17 Quick Tips You Can Use to Save Money on Your Next Gambling Trip


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Casino trips are a fun way to combine vacationing with casino games. You’ll find no shortage of great gambling destinations throughout the United States, including Atlantic City, Las Vegas, Los Angeles (card clubs), and Florida.

All these spots have plenty of casinos along with other attractions that you can check out. And travel sites make it easier than ever before to plan all the details of your casino trip.

But while it’s fun to take these gambling excursions, it’s also very expensive. This is especially the case if you haven’t been on many casino vacations.

I have been on plenty of these trips, though. And I’m going to share with you my top 17 tips for keeping costs low while still having an excellent time.

1 – Have a Budget and Stick to It

Every cost-friendly casino trip should begin with a budget. This helps you see how much you can safely spend on the trip and still be able to cover your bills the next month.

The best place to begin is with how much expendable money you can use on the vacation. This is a simple matter of figuring out your monthly income and expenses, then seeing what’s left over.

Many people are in a position where they must save for weeks or months in advance. Therefore, I suggest that you start planning shortly after deciding that you’re going on a gambling trip.

After figuring out expendable income and how much you can save, the next step is to decide what areas you must budget for. Examples include dining, a gambling bankroll, hotel room, miscellaneous expenses, and transportation.

Here’s a simple way to budget for a trip:

  • You have $2,000.
  • You put $500 towards gambling.
  • $500 for a hotel room.
  • $250 for dining.
  • $250 for airfare and transportation.
  • $200 for entertainment/show tickets.
  • $200 for shopping.
  • $100 for tips.

You may have additional expenses that aren’t covered above. And you can plan for these extra expenses for the next time.

2 – Know How to Use Travel Sites

You should get into the habit of using travel sites for your gambling trips if you don’t already. Places like Expedia, Kayak, Travelocity, and Trivago make it easy to bundle your hotel, airfare, and car (if necessary) to get the cheapest rates.

Maybe you don’t need any help using travel sites. But here are some simple steps if you’re new to the matter:

  1. Pick a site and create an account.
  2. Choose the destination and your trip dates.
  3. Select a hotel.
  4. Purchase plane tickets (if necessary).
  5. Get a rental car (if necessary).
  6. Check attractions.
  7. Review package deals to save more.
  8. Enter your payment info.
  9. Make the payment.

Each detail of your trip will to have several options. Here are examples on how you can navigate through each one:

  • Airfare – Select a trip; where you’ll be flying to/from; pick flight dates; and choose the number of tickets you need.
  • Hotel – Choose the destination; check-in/check-out dates; and the number of guests.
  • Car – Select pick-up/drop-off dates; where you’ll get the car; and where you’ll drop it off.
  • Attractions – Look at prices, locations, and dates.

These sites also allow you to look at reviews on hotels and attractions to find out what other customers think. This provides feedback on top of the convenience that you get from bundling the main aspects of a trip.

3 – Cheap Hotels Don’t Have to Be Low Class

Many people think that staying in a cheaper hotel means checking into a roach motel. The good thing about gambling destinations is that some resorts offer cheaper hotel rooms to lure players, so they spend money in other areas.

Las Vegas is a perfect example because they have plenty of good resorts that offer hotel rooms that anybody can afford. One example is the Excalibur Hotel & Casino, which is a castle-themed resort that offers hotel rooms as cheap as $50.

The Stratosphere Casino & Hotel is another good place to stay for an affordable price. Besides offering the world’s tallest freestanding observation tower (1,149 feet), this casino also has rooms available for $40 to $50.

You can go even cheaper than this by choosing a quality casino in downtown Vegas. The Golden Nugget, which is located on the popular Fremont Street, has rooms for $15 to $45 per night.


The key is to check out reviews for casinos in the destination where you’ll be visiting. This helps you narrow down which casino resorts maintain quality while also offering affordable stays.

4 – Consider the Cheapest Transportation

Travel sites will help you figure out the cheapest plane and rental car deals to get you to the chosen destination.

But you should also do some more in-depth research to figure out the best ways to get around gambling spots once you’re there. This requires knowing the transportation methods available wherever you’re headed.

Las Vegas offers a buffet of options, including buses, the monorail, shuttles, Ubers, and taxis. But a smaller destination like Biloxi, Mississippi will only have Ubers and shuttles.

You also need to figure out whether it’s worth renting a car. Doing so can make your trip more convenient, but it also adds several hundred dollars to the budget.

Another option in spread-out locations is Ubers and taxis. These might cost $8 to $10 per ride, but they’re worth the money if you don’t take enough long trips to justify renting a car.

You can get around bigger gambling destinations like Atlantic City and Vegas with cheap transportation because many casinos and attractions are clustered together.

These places also have more-affordable transportation, because they receive countless visitors. You can take a bus in L.A. for just $1.50, while Vegas offers double-deck bus rides for $3.

5 – Don’t Get Scammed by Uber & Taxi Drivers

If you do use an Uber or taxi during your casino trip, then you should monitor rides to ensure that you’re not being “long hauled.” This term refers to when drivers take the long way to a given address to jack up fees.

Thanks to smartphones, you can easily figure out when you’re being taken on an out-of-the-way route. Just look up the address on Google Maps and watch where the driver is taking you.

You can also look for traditional long-hauling routes. One example is when Vegas drives take visitors from the McCarran Airport through the I-215 tunnel, which adds miles to most trips within the city.

6 – Walk if Possible

Walking is certainly the cheapest way to get around a casino destination. And this is a practical option if you’ll be enjoying all your gambling and entertainment in one spot.

For Example

You don’t have to worry much about rental cars and buses if you’re only going to hang out on Vegas’ Fremont Street. But walking does become an issue if you plan to travel across most of the Vegas Strip.

You also must consider the amount of time that it takes to get across larger casinos. One example is the Venetian in Sin City, which measures 240,000 square feet.

7 – Make a Bankroll Management Plan for Gambling

Earlier I discussed how you should come up with an overall budget for your trip. It’s also wise to plan out your gambling bankroll.

The bankroll should be its own specific part of the budget. You can then further divide this and spread it out over the course of your trip.

A good idea is to calculate your theoretical losses and decide how much money you’ll need each day. Here’s an example for blackjack:

  • You have a $500 bankroll.
  • You’re facing a 1% house edge.
  • You’re making $10 bets.
  • The table is seeing 60 hands per hour.
  • 10 x 60 = $600 in hourly bets
  • 600 x 0.01 = $6 in hourly losses
  • 500 / 6 = 83.3 hours

Your bankroll would theoretically last for 83.3 hours if you strictly play blackjack under these circumstances. And this is more than enough time for most players.

Of course, some people play a variety of casino games. You can focus on your favorite games and their variables to come up with a comprehensive bankroll management plan.

8 – Set a Stop Loss Limit on Casino Games

A bankroll plan is only part of the battle when it comes to saving money. You should also set a stop-loss limit to avoid going over your daily bankroll.

A stop-loss limit refers to the point where you quit playing after you’ve lost a specific amount of money. This figure can be based on either a percentage or a specific amount of your bankroll.

Here’s an example:

  • You have a $2,000 bankroll.
  • Your stop-loss limit is 20% of your bankroll.
  • You’ll quit the session after losing $400.

The goal here is to keep from losing too much money in a single session. This allows you to come back the next day and continue enjoying yourself on the machines and table games.

The key is actually stopping when you hit your limit. And you may have to use some tricks if you have difficulty quitting a session.

One example includes only bringing enough cash into the casino to meet your daily stop-loss limit. This makes it far less convenient to keep gambling if you don’t have a credit card on you in the casino.

9 – Look for Casinos with the Best Odds (House Edges)

Another way to save money on casino games is by choosing casinos that offer the best odds of winning. This is especially effective for table games, where you can often find information on the house edges.

Here’s an example of blackjack house advantages from certain Las Vegas casinos:

  • Treasure Island – 0.255% house edge
  • Bally’s – 0.285% house edge
  • El Cortez – 0.30% house edge
  • Arizona Charlie’s Boulder – 0.34% house edge
  • Boulder Station – 0.34% house edge
  • SLS Las Vegas – 1.554% house edge
  • Cosmopolitan – 1.830% house edge

You can see that Treasure Island, Bally’s and El Cortez all offer great odds for blackjack. And this helps save you money in the long run

You may not be able to find house edge information on all your favorite games at different casinos. But you should spend a little time looking this up to see what’s available.

10 – Look for Casinos with Low Stakes

Finding casinos with low odds is a great start. But you also must consider the stakes being offered too.

In the example above, TreasureIsland has the best house edge. But it’s far cheaper to play blackjack at El Cortez due to the smaller wagers.

The reason why is because El Cortez’s minimum blackjack payout is only $5. Meanwhile, Treasure Island requires a $100 minimum wager.

Here’s the math on how much you’ll save by playing $5 blackjack stakes:

  • (El Cortez) 5 x 60 hands per hour = $300 in hourly bets
  • 300 x 0.003 = $0.90 hourly losses at El Cortez
  • (Treasure Island) 100 x 60 hands per hour = $6,000 in hourly bets
  • 6,000 x 0.00255 = $15.30 in hourly losses at Treasure Island

Whether it’s blackjack or slot machines, you can reduce your losses greatly by playing the lowest stakes.

11 – Don’t Visit with Friends/Family Who Spend Big

Visiting casino destinations with friends or family is a great way to spice up your trip. But you should go with those who don’t spend lavishly if you’re being frugal.

It’s hard to resist spending big when the people you’re with are doing so. Moreover, they may joke about you being a cheapskate if you’re trying to save money on the vacation.

Best way to avoid this is by choosing your casino trip partners wisely

Visit with those whose spending habits align closely with yours.

12 – Sign Up for the Player’s Club

You should always sign up for the player’s club at any casino where you’ll be gambling. This ensures that you earn comps and get more value from bets.

You can sign up for a player’s club either through a casino website or in person. I prefer signing up online, rather than wasting my time in the casino doing so.

Here are the simple steps to signing up online for a comp program:

  1. Google the casino’s rewards program.
  2. Choose the casino’s website and look for the signup area.
  3. Fill in the required fields (e.g. email, guest information, address).
  4. Submit your info and wait to be approved.

These programs normally only comp you on 0.1% or 0.2% of your total rewards. But this still adds up if you’re a serious gambler.

13 – Don’t Gamble Just for Comps

While picking up freebies is great, you also want to avoid the habit of playing just to earn more rewards.

Many players extend their session when they’re close to a bigger comp. For example, they may want to turn a free meal into a hotel stay.

It might feel rewarding to get the hotel room. But comps are never worth anything close to the theoretical losses that you risk when going for these rewards.

For Example

Being comped 0.1% when playing a slot machine with a 5% house edge isn’t worth playing just for freebies.

The best way to handle rewards is by being satisfied with what you earn during a natural playing session.

14 – Create a Dining Plan

One of the quickest ways to blow through your casino budget is by overspending on the dining. It’s all too tempting to eat at world-class restaurants when you’re in a bigger city.

Therefore, you should plan out where you want to go each night. And you can eat cheaply for breakfast and lunch.

Here’s an example:

  • You’re visiting Atlantic City.
  • You plan to eat at Dock’s Oyster House on Thursday night.
  • You’ll eat at Carmine’s Italian Restaurant on Friday night.
  • You’ll eat at Knife & Fork on Saturday night.
  • You’ll eat fast food for breakfast.
  • You’ll buy groceries for lunch.

15 – Tip Smart – Not Cheap

When some gamblers want to save money, they do it at the expense of those who depend on tips for part of their salary. While this helps preserve your budget, it’s also a stingy thing to do.

You don’t have to break the bank to tip properly. Instead, you can tip at the low range of what’s commonly accepted.

Here are the standards for different casino resort services:

  • Bellman – $1 to $2 for normal bags; $3 to $5 for heavy bags.
  • Cocktail waitress – $1 for each drink.
  • Casino dealer – $5 per hour.
  • Drivers – 15-20% of total fare.
  • Limo drivers – $10 to $15 per ride (luxury service).
  • Maid – $5 per night for a clean guest; $10 to $15 for messy guests.
  • Valet – $2 when dropping your car off; $2 when picking your car up.

You should also take the class of the resort into account. Employees at a classy Las Vegas casino like the Bellagio generally receive larger tips than those at smaller downtown joints.

16 – Take It Easy on the Drinks

Even the best budgeting plans come unraveled when you have too much to drink at the casino. Therefore, you want to take it easy on the alcohol so that you’re not influenced to spend more.

Of course, this is easier said than done when you’re playing table games for hours, and the cocktail waitress keeps asking for your drink order.

It doesn’t hurt to have a couple of drinks.

But don’t give in to temptation and keep ordering beer or rum & cokes every time the waitress takes your order

17 – Have a Plan for Attractions

Many casino spots have surrounding attractions that can enhance your trip. But they can also be quite costly if you don’t plan properly.

You should check available prices and do research ahead of time before making any decisions.

Travel websites are good for researching the big-name attractions. But you might have to do some more digging on the less-advertised activities.

Here are examples of things you can do in Vegas:

  • Cirque du Soleil
  • Fashion Show Mall
  • Fremont Street Experience
  • Grand Canyon (Arizona)
  • Hoover Dam
  • Hyde Bellagio nightclub
  • Joel Robuchon Restaurant
  • Marquee nightclub
  • Red Rock Mountain

Some of these attractions don’t cost much to enjoy, such as Red Rock Mountain or the Fremont Street Experience. But nightclubs and fancy restaurants will increase your trip cost.


It may take you a few hours to do everything on this list. But the benefit is well worth the effort, because you’ll save hundreds of dollars.

Everything starts with creating a budget, which will serve as the backbone of your casino spending plan. You can then branch out from here and gradually check off the other tips.

The ultimate goal is to create a balanced plan that allows you to enjoy the dining, gambling, and hotel. You also want to remove any transportation headaches and budget for other possible activities.


Keep in mind that your first few casino trips may not go perfectly. But you can take notes on what does and doesn’t work to improve your next casino trip.

Overall, you want to avoid overspending and ruining the joy of a gambling vacation. By staying responsible and spending moderately, you’ll be free to enjoy all the experiences on your trip.