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Casino Credits

The average gambler at an American casino comes to the club with cash or traveler's checks that can easily be converted to cash with the showing of proper identification.

It is only a small minority that establish credit at the casinos, but those who do probably account for a greater volume of play than all the cash customers combined. Nearly all the junket players are credit customers, and the big casinos on the Las Vegas Strip count on half their profits coming from junketeers' play.

The high rollers, known as premium players by the casinos, generally have credit lines at one or more casinos in Nevada and Atlantic City. These players can't be bothered with cash; they like to be able to show up at a club at any time, and, within thirty minutes, without anything in their pockets but a driver's license, bet thousands at the tables.

The casino world, after all, often reflects the real American world outside. And today credit is the name of the game, and everyone who is anyone has some kind of credit. Just as the credit card has replaced cash in American life to the point where you can't rent an automobile in many cities without a credit card, so credit has replaced many cash transactions in casino operations. Many players who bet heavily don't like the risk of carrying cash, and the casino is only too happy to give its premium players all the credit they can use.

Casino credit has another lure as far as the casinos are concerned. When a person signs a marker and receives casino chips on credit, he is not only playing with abstract plastic disks (the chips), but the whole thing has a make-believe aspect. All this man has to do is sign his name and get money, and often this is treated as play money. It's only when the moment of reckoning comes, when he has to pay back what he has signed for, that the harsh reality of the situation becomes evident.

Thus credit can become a snare for the unwary, especially in a casino situation where the action is fast and hard, where gambling fever is contagious and money can be won or lose rapidly.

This is not to suggest that a player shouldn't try to get credit at a casino. We think it's advisable in many situations, especially if the player is going to do some serious gambling, but this credit line must be used as carefully as possible. It must be used for the player's, not the casino's advantage.

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