Adding UV Security to Key West Chips - testing! (1 Viewer)


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Mar 26, 2013
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Wilmington, DE
For the past few weeks, I've been testing various ultraviolet inks and methods to apply a safe, permanent UV security symbol on Key West Resort & Casino chips.

With a stock of over 10,000 chips, I think it would be a nice feature that would add value to the Key West's chips, and if we can accomplish this, I can offer the option to add your own, unique security mark to the inlays of chips you buy, effectively permanently identifying your chips among all Key Wests. If they're ever stolen, the mark would be as good as a serial number on the chip.

The start:

Around two weeks ago, I began ordering UV inks and attempting to apply them to the vinyl inlays of some test Key West chips to see if I could create a stable, consistent image on the chip that would be clear and recognizable. I tried to stencil an image on with a UV pen, but the tips of most pens were too wide for this.

Next, I tried a rubber stamp. Using an old rubber stamp kit, I added some UV ink and it worked!

Right now, we're trying various UV inks. The goal is to find an ink that is:

  • safe and non-toxic
  • completely invisible in normal light
  • glows blue under UV light
  • won't smear, wipe off, or wash off the chip

The image:

John at J5 Design, who created the original Key West design, made the stamp image for us.

A custom "palm tree" stamp has been ordered from a local stamp shop and should arrive in a few days. Here's the stamp image, in relief. (It will be invisible on the chip and glow blue under UV light:

And here is a mock-up of the image on the chip. It's what you would see under UV light. (Note the blue extra palm to the right of the denomination.):

Chip with UV.jpg

We'll be doing more tests when the final stamp is ready, just to make sure the image is invisible, clean, consistent, and won't wash off easily. We're only using non-toxic, environmentally safe inks for this, so if they work, we're good. If not, we'll look at other options or ideas.
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Very cool idea Dennis! If you need a custom rubber stamp please let me know. I can produce those stamps as well...
Nice feature! Will ink kits be available for those who already have Key West chips?

Sent from my Galaxy Note 3
Nice feature! Will ink kits be available for those who already have Key West chips?

Sent from my Galaxy Note 3

Oops! I forgot to mention this...

Kits for those who already have Key West chips:

Yes. If we get this to work, we'll create probably three (3) complete kits. One will stay in my office. Two will go out to owners of Key West chips upon request so they can place the UV security on their own chips, if they like.

Each kit will contain:

  • The custom Key West palm tree rubber stamp
  • A UV ink pad or small (1 oz) bottle of ink and dry pad.
  • Instructions on placement of the marking
  • A small UV light

If you request a kit, you would, of course, agree to ship it back to me, or to the next person who needs it.


I think we should consider exactly which denominations should get the marking. I'm thinking the fractionals, $1 and $2.50 chips can go without. Most real casinos have extra security on $25 and above. Paulson/GPI sometimes does a UV mark on $5 chips and higher.

UV key chain fobs are available from the ink supplier -- tiny and very bright UV bulb.

What if this doesn't work?

There is the possibility that we won't find a suitable ink -- one that is completely safe and reasonably permanent, and won't come off on your hands. (You wouldn't be able to see it anyway, but if the ink isn't safe, non-toxic stuff, I don't want even a tiny amount on the chip, at all.)

What I am hearing so far from industry professionals is that absolutely permanent ink is solvent-based, and isn't recommended for contact with human skin. Water-based UV ink is safe enough to drink, so you could put the chip in your mouth -- something that's not recommended anyway -- but isn't absolutely permanent.

We're trying to find an ink that won't wash off or wear off with normal use, and is completely safe, non-toxic and made from known ingredients. (It may not last forever, but should be long-lasting with normal use.)

I will double-check on the claims of the ink manufacturers

Part of the testing here is to take the ingredient list to an old friend -- the best man at my wedding and frankly, the smartest guy I know. He's a PhD chemist and cancer researcher. I'll ask the good doctor to look at the ingredients, and tell me if he'd be ok handling the chips, or allowing his kids to handle them. If he says, "No," the ink is nixed and we move on.

Unique markings for each owner's own set of Key Wests

This project opens the door to adding your own, unique UV marking to your chips. If we successfully add a standard UV mark to the chips, we'll provide Key West chip owners with our ink supplier's information. They could have their own custom stamp made -- their initials, their own favorite figure, etc., and add a second "custom" UV mark on the other side of the denomination.

The combination of the standard UV security mark and their custom UV security mark would effectively identify chips from their chip set, if they are ever stolen.

Other options:

If we can't get UV markings on the chips that are safe, won't rub off and are reasonably permanent, we have other options available to uniquely mark the chips. Another option, if UV marking fails, is to consider the security symbol imprinted with water mark ink on the chip. If it takes to the material, we'd basically have a tiny background image that's barely visible on the chip -- probably not visible until you really look for it. It would not be eye-catching or noticeable on the chips during play.

That's a possibility to explore if the UV marking effort fails.

What's the idea?

Simple. Adding value to the Key West chips.

Will the price go up?

No. The concept is to create a quick, easy, inexpensive application of the UV mark -- something I could easily do while prepping the chips to go out to customers, or you could do at home in about 10 to 15 minutes minutes per 100 chips, so the price will not go up.

- - - - - - - - - Updated - - - - - - - - -

hippieartworks -- I've seen some of your stuff, and it's fantastic. Thank you for offering to help.

I have a fantastic local print shop that is making the stamps for me right now, but I will almost certainly need a contact in Europe, so people can get the stamp from a source there, rather than shipping it back and forth across the Atlantic.

If the ink tests work, I will be in touch with artwork and dimensions and other details to make a stamp that can travel around over there and get shipped back to you when it's not in use, if that works. I would pay you directly to do this, of course.
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