Casino comps have become almost mythical. So many gambling experts write about casino comps that players grumble the casinos are giving out fewer comps than before.
That is most likely true; as more people flock to casinos, the properties don’t need to create expensive incentive programs.
My dad remembers when a Las Vegas casino offered free hotel rooms for anyone who would visit Vegas in the 1980s. He doesn’t remember which casino that was, but my guess is that it was Steve Wynn’s The Mirage. At the time, it was the most expensive casino in Vegas.
Casinos make their money on the games. They only build hotels so that players have someplace to sleep and clean up in-between gambling sessions. They only build restaurants so that hungry players get back to gaming as soon as possible.
It makes sense that players should be awarded discounts on as many non-gambling activities as possible. That creates a more valuable experience for the visitors and their families.
Comps exist, and they will never go away. But you’re not likely to be handed a free hotel room in the near future. The casinos reserve the biggest freebies for whales.
So how can everyone else get more free stuff if the casinos are cutting back?
Here are the latest ways to improve your earn rate on comps.
1 – Take Advantage of Players Club Special Offers
The basic comp program for every land-based casino is their member rewards program. The player cards are a 2-edged sword. They not only award us points for playing time, but they track our activities.
Casinos plan their gaming and future rewards around our activities. One year my wife and I counted no less than six casino member rewards cards for each of us. We were playing that often at the casinos.
That was when I began to look at reward programs differently. I asked myself why it took so long for us to earn anything more than a sandwich.
The answer was right in front of us.
We were dividing our time between too many casinos. And, honestly, a couple of those rewards cards were for out-of-state casinos. We just signed up automatically.
To get to the better rewards, players must spend their time at as few casinos as possible. Variety is not only the spice of life. In towns where three or more casinos compete directly against each other, the casinos are paying off fewer rewards per capita.
When deciding which will be your favorite casino, weigh the differences in rewards programs along with other factors like game choices, parking, distance, and prices for their amenities.
Reward programs may differentiate between “status credits” and “rewards points.” Players need to earn status credits to advance to higher tiers. They redeem rewards points for discounts or freebies.
2 – Visit Casinos When They Offer Great Promotional Discounts
Here’s a simple example:
In August 2019, Caesars Palace in Las Vegas offered two complimentary breakfast buffets at the Bacchanal. At the same time, they ran a semi-annual sale, discounting hotel rooms by 25%.
Looking beyond the semi-annual sale, their benefits program page has a chart laying out what the four status levels give you. Just scanning reviews on TripAdvisor, I found people raving about the discounts and freebies they got for having achieved Diamond Status.
3 – Ask Friends to Transfer Credits They Won’t Use
Some rewards programs, like Caesar’s Rewards, allow players to gift credits to other program members. The rules may vary, but people who only visit casinos on rare occasions may have friends who visit more often.
It doesn’t hurt to ask someone you know well to transfer their rewards points to your account.
Study the rewards program rules carefully. Understand what you’re asking for before you do anything. The last thing anyone wants to do is inadvertently violate the rules.
The casino’s rewards program staff will explain what is allowed and what is not. If transfers are available, they should be mentioned in the rules.
4 – Limit Play to High Reward Games
This should be obvious to anyone who understands how rewards points are scored. The more money you wager, the more points you earn.
In most casinos, the earn rate for points is the same across a majority of games. I’ve noticed that table games may set special limits. Players earn points at a lower rate on certain types of wagers.
The other side of that coin is to watch your gambling budget. Playing games with a lower house edge like blackjack and baccarat helps you accumulate more points because your money lasts longer.
Players who only want to play slots should find machines with the highest theoretical return to player.
Video poker and video blackjack games may offer multiple points for multi-hand games.
It may also pay to do some basic math. One gambler realized that the Seminole Hard Rock casinos in Florida were awarding points at different rates on different slot machines. That’s an interesting story but not very useful if only a few casinos are doing this.
Without taking away from the fun experience, choosing the game that takes the least money or awards the most points and credits is an easy way to earn more comps.
If you’re not sure which games award better points, assume they are equal and play the games that have the best RTP.
5- Make Larger or Riskier Wagers
Players who only bet the minimum may be cheating themselves out of rewards points and credits.
While it makes sense to be conservative when playing with a small bankroll, raising the bet after a nice win is a way to increase the comps earn rate.
Some games may award points at a higher rate for larger bets. As always, check the rules before assuming that is so.
Some players feel that busy table games may cheat them of points. The pit boss may not always enter the right numbers into the system for players with cards. In a busy casino, the slot games you can play and video card games are more reliable.
By trading a little bit of player advantage for a high house edge, the comps come in faster. And a player needs a little variety to keep the experience fun and exciting.
6- Gambling Is Not Always Required
When traveling for business, staying at a casino hotel may earn points and status credits. If it fits the business budget, players can rack up points for use at a later time by staying at their favorite casinos.
Local residents often eat at the restaurants inside the casinos. Anyone who lives and works in Vegas can earn points throughout the year by signing up for a rewards program and eating lunch at the buffet or sandwich shop.
Resisting the urge to play a game or two on lunch break takes a little discipline. But the reward becomes sweeter as the unused points grow larger.
One tip circulating on the Internet is to trick pit bosses into recording higher average bets than you normally play. Say you sit down at a blackjack table. The minimum is $25, so you bet $100 until the pit boss enters your average bet into the system. Then you drop to the minimum.
This is a cheap, cheesy way to earn points. And there are other tricks, too.
I don’t endorse any attempt to game the rewards system. Maybe some casinos let it slide, but there is no reason to be greedy with comps. They are still freely offered and available everywhere.
Comps are a natural competitive business practice. The comps may evolve over time, but players should look forward to enhancing their gaming experiences with as many discounts and free offers as possible.
Even if you only qualify for free valet parking, accept it. That makes the time spent in a casino a little more fun.