There are plenty of perfectly valid reasons to avoid casinos. Some people might not like large crowds, while others might not be confident in their gambling abilities. Whatever the reason might be, gambling critics do have a few half-decent excuses.
However, there is one inaccurate claim that detractors often use to rationalize their refusal to gamble at a casino. Many people think that they are far too expensive, and that money can be spent on other types of entertainment.
Listen, I’m not going to fault someone for not enjoying casinos. They’re definitely not for everyone. But refusing to visit a casino based on the price alone is misguided.
A trip to the casino does not have to break the bank. If you’re still clinging to the idea that gambling will force you into bankruptcy, you couldn’t be farther from the truth.
Here are seven easy tips to help stretch your casino budget and make gambling trips more affordable.
1 ‒ Creating Your Budget
The first thing any money-conscious gambler should do is create a budget for the casino. Gamblers often refer to the money they allocate towards gambling as a bankroll, but other expenses are also involved.
Depending on which casino you’re visiting, you have to consider the cost of travel and lodging if you plan to stay overnight.
As for your bankroll, newer gamblers should never gamble an amount of money that makes them uncomfortable. Before traveling to your local casino, you should take out a specific amount of money and leave your cards behind.
You might think you’ll be able to resist the urge to gamble if you happen to lose your money, but that’s easier said than done.
When starting out, your bankroll should be somewhat small and consistent so you can develop an appreciation for how money is spent at a casino. If you lose, you’ll feel compelled to play games with lower stakes or even try to improve at particular casino games.
A smart, conservative budget is crucial to a successful gambling trip, especially if you have limited or no experience. Many gamblers struggle when it comes to managing their bankrolls. Developing smart money habits will help you get off to a strong start to your gambling experience.
2 ‒ Eat Before You Arrive
Before I get on my soapbox, let me establish a few things about casinos. Casinos are not consistent in their prices. While some casinos might be affordable for most gamblers, others are luxurious and relatively expensive. But it’s safe to assume that many casinos operate around the same price point. Now, on with the show.
Gamblers often consider casinos to be theme parks for adults. Instead of carnival games and Ferris wheels, casinos-goers entertain themselves by playing various games around the casino.
Anyone who has been to a theme park or gone to the state fair knows how expensive food and beverages can be. It’s not uncommon to spend $15 on a hot dog and a bottle of water.
Casinos often work the same way. Restaurants in many casinos can be overpriced when you consider the food they serve. They know that once you’re inside the casino, your options are limited, and they’re not afraid to exploit your lack of preparation.
If you’re commuting to a casino for a quick trip, plan on eating before you arrive.
3 ‒ Play Games You’re Familiar With
It’s incredibly easy to lose money by playing games you’re not familiar with. You might notice a group of gamblers who seem to be enjoying themselves at a nearby table. As you walk closer, you realize that you’ve never played this game before.
No matter. It looks pretty straightforward, so you take some money out of your wallet or purse and place it on the table. In a matter of minutes, that money will be long gone.
Unless you’re in the company of a talented gambler or someone you trust, it’s not a great idea to experiment at casinos. If a table game catches your eye, make a mental note, and look it up when you get one.
When you play games you’re not good at, you’ll more than likely decrease your chances of winning money. Instead, locate games you know you can play somewhat effectively to give yourself a chance to win.
4 ‒ Stick to Affordable Table Minimums
Earlier, I pointed out that pricing can vary from one casino to the next. That disparity also exists all around the casino floor.
Most casinos will offer different table minimums and maximums to appeal to gamblers from all different financial situations. That means you should be able to play your favorite games at an affordable price.
However, it can often be challenging to find a table that agrees with your bankroll. That’s especially true if you plan to visit a casino during its busiest times.
Despite the difficulties that might come with locating a table that works for you, it’s worth spending some time walking around the entire casino.
You should never settle for playing at a table where the price to play makes you uncomfortable. If you’re feeling uneasy before you even start to gamble, there’s a good chance you’ll play poorly and lose money.
5 ‒ Step Away Every 30 Minutes
Casinos have an uncanny ability to force gamblers to lose track of time due to the lack of natural light and clocks. That, combined with many table games’ repetitive nature, can lull gamblers into a state where time ceases to exist.
Before you know it, you’ve spent several hours at a particular table and blown through your budget.
If possible, wear a watch to the casino if you plan on gambling for more than an hour. That way, you don’t have to distract yourself with your phone, and you won’t let your time at the casino slip by.
For those who prefer to play games like blackjack, poker, or even slots, it’s imperative that you stand up to stretch your legs every half hour or so. During that time, you can take a minute or two to consider how you’re faring and even consider altering your approach.
You should never feel self-conscious about stepping away from the table. As long as you return in somewhat of a timely manner, the dealer will reserve your spot.
6 ‒ Don’t Pay for Drinks
It’s not a secret that certain casinos charge a premium for alcoholic beverages. Whereas your local bar might charge a few dollars for a decent beer, casinos will often charge twice that for a bottom-tier light beer.
If you plan to gamble, it’s always worth seeing if the casino you’re at offers active gamblers free drinks. While it’s not true of every casino, certain ones will pay for your drinks as long as you’re playing a game.
Even if your casino doesn’t offer this accommodation, there’s a good chance they have a free soda fountain or coffee bar.
Gambling might undoubtedly be more enjoyable while consuming a few beverages, but paying for drinks can put a massive dent in your budget. Instead of buying a round for your gambling party, put that money towards your gambling expenses.
Not only will you likely play better, but you’ll also avoid shelling out an arm and a leg for a mediocre cocktail.
7 ‒ Keep Track of Promotions and Casino Perks
Anyone who plans on visiting a particular casino more than once should sign up for player’s cards and casino clubs.
Casinos like to develop loyalty with gamblers and urge them to visit more regularly. The most effective way to do this is to offer their customers a valid reason to return sooner than they planned to.
Any decent casino will offer gamblers the opportunity to join these clubs and take advantage of the perks they offer. These casino perks often come in the form of free drinks, food, nights at the resort, rounds of golf, and other amenities.
Not all player’s clubs are created equally, but there’s a good chance you’ll rack up benefits after just a few trips to the casino. Signing up is usually as easy as visiting the front desk and giving them your name, email, and address.
You’ll get a personalized card that will help the casino track how often you play and how much money you spend while gambling.
Some misinformed people wrongly assume that casinos are expensive, and gambling is a waste of money.
Individual gamblers indeed struggle when managing their bankroll. But with a little self-control, casinos can be affordable for anyone.
First and foremost, anyone who plans to gamble at a casino needs to figure out how much money they’re comfortable spending. Just like when planning any other night out on the town, it’s crucial to have a dollar figure in mind before departure.
It might seem appealing to test your luck at new games that catch your eye around the casino. Instead of learning an expensive lesson, make a point to research the game outside of the casino.
Eating and drinking can often be somewhat expensive, so don’t walk through the casino doors with an empty stomach. Similarly, drinking at the casino bar is unnecessarily costly, so always check to see if the casino will pay for your drinks if you plan on gambling.
Michael Stevens has been researching and writing topics involving the gambling industry for well over a decade now and is considered an expert on all things casino and sports betting. Michael has been writing for GamblingSites.org since early 2016. …