I’m often asked how travelling and local players to a particular casino can maximise their shot at “complimentaries” – free items / cash provided by the casino in return for play. There are a few basic rules:
1) If you’re playing in ANY Casino, always look for a Players Club desk. If they have a players club, then they give comps / points you can exchange for comps! As long as membership is FREE, join up. Do this whether you live in the immediate area or not. There are generally always free gifts upon signup (sometimes a pen, sometimes a cap, sometimes free slot play). And regardless of how long you stay, if you use your players club card on the property whilst gaming on the slots or at tables, you’re earning SOMETHING in points. In some casinos that could be a tiny amount, in others it’s going to be a lot larger.
2) For table games, assuming you’ve now got a players card, always feel free to ask for a Pit Boss, and ask them about their comp policy – i.e. how much play is required for a particular complimentary item (like a buffet etc). They’ll soon tell you if they have discretion to write comps at the table, or whether all comps must be approved / paid out by the players club. Where pit bosses have discretion, you’ll generally get better comps – so this is worth finding out in advance. In the US, 2-3 hrs of $10 – $15 a hand blackjack play should get you a buffet. 4-6 hrs of $25 – $75 a hand blackjack play should get you a room for a night. Those rates are of course just indicative – every casino will be different. Outside of the US, you’ll generally need to play a lot higher for a lot longer to get those benefits.
3) If playing slots etc, ALWAYS use your players card whilst playing. Check that the machine says the card has been “accepted”. Every point you earn whilst playing is working towards those comps you want!
4) If playing slots, ask the players club about BONUS POINT DAYS – some casinos might give 5x points for playing on a Thursday for example. Find out about those days and maximise your play. Table games are generally excluded from Bonus Point events – however there are often special promotions in place for players.
5) Ensure that you’ve provided a mailing address, and that you have opted-in to receive both mail and email promotions from the casino. If you are chosen by the casino marketing department to receive mail (based on casino location, your location, and the amount you’ve played in the last few visits) then you’ll gradually start to receive special offers in the mail. These are always play dependent, but can range from slot matchplays, to FREE cash, to FREE meals, to FREE or discounted casino room rates, to FREE promotional merchandise – all are designed to bring you BACK to the CASINO, so that you’ll get your freebies but continue to play. Email promotions can be excellent also – you can get these from most casinos not only by signing up for a players card, but also by visiting their websites and signing their “guest book”. I recently received an offer from Hard Rock Casino for FOUR FREE room nights, just for being on their email list. No conditions, just some specific dates that were available.
6) In larger gaming meccas, where competition amongst casinos is high, you’ll often find casino promotions people giving out literature / flyers on the street for various freebies / promotions. Always take these and have a read. On the whole they represent a chance to get “something for nothing” – well, nothing more than walking inside and potentially sharing your details with the casino. Sometimes its a free coffee or bar drink, sometimes a free pack of cards, sometimes its something more substantial. One of my earlier posts in this blog refers to how I maximised a Walk-In promotion (requiring multiple visits) in London to get a free DVD player (and in another casino, I got a Mont Blanc pen, value £250, just for making 4 visits inside).
7) If you play at a high-level (i.e. blackjack at $50 or more per hand, roulette for $100 or more per spin, slots at $10 a spin or more etc) then ring the casino you want to visit and ask to speak to a VIP Host / Casino Executive Host. If you’re willing to agree to play at those levels for a set time period during your visit, you’ll be surprised at what these people can do for you. They have the ultimate discretion when it comes to providing comps for players. If they think that the casino can make good money from you in the long term, they’ll shower you with good fortune. VIP Hosts are not for everyone – but certainly ask if you think you qualify – the rewards can be great (dependent on your host, and the casino itself).
8) In any casino, in any country of the world, ASK, ASK, ASK about the comp policy. Ask the players club. Ask the pit bosses. Ask a floor manager. Ask a slot host. Their job is to keep you on the premises, happy and playing the games. If there’s items they’re allowed to give you for free, they will do it. If you don’t ask you don’t get – never be afraid to ask for what is rightfully yours!
I hope that these basic items of advice help you to get more and better comps!