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How Can I Get 'Player' Treatment at the Casinos?

Here are several expert tips to help you make yourself known at Atlantic City, Harrah’s in Chester, Dover Downs, Vegas—wherever. You’ll be on the path to perks in no time.

Kevin of Conshohocken writes: I’m planning a long weekend in Atlantic City. How can I get “player” treatment at the casinos?

Hi Kevin,

The simple answer? To be treated like a player, you need to be a player. Casinos aren’t like non-gaming hotels, where you can negotiate an upgrade by being really, really nice at check-in. But you can take certain routes to help you feel like a whale—a casino term for “big spender”—even if you happen to swim with the guppies.

• Create an alliance with one casino brand. The more action you spread around the joint, the more likely you’ll reap the property’s internal rewards.

• Sign up immediately for the casino’s rewards program. This not only tracks your rate of play, but it also allots you an ongoing stream of freebies and specials since you’re part of an exclusive players’ club.

• Introduce yourself to the property’s influencers, i.e., the hosts. Connect with one host, in particular. This is the person who can open those doors and produce those perks for you.

• Gamble often as you gamble wisely.

• Call your host beforehand to alert them of your arrival.

• Money talks. In order to become a seriously rated player—meaning that you qualify for special perks and treatment—know that it takes upwards of $15,000 in play a year at that particular property to qualify for upper-echelon benefits.

• Bring in groups. Casinos love when their guests provide more business.

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• Support their products. If your favorite A.C. casino has properties elsewhere, make sure to pay one a visit when you’re in the neighborhood.

• If you want something special—like a room upgrade, a comp meal, a limo ride, or a bottle of champagne—just ask. The worst they can say is, “No.”

• Share your proclivities—favorite foods, wine, cigar maker, etc.—with your host.

• Tell your casino about any prior play at its other properties. They’ll usually take into account the money you’ve previously spent.

• The good deals are in the rooms. You can find all sorts of deep discounts on room rates, especially during the off-season. Check with your host, on websites, and in the newspaper’s travel section.

• Go when it’s cold. Sure, they want your money in the height of the summer season, but trust me, if you show up in January with a wad of bills, they’ll be more apt to open all sorts of doors for you, getting you access and comps you might not have reaped in July.

• Tip well, dress appropriately, and be nice. The kind player is a happy player.

Good luck, Kevin. Play 21 Black for me, OK?

Hospitably Yours,

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