Reader Susan recently asked about registering early for players cards on the Know Your Slots Facebook page:
Hey Josh: What do think about applying for players cards online before going to a casino for the first time? I noticed with MGM Springfield I had applied before they opened and my husband didn’t, and then when we went for the first time he went up to sign up and they gave him free play and I received nothing. Since I’m heading to Vegas for the first time, I definitely will be going to visit a lot of different casinos and didn’t really want to waste a lot of time in lines getting a new card… I’m so lost and confused about what to do… any advice would be greatly appreciatedSusan, via the Know Your Slots Facebook page
Hey Susan – when it comes to players card and visiting a new casino, there’s a few things to think about.
First off, your point about a sign-up bonus is important – many casinos will offer a registration bonus for signing up for a card, but they’ll most often only provide it for people signing up at the casino. So you might want to check their websites to see if you’re losing out on a benefit by doing so in advance.
There are other challenges to registering in advance: I personally have made this mistake before – I registered in advance for the Hard Rock in Atlantic City, and had to wait in a giant line to get my card because I had to prove my identity.
Many newer casinos, or casinos who have upgraded their infrastructure, now have machines that can issue or reissue cards. If you register in advance for a card, and the machines can issue you a card, that will save you time in line. But if you have to get in line anyway, because either the casino doesn’t have one or you need to get your information filed by the desk, you won’t end up saving much time. Meanwhile you might have missed out on a sign-up bonus.
One potential benefit to registering in advance is if you plan on staying at a casino and you get a discount on rooms just for being a member. I personally made the mistake of not registering with Mlife before booking a room in Vegas for the first time, and I overpaid even on a cash basis for the room.
Also be sure to check out my dos and don’ts for a first Vegas trip, which includes notes about planning for future trips and my recommendations about players cards, among other tips! And check out my Vegas comp strategizing notes as well; it will help you figure out which cards to register for, and which to perhaps skip until a future trip.