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Collecting Casino Slot Cards

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Photo Courtesy (Nevada Casino History)

Slot club cards

Photo Courtesy (Nevada Casino History)

Collecting casino slot cards is a fun, inexpensive hobby. In fact, collecting them can be rewarding beyond their intrinsic value. Casinos are in competition with each other, and they are constantly looking for ways to make their property more attractive than any other. Often the Slot Club or Player's Club is a major point of a casino's marketing campaign, and signing up for a slot club has many benefits.

Slot clubs have been around since the early 1980's when casinos began branding themselves and scrambling for customers. By offering freebies like room nights, comped meals and cash back, the clubs have morphed into excellent benefit programs for loyal casino goers. And, the cards themselves are collectible.

In the late 1970's, Harrah's casino in Reno tried to integrate their VIP club and check cashing program (which had its own credit card style ID's) into a verifiable coin-in program for their slot department. The programming required to produce the first slot program eluded Harrah's, but other properties joined the band wagon and by 1982 there were several with a rudimentary club in place.

According to The Slot Card Price Guide, the very first program started in Atlantic City after an executive at the Sands expounded on the benefits such a club would provide. And, that means there are a few collectible cards from that era. There is only one card known to exist at this time from the Sands first slot club. The credit card style issuance is blue and yellow with a sunburst and is valued at $250. The only other Atlantic City card of such rarity and desirability is another single example in gray with "Reel Winner's Club" across the top and issued by the Playboy Casino.

Collectors who put all their efforts into collecting and cataloging slot cards like Pat and Daryl Lamb, and Steve Wells have proven that the hobby is fun and interest is growing. They have collectively listed more than 10,000 different cards from around the world!

Where to Get Cards

Most collectors are able to add free cards to their own collections by simply joining the slot clubs at their local casinos. The clubs do not charge any fees to join, and are happy to issue you more than a single card, so you can leave one in your wallet and put one in your collection.

Some slot clubs are soliciting members over the internet so you can join online and have a new card sent to you along with the casinos latest newsletter or marketing program. You can also find abandoned cards left at the slot machines and use them as traders!

Because there are many new casinos and so many slot clubs, most collector cards are sold for just a dollar each and sometimes even less! Some collectors start with only casinos in their state, or only cards from properties they have visited. If you need more ideas, there are slot card groups that can be joined such as the Mystic Society of Cards and Keys. You can check them out by writing to: Don Phillips, 520 Charles Street, Brookhaven, MS 39601-4042.

An online resource is part of Greg Susong's amazing web presence, and has much to offer. You can also contact David Johnston at: slotcardking@aol.com to inquire about the "Slot Card and Room Key Club."

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