline in gross profit margins last quarter. Such hiccups serve as a reminder that chip-tagging is still a very new application of RFID.

But as in the supply chain, widespread RFID adoption across the gambling industry is a likely eventuality that will come with maturation of the technology and falling prices. At least that's what GPI's Charlier expects: "We believe that within the next 10 years, RFID embedded casino currency will be the norm around the world, and that casinos will look back on the time before RFID as the dark ages of player tracking and anti-fraud efforts."

Read the announcement from Gaming Partners International
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