Chances are if you’re taking a trip to Vegas you’ve set aside a few bucks to play a few spins on slots or a few hands of blackjack during your stay. Like almost everyone that comes to Vegas a part of your trip will surely be spent gambling at one of the endless casinos in the city. The good news for you (and bad news for the casino) is that they all more or less have the same product (casino games) and need to work hard to distinguish themselves from competitors. One of the ways that they do this is through marketing an exclusive reward or comp program for their property.
The premise is simple, sign up for a reward club card before you play, and if you play slots put it in the machine, and if you play table games give it to the pit boss when you buy-in. The card will then track your play and for every $1 you spend you’ll begin accumulating points that can be converted into real life comps like dinners, show tickets, casino play and so on. Furthermore, the casinos marketing department will also use the data from your play to determine what types of future offers you would be eligible for when you return to the property.
Now for those of you thinking that this is something reserved exclusively for high rollers, you couldn’t be more wrong. The landscape in Vegas has changed a lot and casinos now more than ever are looking for incremental revenues and using database marketing to determine who to send what to. Where this benefits the player most is when you have no history or reward card with a particular casino. For example, a few months back I signed up for an M Life card (includes all MGM owned hotels) and played through about $150 in a slot machine on a walk over to the Shark Aquarium at Mandalay Bay. About 2 months later I received an email offer including 2 free (comped) nights at Mandalay Bay and a $100 resort credit that can be used for food, retail, etc. The value of that offer is likely around $500 but the casino is basically fronting this cost with the assumption that you’ll put in time in the casino when you return, and regardless of winning or losing as long as you play you’ll continue to receive marketing offers.
Next time you’re in Vegas, if you’re going to gamble anyways why not sign up for a reward program and concentrate some play there, it can really help you save on costly hotels each and every time you come back. I’ve been going to Vegas for about 12 years now and haven’t paid for my hotel room for about 8 of those years. Sure I’ve lost in the casino, but I’ve also won, and I can tell you, there’s nothing like going home a winner from an all expenses paid trip to Sin City. Currently the two most popular comp programs in Vegas are MLife (Aria, Bellagio, MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay, Monte Carlo, NY NY, Excalibur) and Total Rewards (Caesars Palace, Flamingo, Harrahs, Ballys, Planet Hollywood, Rio, Paris, The Cromwell).