While on my last trip to Vegas, it dawned on me that I’ve never seen a discussion online about playing on casino credit, which is unusual considering it’s a sure fire way to make sure your play is noticed.
Credit? Isn’t that bad? Do you really want to play on "credit"?
Well, it’s not really credit but rather something similar to a secured Mastercard. It’s actually a personal check that you’ve written to the casino against a real bank account with the full funds in it that’s been verified by the casino with your bank. This implies that the casino has the ability to inquire about specific funds in your bank account and that’s true. They verify that you’ve got the money you are applying for before you get the green light.
Why would you want to do this? Easy.
- It’s more convenient. Instead of withdrawing cash from your bank account, or getting a credit advance from your credit card at ridiculous rates, which not just have the casino loan you the cash and if you make the cash back, you pay back your loan. If not, the casino takes the cash out of your account – no muss, no fuss.
- It’s a record of your play level. If you get authorized for $50,000 in credit, it’s a signal to the casino that that’s the level of play – or the amount of money – you’re willing to gamble with/at. Appropriately, your gambling is rated and viewed in the appropriate light by casino management. A person that’s playing at the $50k credit level (and actually playing at those levels) is certainly more valuable to a casino than someone playing at the $1K level.
Here’s how you do it:
- APPLY FOR CREDIT
Go online (or call the casino) and apply for credit before hand. Casinos like the Venetian have applications online that allow you to apply for credit over the Internet. They’ll expect some key pieces of information such as the bank you do business at, the amount of money you’d like to have on credit, the bank ACCOUNT in which you have these funds, your personal information like your address, etc.
The most important piece of information you can give them however is your Player’s Club card number. This is also known as your CompCard. This associates your credit with your rated play at the tables and is important to linking your bankroll to your casino play, so be sure to have a Player’s Club card number before applying.
Note: Some places may ask for your Social Security Number. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO GIVE THIS TO THEM. There is no reason for them to have your SSN so by God, don’t give it to them. They usually want this to check your background but there’s no reason for them to have this: They can check you out through other means other than your social so don’t enter that into any form or provide that information over the phone EVER.
- WAIT FOR APPROVAL
You will normally get a confirmation of your credit in the mail, telling you about how much you’ve been approved for and what to do next.
Usually, if you have the funds in the bank before you’ve applied, you’ll be cleared for play and all you have to do is show up to the casino at that point.
- CONFIRM YOUR CREDIT APPLICATION
Once you get to the casino, you’ll need to go to "casino credit". This is usually a office or booth that is near the cashier that will look you up in their computers and verify that you’ve in fact been approved for credit play. They’ll draw some paperwork and have you sign it.
At this point, usually all you’ve done through the paperwork is agreed to "pay them back" if they loan you some cash. Nothing’s actually happened yet – although you may want to check the paperwork you signed before you sign it.
- ASK FOR A MARKER
Once you’re ready to play, simply go to a table and either ask to see the pitboss or ask the dealer for a "marker". A "marker" is essentially a secured loan: It’s a check that they’re having you write, payable to the casino, for whatever amount you’d like to play with. They will ask you how much you’d like the marker for then draw up the "check" for that amount. Once you’ve signed the check, they’ll give you the chips for whatever amount you’ve asked for.
Remember: They don’t cash that check in until either the day’s over or you leave the hotel at the end of your vacation, (depends on the hotel) so nothing will be drawn against your account unless you leave the casino without paying. If you wish, you can "buy back that marker" after you’re done playing.
NOTE: Once you start playing, it’s generally expected that you’re going to PLAY IN THEIR CASINO. This is the weird part: It’s conceivable that you might play a little, get up from the table, and then cash in the chips and go play somewhere else. This is frowned upon by the casino being that you’re playing with money on the credit they’ve extended to you. Frankly, it’s a trick for moving money into Vegas without actually transporting cash into the city that I’ve learned from other players but it’s not something that I’d recommend being that you could piss some people off… and remember: They’re always watching.
- BUYING BACK YOUR MARKER
Once you’ve finished playing, you can buy back your marker. This can be done in two ways. The first way, and most common way, is to simply go to the cashier, provide your Player’s Club card, and have them look up your marker. They’ll ask you to provide funds equal to the marker’s value, then they’ll go back into the "cage" and retrieve the check that you signed.
These markers/checks are stored in the back of the casino usually about an hour after you’ve played. It’s possible that you’ll ask for a marker, then complete playing before the marker leaves the pit. This is the second way you can buy back your marker: Simply ask for the marker back and hand over the chip value equal to the marker. The pit boss will usually do the transaction right there eliminating the need for you to go to the cashier.
So there you have it: That’s how to play with credit in Vegas. It’s an easy way to get cash into Vegas without actually carrying it on the plane making the process a lot safer as well, and it’s a great way to keep a record of your play with the casino.
Incidentally, I’m told that there may be a way to leverage this system to write off your gambling losses being that it’s all on-the-record. This would be very interesting and once I get the details on that, I’ll post them.