If you need chips for that high-stakes poker game in Las Vegas, better bring cash. Nevada laws prohibit the purchase of gambling chips with a credit card, says Gary Thompson, spokesman for Caesars Entertainment Corp., which owns, operates or manages casinos in 13 states and seven countries.
Other states have their own regulations regarding gambling restrictions, says Brian Lehman, spokesman at the American Gaming Association.
However, state laws may be moot. Discover and American Express ban the practice of buying casino chips with their cards, representatives from both companies said. Buying gambling chips on a credit card is also a violation of the contracts that Caesars has with Visa and MasterCard, says Thompson. Neither Visa nor MasterCard responded to confirm.
However, credit cards do allow cash advances from ATMs that can, in turn, be used to buy gambling chips. That's an even more expensive way to gamble because most credit cards charge interest on cash advances immediately after the advance is issued. Normally you are charged an ATM fee from your bank and the entity that owns the ATM. With a cash advance, you incur those charges plus immediately start accruing interest charges on the cash advance. The average cash advance annual percentage rate runs between 18 percent and 20 percent, according to Bankrate's weekly survey of interest rates.