Put Uncle Sam’s Money to Work With Tax Day Deals

Don't be irresponsible with your tax refund check—take it to the casino!

It’s tax time, which is a good thing if you’re one of those people getting a little something back from your withholding. Retailers all over the country will use “Tax Day” as a marketing hook, with deals and special offers of all sorts. But only in Las Vegas can you use your refund check to make more money: Cash your check at El Cortez, the Cannery or Eastside Cannery, and you can bag a bonus of $10 to $100.

The offer at El Cortez is a bonus of 5 percent up to a maximum of $50. It’s paid in free play, but if you play it through only once, it’s almost the same as cash. At the Cannery and Eastside Cannery, there’s a tiered bonus schedule that runs from $10 to $100 in free play, starting with checks of at least $500. So while it’s possible to get more at the two Canneries, the deal isn’t as good on a percentage basis, where the amount of the bonus is only .5 percent to 2 percent of your check. For example, if your refund is $600, you get $10 on the Cannery schedule. But cashing that same $600 at El Cortez gets you $30.

Since the El Cortez bonus maxes out at $50, it’s obvious that you should cash any check up to $1,000 there (5 percent of $1,000 is $50). But what about refund checks of more than $1,000? It turns out that it’s usually better to cash those at El Cortez, too. Take a look: Let’s say you have a juicy $3,000 refund. El Cortez will pay you 5 percent on the first $1,000 only, while Cannery pays on the whole $3,000. But Cannery’s schedule returns only 1.33 percent, and 1.33 percent x $3,000 = $40. You’re better off with the $50 at El Cortez. In fact, the best strategy is to cash any check up to $4,999 at El Cortez. At $5,000, the Cannery bonus jumps to $60, which makes it the better choice for checks at or above $5,000. The next level up is the $100 maximum, which is paid on checks of $8,500 or more.

So that’s the deal on free money. In addition, a few other properties have announced Vegas-style tax-refund deals:

Arizona Charlie’s Decatur and the Riviera are holding Tax Day drawings for cash. The drawings at Charlie’s run daily through April 15, while the Riv drawing is on the 14th. Tickets are earned at each by playing the games (with a players card) in the casino. Also, a bonus of $10,000 will be added to bingo sessions on April 15 at Palace, Boulder, Texas, Sunset, Santa Fe and Red Rock Stations; $2,000 will be added at the two Fiestas. Finally, check the newspapers this weekend for players-club bonuses. Silverton has already announced that it will pay 14X points on slots on the 15th, and I can all but guarantee that this won’t be the only points-multiplier in town.