Tokens are large metal disks (coins) used mainly to play slot machines. Some casinos use dollar tokens instead of dollar chips at gaming tables as well because they’re much more durable than chips and the life expectancy of a token is almost indefinite.
The first one-dollar gaming tokens were minted in 1965. Until 1965, all casinos used silver dollars in dollar slot machines and in some table play.
By 1964 the price of silver had increased enough to make silver dollars more valuable than face value. People were taking the silver dollars out of the casinos fasted than the casinos could replenish them.
In 1965, the Nevada Gaming Commission passed a regulation permitting casinos to issue their own dollar tokens.
Harrah’s casino was the first casino to issue their own dollar tokens.
Dollar token production stopped between the years 1970–1978 while Eisenhower Dollars were being minted.
Tokens continued to be minted from 1979 to present.
Most tokens are made of a mixture of nickel, copper, and zinc. Tokens have also been made of Brass, Bronze, Copper, Silver, Sterling Silver, Steel, Aluminum, and Plastic.
There are the only 5 companies who minted tokens during 1965 – 1969. Franklin Mint (the biggest producer of tokens), Osborne Coinage, Wendell’s, Michigan Tool & Engineering, and Product Engineering.
Yes. A popular guide is The List of the World’s Gaming Tokens by Earl Donley.
Earl Donley’s book covers tokens from Casinos in the United States, Foreign Casinos, Riverboats, Indian Casinos, Cruise Ships, as well as Silver Strikes and Promotionals. It lists the casino name, location, the date they were issued, the mint mark, denomination, what they’re made of, and when they were approved. He also gives a very brief description of some of them. The book contains no pictures. His mailing address for ordering the book is: Earl Donley, The Gaming Token List, P.O. Box 80572, Las Vegas, NV 89180. Cost for the book is $35 and he sends updates approximately every three months.
Possibly. Many casinos have already started using machines that no longer use tokens. This coin-less machines issue paper “Pay-out” tickets that can be taken to the cashier and redeemed for cash. It may only be a matter of time before all machines produce pay-out tickets instead of using tokens.