There are over 1,000 casinos in the United States, and that number continues to grow. With the diversity of ownership, there are easily dozens, if not hundreds, of players card programs.
Every casino has one, because that data is so valuable to them. And for us players, because cards lead to earned comps and offers, players should nearly always use one.
But that means often times a player’s first interaction with a casino is not the best – waiting in a long line at a players club desk to sign up for a card. This has been particularly exacerbated in the post-pandemic shutdown periods, with desks consolidated and staffing reduced, at least so it has seemed at many casinos I’ve visited in the past couple of years.
However, as players, new options have emerged that can improve the process of getting registered with the casino. Here are three, and where they’ve proven helpful:
If you know you’re going to be visiting a new market, and don’t have any existing connections there, one opportunity some casinos offer is to register with them in advance. Many times, just having a players card can qualify you for discounts, including on room rates, so compared to paying full price that can be helpful.
The downside is some casinos offer new customer offers if you register for a card the first time. Registering in advance may disqualify you for that, since after all they already have you in their database. So be sure to double check if that aspect of things matters to you – the offer on property may give you more than the hotel discount.
Register at a Kiosk
Many casinos have been rolling out card reprint kiosks, and oftentimes the kiosks can also register players as well. Most of the information needed to set up an account can be pulled from your Driver’s License (usually they scan those anyway), such as your date of birth (to make sure you’re of legal age), and your address. Whatever else is needed (phone number and email, usually) can be typed in on screen.
Some casinos take this farther than others; Resorts World specifically encourages players to go to a group of kiosks where registration can take place. MGM has kiosks in regional properties, but oddly enough not in Las Vegas. So the opportunity can vary based on location.
Of course, the biggest problem in many locations where I see these kiosks is they are down a lot, and that can mean you lose an easy opportunity to avoid the line, and already enter with a negative perception of the property, especially if multiple ones are down, or the machine struggles to read your ID, a problem I have had on occasion as well with them.
Register with Roaming Staff
I rarely see this option employed, but savvy casinos will walk around and register players on the spot. I recall seeing this well over a decade ago at Isleta Casino – they’d go up to players who were playing without a card, offer one while enumerating the perks of the card, and make sure players weren’t missing out on perks.
While at the Venetian in October, I saw a staff member walking around with a mobile device that could issue a card on the spot, again snapping the Driver’s License and mostly capturing information that was numeric, like a phone number. You were told once you earn 100 points to visit the Grazie Rewards desk, whose purpose is to convert that temporary card into a permanent one, and they reward you by giving you free play.
But by letting you play right away, and visit the desk at a time of your choosing (when you’re done playing, when the line is shorter, etc.) to finish setting up your account and claim your reward.
The Venetian still offered a more robust new player offer to further encourage players during a first visit, up to $150 in slot play or $75 in resort credit, a pretty nice offering, but it’s a play promotion so you get a higher amount as you play more.
An acquaintance in the industry at Playersoft, who I hope to speak to soon for a more detailed article on their solutions, said to me during G2E it was their system the Venetian was using to register players, and it was quite an impressive and friendly way to handle it. It’s surprising that more casinos don’t do this, as it both educates about the program and offers a more friendly way to get it done in real time.
Regardless of method, these new options, and I’m sure more over time, will help take one of the first steps we all need to take as players at a new casino and make them easier to navigate. And fortunately, compared to some of the other solutions like cashless solutions, these seem to aim to improve the experience, not hinder it.