The 2017 American Casino Guide (photo by Shmuel Spiegelman)
Every person is looking for value in any purchase they make. For whatever reason, people want a bargain — most of us don't have the luxury of not worrying about the cost of something, so we instinctively look for a way to bypass the retail price.
Gambling is like any other purchase one makes. The buyer wants value for dollars traded. In casino gambling, the product is entertainment. The casino is selling entertainment for a period of time (because the consumer will almost certainly lose money), not all that dissimilar from going to the movies or an amusement park (except that people have hope that they will win money). So this raises the question: How can a gambler extract more value from the gaming experience in the online world and in gaming-centric cities like Las Vegas and Atlantic City?
There are three answers to this question: Coupons, coupons and coupons. Allow me to elaborate.
The world of online casino gaming has become increasingly competitive over the past decade. And because online casinos have no perks in the form of RFB (room, food and beverage) comps, they offer various promotions to entice players to play at their casinos. 888 Casino is one of the most popular online casino companies in the world. There is an entire section of its website dedicated to current promotions for new and returning players. And, like land-based casinos, the more you play and the higher your wagers, the better the personalized offers will be.
Most promotional offers come with stipulations that have a predetermined minimum wagering requirement before a promotional bonus can be withdrawn. The amounts given as a promotional playing bonus vary depending on the online casino and the individual player. There are ways to play these bonuses that extract the maximum mathematical theoretical expected value from them, but they are beyond the scope of this article.
Ever since the real estate collapse in 2008, getting a comp out of a land-based casino has been like pulling teeth — especially those that have endured substantial real estate losses (MGM and Caesars, I'm talking to you here). When players can't convince their host to give them an RFB comp for their play, they need to find other ways to increase the value of their play and purchases. And as we pointed out above, there is a three-part answer, and it is coupons, coupons and coupons.
The most beneficial coupon book for Las Vegas casino resorts (and some Reno properties) belongs to Anthony Curtis's Las Vegas Advisor membership subscription. For $50 and shipping costs, the purchaser receives a membership rewards book and 12 issues (one per month) of the LVA newsletter. In the rewards book, there is a $50 all-purpose comp for the Palms Casino Resort, which means you can use it anywhere in the casino. This pays for the book and the LVA subscription and coupon book.
In addition to the Palms comp, there is a slew of 2-for-1 buffet coupons for buffets at several of the most prestigious casino resorts in Las Vegas, such as a 2-for-1 for The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas's Wicked Spoon Buffet, along with twofers for Cravings at The Mirage, Carnival World at Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino, the Gospel Brunch at the House of Blues and 50% off all Station Casino buffets. Also included in the membership book are 33 match plays, free plays and other gambling bonuses; an exclusive LVA car-rental discount from Budget; and substantial discounts at 30 different local bars and restaurants.
Additionally, you'll find discounts on shows, rides and other attractions; room discounts; multiple drinks deals (including three free rounds for two at Ellis Island); and lots more. These discounts are valid all year long, both for out-of-towners and locals. It is a fantastic value and is a reminder of why the Las Vegas Advisor has been in business since the early 1980s.
The LVA membership is the dominant force in the coupon experience, and Steve Bourie's American Casino Guide is its best friend. The one thing the ACG has over the LVA membership book is that the ACG covers properties other than those in Nevada. Great values can be found for casino properties located in the Midwest, like the Chicagoland area, and properties in southern casino-centric areas like Tunica and Louisiana.
MGM Grand Las Vegas (photo by Shmuel Spiegelman)
For cities with several casinos in them, the American Casino Guide gives a best of section. Here Bourie tells us where the best blackjack, craps, slots and every other casino game are in each town. He takes the research step out of the equation and tells us exactly where to play for the best version of whatever your game of choice might be. Another benefit in the book is the listing of off-the-menu items at various restaurants, which are tremendous bargains. It’s as if you have lived in the gambling town your entire life and you know where all the best bargains are.
In addition to all the coupons and inside information, The American Casino Guide serves as a primer for casino gambling. It explains rules of the most popular casino games and breaks down the slot machine payback percentages by company, so you can see exactly what the expected loss is.
For strategy-dependent casino games, the book offers the basic strategy for each of these games. Blackjack basic strategy is offered for each version of the game as well as in-depth strategies for the various versions of video poker. The information is put together by some of the very best gaming minds, like Henry Tamburin and long-time gaming writer John Grochowski, so we know the information is world class.
Lastly, the ACG has maps showing the relative location of every casino in each state where casinos are located. In towns like Las Vegas and Atlantic City, where there are clusters of casinos in a small area, the locations are overlaid on a map of that city.
Any way you slice it, the promotions for online gaming and coupon books for land-based casinos give great value to players and vacationers. The online promotions are great at giving you increased value for your gambling dollars. And the coupons are a must have if you live or plan to visit a gaming-centric cities. Use the promotions, purchase the coupon books and use the coupons. You will not be disappointed.
Another great resource is Jean Scott's Blog on tips for gaining comps. Also, be sure to check out the American Casino Guide Channel on YouTube and the Las Vegas Advisor website for videos and articles on gaming strategy, as well as additional coupons as they become available.