Because many players have problems cashing chips but understandably want to remain anonymous to a casino, here’s a brief, general outline of casino procedures in the USA and bigplayer’s comments about their practical effects. bigplayer is a long-time, high-stakes professional player.
$5000 is the typical amount where any cash transaction by even a known customer could trigger a SAR if it is known the customer has more chips that he is holding back from trying to cash. For example, you win $11,000 and have $15,000 in chips, but only cash out $5000. The casino could assume you're structuring and file a SAR on you. The fate of another customer who cashes $3500 but refuses to give ID could depend on that individual casino’s policy. It could, for example, just refuse to cash you out until you complied with the ID request. Other casinos may go ahead and pay you, then file a SAR. $3000 is the point where the casino does start to track your transactions, usually without you knowing it. The cashier may call the eye and the eye will follow you around -- if you try to cash another $3000 on the same day, they will file a SAR on you. If you cash more than 10K, they will file a CTR on you without you even knowing it. Whatever the casino’s "Know your customer" policy on file is, it has a duty to comply with it; it doesn’t have any leeway even though it’s the one who created the policy. This is because the policy is on file with FINCEN and has already been approved.
Generally, if you're under $3000 (sometimes $2500), most casinos will cash you out without hassle. Indian casinos seem to have the widest variance on demanding ID. Some will let you cash $10,000 in chips and never ask you for anything. Others will demand ID for trying to cash as little as seven black chips. Then still, at some casinos if you refuse the higher denomination chips at color-up time and cash $2500 or less, the cashier just forks over the cash with no questions asked.
I'd add, FINCEN gets many thousands of SAR's and CTR's every year. It does not necessarily mean that you owe any taxes if you are the subject of a CTR. In fact, everyone who plays at decent stakes probably should intentionally CTR several times a year at a casino where they are known, or at their bank. It gives you plausible deniability that you aren't trying to structure.
Another thorny issue that can create SAR’s is the ending time of the casino’s gaming day. This is important in many promotions, but merely asking about it may incur a SAR. It’s better to think of the end of a gaming day as a window rather than as a specific, exact time. It is a process that takes a while to adjust to. Even if a casino employee could tell you an exact time for the end of the gaming day, it wouldn't really be all that accurate. Unless you somehow know for sure you're in one day or the other, it's best to count any transaction as residing in both days, with the obvious exception of machine coin-in. I count anything else between 12 midnight and 6 am to have occurred in both days.
Originally published on bj21.com Green Chip, edited for this format.