Can’t afford high-priced chips? Try slot club card collecting
By H. Scot Krause
I recently read a reader’s “Letter’s to the Editor” asking about casino chip collecting. It reminded me about an upcoming casino collectibles show that I could inform readers about. But it also gave me the perfect idea for this month’s column—slot club card collecting!
While not as potentially lucrative as chip collecting can be, collecting casino slot club cards can be a fun, inexpensive and rewarding hobby. Slot clubs began in the early 1980’s in Atlantic City. 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. There are a few collectible cards around 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 was issued by the now defunct Playboy Casino and is another single example in gray printed with “Reel Winner’s Club” across the top.
A great resource for slot club card collecting is The Slot Card Price Guide, A Comprehensive Worldwide Guide and Checklist For all Modern Casino Slot Cards (1982-2015), written and edited by Robert Baker, Pat Lamb and Steve Wells. The newest 10th edition of this book lists over 17,400 cards! Download a free version of the book at: www.slotcardguide.com. They do appreciate donations to help cover costs made available by using Paypal. Updates to the book are added every three months.
There are no pictures in the book (far too numerous for that) but there is a listing and full index providing the casino name and location, slot club opening date, edition number, manufacture information, rarity and a price. The introduction pages help readers understand how to use the valuable book. This is an easy to use reference for thousands and thousands of casino club cards, and it is the only known book of its type available. (No, I’m not selling anything here! It’s just a good place to start for collecting!)
It’s easy to get started collecting club cards. Many hobbyists begin collecting casino cards and memorabilia such as chips and dice while visiting a casino, but the popularity of casino items allow many collectors to buy, sell and trade their items worldwide. Collecting old $1 slot machine metal tokens, $1 and $5 casino chips, slot club cards and even room keys with logos and casino images are popular and fairly easy on the budget.
Most collectors are able to add free cards to their own collections by simply joining the slot clubs at their local casinos or in their travels. The clubs do not charge any fees to join, and are usually happy to issue you more than a single card (sometimes a special card featuring an anniversary or an event may only be issued one time) so you can leave one in your wallet and put one in your collection. Many slot clubs solicit members online or you can visit their website so you can join online and have a new card sent to you. You can also find abandoned cards left at the slot machines and use them to trade with other enthusiasts.
The June 24-27, 2015 Casino Chip and Gaming Token Collectors Club (CC>CC) Convention, to be held at the South Point Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, is another valuable asset and resource to gaming memorabilia of all types. CC>CC is an educational organization with the mission of preserving gaming history, specializing in providing a resource for information and history on gaming memorabilia—chips, tokens, dice, slot club cards, playing cards, etc. Each year the founders of the club and many chip collectors and sellers come to Las Vegas to trade chips, meet new members, and sell all types of casino memorabilia.
The trade show is open to everyone to attend. Admission on Thursday, June 25, is $10 per person, Friday, June 26, $5 per person and Saturday, June 27 is FREE! Admission for all children aged 18 and younger is free on Thursday and Friday when accompanied by a paying adult. Children under age 18 must be accompanied by an adult on all days.
Besides the show and checking out the book, there are slot card groups that can be joined. Do an online search for groups that may meet in your area or operate as chat rooms and trade groups. Websites like eBay can also be helpful in acquiring cards for your collection.
Good luck and happy slot clubbing!