Did you know that churches in Las Vegas accept gambling chips? Some members of the congregation drop in the chips when the collection is taken. This is not unusual in the gambling mad city.
The tokens come from many different casinos and are sent to a Franciscan monastery to be sorted before being cashed in. This is done, of course, by chip monks.
That rather silly story, that I received as an email this week, has been circulating on the internet for the last 10 years but is actually based in fact.
The myth-buster website Snopes.com says gambling chips in the city are often used for tipping taxi drivers, waiters and waitresses, and are also given as donations to charity or to religious organisations, and turn up in the collection plates of churches in the city. When the churches have collected a reasonable amount, someone is designated to cash them in at the relevant casinos.
“It is true that one church in Las Vegas, the Shrine of the Most Holy Redeemer, once had a Franciscan friar on staff, who made the rounds of casino cages and thus, in the fashion of the joke, he was dubbed, ‘the chip monk’.
Employees tasked with handling chip redemptions at various Las Vegas-area churches are sometimes also referred to as ‘chip monks’ in furtherance of the joke.”
It’s a bit like the monastery near Whitby that became a tourist attraction when it opened a fish and chip shop run by Brother Mark and Brother John. One is the fish fryer and the other is the chip monk.