My All-Profit Casino Adventures (Or How I Made $25 Without Technically Gambling)

Here’s something strange about me: while I rarely gamble, don’t drink, and hate cigarette smoke, I love Las Vegas. Maybe it’s the theme park fan in me that finds wandering through casinos fascinating but, whatever it is, I’ve always enjoyed Sin City and even got married there. Truth be told, I get some of the same enjoyment from checking out other casinos and, at most, playing some penny slots. That’s why when my friends and I headed out to Wyandotte, Oklahoma for a 5K last weekend, I was looking forward to exploring some of the gambling houses that resided out that way. But what I didn’t realize until shortly before we arrived was that I could actually ensure that I came out ahead, making a small profit at each of our destinations.

So how did I do it? No, I didn’t count cards at the blackjack table or anything like that — I simply signed up for a player’s club card at each casino. Doing so entitled me to between $5 and $7 in free play at each stop. Thus, after hitting up three different spots (all within a few minutes drive each other), I walked away with $25 — and never really risked a dime.

First of all, like most things in life these days, earning this “free play” does require you to give up a bit of your privacy. To sign up for each card, the cashier took my ID, copied down my address (although the one on my ID is super outdated), and asked for my phone number. Quite honestly, this is something I probably shouldn’t take as lightly as I do, but I figure that all of this info is already out there already — might as well use it to my advantage.

As I learned, the free play system works a bit differently depending on how the casino is set up. However, in each case, you couldn’t simply cash our your free play and call it a day. Instead, you needed to play through your allotted funds before making off with the earnings.

At the first and third casinos we visited, you could transfer your free play to the machine, but your winnings would mingle with your free credits, making it difficult to identify how much more you had to play before you could cash out. Because of this, I had to pay extra attention to my bets and do some mental math to determine when it was time to walk away. Meanwhile, our second casino stop had the advantage of showing a running total of your remaining free play, although you did need to insert money in order to activate that credit. This at least made things easier to keep track of, but also put you at risk of overspending if you hit a wrong button (it happens).

I should mention that, even on penny slots, these free play credits went quickly. This coupled with that fact that $25 isn’t that much in the grand scheme of things (and that you could end up with far less), I wouldn’t advise making a special trip to try this out for yourself. But, if you happen to be in the area like we were, it was an adequately fun adventure that essentially resulted in a free dinner or gas money for the trip. Of course, if you do want to play a bit more, just be sure to assume that you will lose everything you bet and make sure you’d be ok with that — and, if you have any sort of gambling addiction, ignore this entire article and stay away!

Finally, at many of the casinos, they mentioned that I could also get more free play credits during my birth month. Considering that my birthday is in January, maybe another all-profit casino adventure could soon be in the cards — assuming I have some other reason to visit that part of Oklahoma. If not, at least I can say I’m three for three at beating the house 😉

Author

Kyle Burbank

Kyle is a freelance writer and author whose first book, "The E-Ticket Life" is now available on Amazon. In addition to his weekly "Money at 30" column on Dyer News, he is also the editorial director and a writer for the Disney fan site LaughingPlace.com and the founder of Money@30.com.

Other Articles by Kyle Burbank

Delta Sky Club is Changing Its Rules (and Making the Amex Platinum More Valuable)

If you look on travel Twitter, Reddit, or blogs, you're likely to see complaints about lounge overcrowding. Specifically, this issue has long been discussed in relation to American Express's Centurion Lounges — which partially inspired Amex to change its entry rules to disallow free guests for most Platinum cardholders starting next...

When is the Best Time to Book a Flight?

Over the Thanksgiving travel holiday, millions of Americans returned to the skies. This actually continued a trend that’s seen demand for travel surging after two slow years. And while we all wish money were no object so that we could plan the trip of our dreams without restrictions, the fact...

Travel Tuesday: Donating Your Travel Currency on Giving Tuesday

Lest you think we're done with the retail holidays, today marks another — albeit quite different — one: Giving Tuesday. For those unaware, this is the day that emphasizes charitable donations over retail purchases. Incidentally, while travelers and credit card customers may earn various loyalty points and miles from their purchases,...