Darryl McEwen, Mr. AC Casino

Prepaid debit cards tied to your casino player loyalty card have been approved for use in Nevada, but regulations have been in place allowing for their use in New Jersey casinos since October 2011.

However, according to the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, none of the Atlantic City casinos has sought approval for that option. While the cards can be used outside a casino like a traditional debit card, the advantage to using it in the casino is that you don’t have to carry a lot of cash or withdraw money from an ATM. You’ll also earn points in any player rewards program associated with the card.

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Q. I love to play slot machines, but I know that, over time, I’ll end up losing because the casinos have the advantage. Is there a way to cut my losses? How can I maximize the return on my “investment”?

A. First, if you’re not using your favorite casino’s player-loyalty card, sign up immediately. The tier credits — also called tier points — you earn will take you to various levels — each of which brings benefits over and above any comp dollars you receive.

You might get free parking, free hotel rooms, free gifts and free meals. Most casinos also return a small percentage of your play in the form of free slot play either during your visit or during a future visit. In addition, at some casinos, there are special lines at cashiers, buffets and hotel registration that your card status will allow you to take advantage of.

However, to maximize these benefits, look for “multiplier days.” Most Atlantic City casinos periodically offer you the opportunity to multiply your earned comp dollars and cashback — in the form of bonus slot play during a future visit — by two, three, four or even more times. Occasionally, some casinos also will give you the opportunity to multiply your tier credits.

Unless otherwise specified, multiplied comp dollars, cashback and tier credits are earned on all eligible slot play from 6 a.m. through 5:59 a.m. the following day.

Be aware, though, that sometimes these multipliers are “by invitation only,” there are limits to how much may be multiplied, the amount of your multiplier may be contingent on your tier level, or you may have to earn a minimum number of tier points before the multiplier kicks in. Also, at some casinos, to activate the multiplier, you may have to swipe your player card at a promotional kiosk — sometimes before you start playing, or you forfeit the multiplier.

Here’s a list of multiplier days this month:

Bally’s Atlantic City, Caesars Atlantic City, Harrah’s Resort and Showboat Casino-Hotel — Every Thursday swipe your Total Rewards card at any designated promotional kiosk between 9 a.m. and 11 p.m. to receive a 10X Reward Credit multiplier at any or all of these casinos.

Golden Nugget Atlantic City — Earn double comp dollars Friday, March 14, 21, 23 and 28. On March 17, 24, 28 and 30 Elite cardholders earn 4X tier credits, Chairman cardholders earn 3X tier credits and Premier cardholders earn 2X tier credits.

Resorts Casino Hotel — Invited guests can earn a comp dollar multiplier today (March 13) and a cashback multiplier on March 27. On both days players must first activate their multiplier at any promotional kiosk before playing. Premiere cardholders will earn 2X, Epic cardholders will earn 3X, Paramount cardholders will earn 4X and Red Carpet cardholders will earn 5X. To qualify for the cashback multiplier players must earn a minimum of five tier points.

Revel Casino-Hotel — Swipe your Revel card to earn 4X Resort Dollars on March 26. March 14, 18, 21, 28 and 30 are “Mystery Multiplier Days” when you could earn 2X, 3X, 4X, 10X, 25X, 50X or 100X Resort Dollars.

Trump Plaza — Earn triple bonus slot dollars every day this month. Before playing, activate your multiplier at any kiosk between noon and 8 p.m. Players must earn a minimum of $10 in slot dollars to qualify. Maximum slot dollars earned per day is 2,500. (Video poker play will be multiplied at a lesser rate.)

Q. I have hundreds of dollars in comps at various Atlantic City casinos, but I rarely need to use them, because I’m always getting offers for free rooms and food. I know I can use them in certain gift shops and other retail stores in the casinos, but items there either are overpriced or I have to use two comp dollars for every dollar I want to spend. Any other suggestions?

A. Many Atlantic City casinos allow you to exchange your comp dollars for slot play. At some casinos you can do this any day, while others offer this as a promotion on only certain days. In addition, the rate of your exchange may depend on the status of your player card, and there may be daily maximum amounts on the comp dollars you can convert. Also, with the exception of the Golden Nugget Atlantic City, Resorts Casino Hotel, Trump Plaza and Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort, you do not earn comp dollars or tier credits on free play.

These are the casinos that currently offer this comps-to-free play option:

Bally’s Atlantic City, Caesars Atlantic City, Harrah’s Resort and Showboat Casino-Hotel — Total Rewards cardholders can exchange their Reward Credits (RCs) into a maximum of $500 in free play daily. The conversion rate depends on your card level. For $1 in slot play Seven Stars cardholders must redeem 125 RCs, Diamond cardholders must redeem 175 RCs, and Platinum and Gold cardholders must redeem 200 RCs. (At most casino restaurants and shops, 100 RCs is equal to $1, so you’re paying a bit of a premium for this option.)

Golden Nugget Atlantic City — Tuesday, March 16, and Thursday, March 18, exchange your comp dollars 2:1 for free slot or match play. Present your player card and ID to a supervisor at the 24 Karat Club.

Resorts Casino Hotel — Resorts periodically offers the option of converting a limited amount of comps to slot play (at a 2:1 ratio), but nothing is scheduled this month.

Revel Casino-Hotel — Every day Revel cardholders can convert Resort Dollars for slot play at a 1:1 ratio, but the daily amount is limited by your card level: Gold — $25, Platinum — $50 and Black — $100.

Recreational gambler Darryl D. McEwen, a former professional journalist, is president of his own consulting firm that manages several small national and international trade associations, and provides public relations and fundraising services for a number of charitable organizations. Have a comment on this or a question specifically related to an Atlantic City casino, players club or other promotion? Email Mr. AC Casino at MrACCasino@gmail.com and he’ll try to respond to you personally. Your question — without your name — may appear in a future column.

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