Gaming is a harsh mistress, but coupons can level the playing field. Coupons play a huge role in the life of the savvy gambler. If you play regularly and are looking for a way to even the odds and reduce the non-gaming costs that come along with the gambling lifestyle, while comps can certainly be helpful, coupons can be far more powerful.
Here’s the truth about coupons… Their entire purpose (from the casino’s point of view) is to get you in the door and keep you playing at their casino. Because of this, they’re limited. Getting value out of all available coupons for an entire city takes discipline and a willingness to do a little digging. You’ll have to put in a little extra effort to get your freebies and use them.
Las Vegas is the reigning king of the gaming universe, and as such, it has some of the most extensive, robust coupon programs around. Let’s dive into what Las Vegas offers the savvy gambler in terms of coupons and how you can take advantage to get the most out of the Sin City.
1 – Players Clubs
Most casinos have what’s called a “players club.” Think of this much like a rewards program for any other business (because that’s what it is). The goal of any rewards program is simple. Give someone who is buying in volume a bit of a discount (usually in the form of something free), and they’ll feel more loyal to your company and keep buying.
Casinos do the same thing.
While the out-of-towners who wander in drunk and in party mode are going to empty their pockets quickly and leave far too early, it’s the regular players—especially locals—who are keeping the lights on. Players clubs cater to this type of player—the person who views this as a hobby, not a curiosity.
Players clubs rewards work similarly to many rewards programs you’re probably familiar with. What makes players clubs so valuable is that, in many cases, you get a sign-up bonus. Just like, for example, an American Airlines credit card might give you 50,000 miles after signing up, a players club will give you a set number of rewards points just for creating an account.
Once you’ve signed up, you more or less get points for every game you play, whether you’re at a table or at a slot machine. As these points accumulate over time, you can use them for all kinds of rewards, from rates on rooms (or even free rooms), food, shows, and more.
Something that most people don’t think about when it comes to players clubs is the fact that they make you seem like a much more serious player in the eyes of the folks who can give out casino comps (the pit bosses). It’s not going to win them over by itself, but if you’re playing a lot, coming in regularly, spending decent money, and you’re a dedicated member of their players club, they’ll be more likely to reward your request for a comp in a way that makes everybody happy.
Players clubs can be found at most major casinos and every players club will have a sign-up bonus of some sort, and every players club is going to give you its own unique rewards. The real value here is in going around town, signing up for all the players clubs, and using that sign-up bonus as fast as you can.
2 – LVA Membership
Las Vegas Advisor gives out some incredible coupons each year when you become a member and sign up for their Member Rewards Book. From buffets and dining, to gaming bonuses, entertainment, rides and attractions, and even spas, this thing has it all.
The sign-up fee is negligible (less than $40), an amount you’ll earn back quickly if you’re taking regular advantage of what the membership has to offer.
The true value to the membership comes not in the free food and entertainment, but in the gaming bonuses. You’ll find two major types of gaming bonuses in your membership, free play and match play. These bonuses often require that you join the players club offering the coupon, but not always.
The difference between the two is straight forward. Free play allows you to play designated games or slots for free for a set amount. You may need to earn a certain number of points on the casino’s players club reward system within a set period of time to redeem the coupon, or you may not.
Match play works in a similar fashion. You may or may not need to join the players club to use it. You present the coupon on any table game where you’ve bet a certain amount (depending on the coupon) and if you win, you get paid back double. The big drawback of match play is that the coupon is used up whether you win or lose.
3 – More Than Just Gaming
Though I’ve focused mostly on gaming rewards up to this point, don’t forget that most casinos exist in a destination. Las Vegas is fun for the whole family, and the whole family generally can’t spend all day gaming.
Vegas understands this. That’s why you see so much else everywhere you go. There’s shopping, dining, high-level entertainment, outdoor events, spa packages, and so much more. Vegas is an experience; they don’t mind if you don’t spend your money at the tables as long as you spend your money somewhere.
And just like every tourist town in the world, the prices are jacked up sky high for most entertainment. Fortunately, there are tons of coupons available to the savvy player who’s brought along the family and wants to save on entertainment expenses.
Your first stop should be vegas4locals.com if you’re not a local. They have coupons for shows, dining and nightlife, tours and attractions, hotels, shopping, spas, and even weddings.
What’s really great about vegas4locals.com is their target—it’s not you. It’s the person who lives in Vegas and is tired of paying tourist rates for stuff they buy all the time. Living in Vegas is expensive. The last thing you want to do is pay Vegas prices year-round. Use the same tools the locals use to save money on the non-gaming expenses of your trip, and you’ll go home with a little more money than you’d planned.
4 – Las Vegas Fun Books
Just like all casinos have their own players clubs, they also all have their own “fun books.” A fun book is often included with a players club membership, but not always. You may need to ask the players club agent for it if you don’t get one when you sign up. You likely will also get a fun book if you’re staying in one of the big casinos. If you don’t, you’ll want to flag down a concierge and ask.
Your fun book is just another coupon book, but you’re likely to get some more free play coupons out of it for the individual hotel, and you’re also likely to get deeper discounts on restaurants and shows specific to that hotel. These things are so valuable that you’ll often find people handing them out along the Strip (and hoping for a tip in exchange).
Technically, you can get your fun books online if you really feel like you need them now, but it’s not really worth the cost. Just grab them when you get there and as you move around from one casino to the other.
5 – Discount Cards
While coupons are great, one of the big drawbacks is the need to constantly get them out, search for the right coupon, and hand it over. They’re also pretty random. You might save some money here and there, but not in a regulated way. You’ll have to put in a bit more effort to use them.
Because they’re charging for these things, most of the sellers understand that there has to be a higher value than what you’re getting at a players club or through your fun book.
What that means is that you’re going to be able to use your discount card all over the place. They also tend to be targeted toward certain types of activities. For example, there are some discount cards you can use at virtually every restaurant at the Strip. There are others that are meant to be used only at rides and attractions and allow you to skip the line and get in quicker.
If you’ve got the whole family on board for the adventure, consider buying a discount card (to save on food, if nothing else). You’ll be glad you did.
Las Vegas will never be free, but it doesn’t have to break your bank every time you go. Spend the extra time getting to know the coupons available to you. Whether you’re going by yourself or with a small group of friends and gaming is the main goal, or whether you’ve got the whole family in tow and you’re going to be eating a lot and seeing a lot of attractions, there are coupons for everyone and a way to ensure you can still go home with a little cash in your pocket.