Getting a cheap hotel stay in a major gambling destination might sound like a better question for Hotels.com, but the fact is that the rules change when it comes to staying in a gaming town. Anything is on the table, and everything is up for grabs!
What does that mean? It means that gambling destinations make their money when you gamble. Sure, they make money on entertainment and food; they make money on shows and hotel rooms and everything else, too. But the big money happens when they get you out to the tables with a couple of drinks under your belt.
They want you to have a good time, and they’re very willing to smooth out the path that leads you there in the first place. They’re aware that getting you there is half the battle, that once they’ve got you at the tables, any discounts they gave you are going to more than make up for themselves.
So, here’s how you can save some serious bucks on a hotel stay at a popular gambling destination.
The Tried and True – Go During the Week and the Offseason
Anyone who travels regularly will happily tell you that the best time to hop on a flight for a jet-set weekend is the middle of the week (or maybe Sunday). And there’s a reason for that! Low volume travel times tend to have lower prices.
Why? It’s simple economics. When planes are flying mostly empty, airlines are losing money. It’s better to have a butt in a seat at a lower price than no butts at all!
The same can be said for hotels and casinos. Any land based casino worth the name is going to have peak times and low times. And that ebb and flow means you have a number of opportunities to save some dough (and spend more at the tables).
The offseasons vary from month to month, year to year, and destination to destination, but it doesn’t take much research to figure out when your destination of choice is going to be booming and when it will be a ghost town.
And if you stay during a weekday during the offseason? You’re going to save even more.
Comps for the Win
In Vegas (and many other gambling destinations), everything is up for grabs and on the table. The #1 goal of any hotel and casino is to get you on the floor (preferably with a drink or two in hand).
They want you to spend, and they want you to spend big, which means that more than a few destinations (Las Vegas anyone?) are going to be happy to comp your drinks, your shows, and even your rooms under certain conditions.
What are those conditions? Well, for one thing, I guarantee you that you’re not getting comped on diddly-squat if you’re making minimum bets and ask for the comp after playing for 20 minutes.
Casino comps are for the big players—people who are spending big and spending long. You also have to make sure that you get noticed making all these bets. If you’re making $50 bets for long periods of time every time the pit boss comes around, you might get noticed, but you might need to be a lot more depending on the location.
Comped rooms aren’t for everyone. Not everyone is comfortable dropping that kind of cash at a table just to save a few hundred bucks on a room. That being said, if you know in advance that you’re going to be spending big money, you might as well take advantage of that fact and try to get your room comped for the night.
Coupons, Coupons, Coupons
Casinos are savvy business owners. They don’t just hand out cheap hotel stays left and right because they’re dumb and have no problem hemorrhaging money.
They do it because they know that a sucker is born every minute, and that all they need to do is get you in town and on the floor to make back whatever money they lose by giving you coupons.
That being said, there are tons of coupons available—both online and once you’ve got boots on the ground—that can save you money on all kinds of things, including shows, drinks, food, and more.
“More,” meaning “hotels.”
Start by looking online. Depending on your destination, you’re likely to find a variety of coupons available to the savvy gambler who’s looking for a discount on a room.
Las Vegas Advisor is a good place to start. Though they do charge for their yearly coupon book, you’ll more than make that money back if you spend a few days in Vegas and take advantage of what they have to offer. Many of their coupons can be used all over the city.
Another great source of coupons is vegas4locals.com. These coupons don’t cost you a dime, and they can be used for a huge variety of discounts that go beyond discounts on a room.
Finally, consider joining a players Club. What I like about players clubs is that they are essentially the same as getting something comped. Play a certain number of games, earn a certain number of points, and you can get discounts on, among other things, a room.
Remember, the casino doesn’t give a darn about the cost of a hotel room if you are dropping a grand a night at the tables. If you’re a serious gambler and know that you’re going to be spending a lot, give the casinos a call and ask them what kind of coupons they have available for someone who plans on spending a lot.
You’ll find that a lot of hotels and casinos are happy to hand out discounts for people who purchase travel packages. One of the advantages of getting a package deal is that you often get free show tickets or discounts on spa visits, drinks, food, and more in addition to saving a little bit of dough on the hotel itself.
Something to keep in mind while you’re there—if you’ve been spending big during your entire stay, it’s definitely worth your time to ask the concierge on the way back home if they have any discounts or deals for returning customers.
Casinos realize that someone who has already had a grand time at their hotel is more likely to come back than a brand-new customer. They’ll be happy to offer you a deal if it means repeat business.
Hotel Rewards Programs
While players clubs are an excellent option for the big gambler, most people aren’t going to fall into that category. Nevertheless, there are ways for the average person who might not gamble much during their stay to save on a hotel.
Sure, you might have to drive each night and pay for parking (or get an Uber), but if that keeps you from gambling every night because of the hassle (and gets you out and about the town to see the sights), you’ll probably save a lot more money in the long run.
Join the Email List of All the Casinos You Can
When numbers are down or the offseason is coming up, a lot of casinos will start spamming their email lists with discounts, promotions, and deals for anyone who is willing to come on down and help them push their profits for the year into the black.
These promotions change from month to month and year to year, so you’ll have to be a little more flexible with your vacation and willing to go when it’s not ideal travel time if you want to take advantage of these promotions. But hotels will push promotions right before peak occupancy times because they know they need to start the year off right and get people through the doors.
Casinos love a big gambler more than anything else, and no one gambles more than real money slots players.
If you want to get those comps rolling in and get big offers in your email inbox year after year, the best thing you can do is spend as much time as possible on a slot machine.
Casinos figure out who gets comps and who doesn’t based on time at the tables or time on slot machines. But slot machines are really easy for a casino to track because they’re electronic.
Instead of having to bug a pit boss and hope they’re paying attention when you’re spending big, a slot machine is going to be monitored. They’re looking to see how much time you’re spending on the machine and how much you’re spending per hour.
Why do they care so much about slot machine players? Because the slot machines are only using electricity (instead of an hourly employee they have to pay), and slot machines are optimized to return the least amount of money to you (the player).
You don’t have to play much. Anywhere between $500 and $1,000 a year spent intelligently on a slot machine with maximized time playing can be enough to earn you free trips year after year.
There are tons of ways to get a cheap hotel stay in a gambling destination for the savvy gambler. What are your tips? What methods have you tried that have worked best for you? Tell us in the comments!