Royal Flush: Local company’s method for keeping casino chips clean and virus-free

Local News

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Nevada’s economy has reopened and casinos and resorts are shuffling cards again. One local poker chip cleaning company showed 8 News Now how they clean thousands of chips at a time and rid them of potential coronavirus and other deadly viruses and bacteria.

Clay Dubois started Elite Chip Care back in 2018. He said his business model consisted of going to casinos and having them bring the chips back to his crew, where they would clean and re-rack the chips.

“That’s been the business for the past two years until COVID-19 hit,” he said.

He said casinos started reaching out to him about cleaning chips every day. In response, Dubois developed a special chip cleaner he calls the “Pit Manager.”

The cleaning process begins with the chips being loaded into a chip basket designed and patented by Dubois. The basket can hold 640 chips at a time. When it is fully loaded, it is interested into the Pit Manager’s reservoir, filled with hot water and simple dish detergent.

Using ultrasonics, which use microscopic heated bubbles to clean surfaces, the chips go through a 10-minute cycle to remove dirt, grime and bacteria.

“They get into every crack and crevice on the chip and do a very thorough cleaning,” Dubois said. “The system itself does not damage any chips.”

When the cycle is complete, the chips drain while another basket can be prepared and placed into the reservoir.

After the chips drain, Dubois puts the baskets into an oven set to 150 degrees Fahrenheit for several minutes, where most viruses, including coronavirus, are destroyed.

The virus cannot survive temperatures above 56 degrees Celsius, or 132 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the World Health Organization.

Initially designed for use on cruise ships due to its compact size, Dubois said he just sold his first unit to a casino in the San Francisco Bay Area.

“Their casino operations manager, midway through the training, was staring at the unit like pensive, with an almost angry look on his face,” he said. “I was like, ‘Hey Rodger, what’s going on?’ and he says, ‘I’m looking at this system critically, and I can’t see a flaw.”

Dubois said Elite Chip Care has clients both internationally and domestically. He’s done cleanings in Las Vegas at the Silverton Casino, The Venetian, The El Cortez and The Downtown Grand and is in talks with others.

“We’re always open to work with anybody,” he said.

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