Everyone knows about casino comps. If you want earned comps and accept whatever the casino gives you, then all you do is sign up at the casino, play, and wait for the casino to email you their latest offer. But if you want to take your destiny into your own hands and get the really good comps, let’s step this up a level and talk about advanced comps.
You want the good stuff, not a mere buffet pass or an offer for rooms Monday through Thursday.
As you are reading through this, you should know that I don’t qualify as a high roller with my preferred casino. Because my play is focused mainly on odds and low house edge bets, my tier score (not my comp bank which is at 0) is a little over 14,000 points. That’s not all that high of a score for Caesars. I still have not qualified as a Diamond member for next year.
Let’s talk about comps and how to get more comps than you deserve.
First, let’s start off with a simple premise…
ROOM AND FOOD AT THE CASINOS
If you are playing at a casino, you should never ever pay for food. Talk to your host and make him pay for everything.
Also, demand that the host give you room. If they want a shot at your money, they have to house and feed you. I don’t consider room and food to be comps. The only comp I care about is free play and other freebies.
PICK A CASINO CHAIN OR LOCAL CASINO, BUT DON’T BE LOYAL
First off, you must be worthwhile to the casinos. If you are on a five-day vacation and your budget is $100 per day to gamble, you want a smaller local casino. If your budget is $1000 [per day] or more, go to Caesars Entertainment or MGM. If your budget is somewhere in the middle, I’d still give Caesars or MGM a shot, but I’d stick mostly to something like the Station Casinos if you’re vacationing in Las Vegas.
No matter which chain you pick, don’t be loyal to the casino. We’ll talk why, down below.
First, you need a host, so let’s find you a host…
HOW TO GET A HOST
A lot of people ask me how they can get a host. It’s simple. Go to the player’s card desk and ask where the hosts are. Then go speak to a host. Tell the host that you are a serious player and you are looking for a host. Tell them what you play and how much money you bring. When it comes to getting freebies from the casino, it’s okay to flaunt.
If you are a slot player, mention that you are a slot player, you love slots, but that you jumped ship from your last casino because their comps and free play dried up. You are implicitly threatening to leave if they don’t provide comps.
How To Know if a Host is Going to Be a Good Host
I ask for the hosts personal phone number or at least a business cell number that I can reach him or her at all times. If the host isn’t willing to take your phone call at all hours and on their weekends, they’re not worth my time. Some hosts work harder than other hosts. Some hosts are just slackers looking to do the minimum.
The Ultimate Test to Tell if Your Host is a Good Host
If your host is part of a chain of casinos, ask your host to set you up with a comp at a sister property. If the casino has a sister property in another city, ask if they will set you up in the other city. If they say yes, they’re a good host. If they give you a reason why they can’t then they’re not a good host. It’s that clear cut. I don’t care about excuses.
A REALLY GOOD REASON TO SIGN UP FOR PLAYERS CARDS
We’ve talked about reasons to not use a player’s card. There is one good reason to sign up and get a player’s card, and that reason is to use the offers from the other casinos as leverage against another casino.
A question I am often asked is whether or not a player should play at one property or two properties. Here is where it becomes a balancing act, and you have to decide for yourself what to do.
I prefer playing at two different properties for about an equal amount of time and action. I then wait for the mailer offers to come back. I then call up each host and show each host the competing offer at the other casino and see if they will beat that offer.
Have a screenshot of the offer from the host so they can see what they’re up against. Make the hosts bid against each other.
When negotiating with a host, it’s good to have some sort of ammunition to argue with.
THE HOSTS HAVE MORE ROOM TO NEGOTIATE
I received an offer of $200 worth of free play from my host. The host said he was being generous because the mailer offer was only for $10 in free play and some knock-off appliances.
I told him I was going to stay with MGM instead. He quickly changed his tune and said he would get back to me after speaking to his manager. The offers got better. I started getting better offers.
After I threatened to cancel a booked trip and head to a competing chain, he called me back four hours later and confirmed that he had $2500 in free play ready for me. When I checked in at the front desk, the front desk person saw the amount of free play and stated that she had never seen that much free play.
If you want better offers, you have to stand up for yourself, or you’ll be part of the legions of gamblers who complain about the crappy offers.
DON’T FALL FOR THE OFF-SETTING ‘COMPS’
You are worth what you are worth to the casino.
If a casino has you pegged at a theoretical value of $1000 per quarter to the casino, then you are worth $1000 per quarter, i.e., $4000 per year. If based on that valuation of $4000 per year, assuming that the casino will return 25% of your theoretical value in comps, you will be entitled to approximately $1000 in comps per year.
Sometimes, casinos will try to reduce the value of the comps by selling you overpriced items and convincing you that the item they’re selling you is ‘comped’. Don’t fall for it. It’s not free, you’re just paying for it via reduced cashback or reduced free play.
This is known as an off-setting comp, and it saves the casino money. For example, let’s say that you are entitled to $500 in comps. The casino would prefer that rather than giving you $500 in free play, that you take $250 in free play and $250 worth of their concert tickets, room, food, or prizes because those ‘bonuses’ are marked at full retail (or higher) by the casino.
That Celine Dion backstage pass may be valued at $500, but really, it may only cost the casino $100, if even that…although a handshake and pic with Celine is priceless.
Here is an example.
I received this mailer that has $750 in free play, room, and an invitation to a fancy celebration dinner. The dinner was free!
I then received this mailer for free play and a free room…
I asked my host to put in another request for $2500 in free play, and he said that was a one-time thing. He tried pushing is through, but management refused. Based on the various offers I received, it appears that the casino now has me comped at about $1500 per trip.
I asked my host if he could find me an offer based purely on free play and with nothing else. No other bonuses or anything. My host is always able to independently comp rooms, so I didn’t need to be offered a room.
Sure enough, this was the offer I received when the offer had nothing other than free play. Just plain old boring free play and no fancy dinners, concert tickets, or offers to meet Guns and Roses backstage…
So next time you get an offer to go see Donnie and Marie or Carrot Top for free. Just remember, it’s not really free. It’s an off-setting comp.
I’m not saying criticizing anyone’s choices or throw a wet blanket on your upcoming Las Vegas concert plans. If you’ve always wanted to see Celine Dion backstage or see Guns and Roses (that’s a real promo going around), then, by all means, do so. I just want you to know that you’re really paying for it and that it’s not really free. What you chose to do with your own money is your own free choice. We aren’t communists who would tell you how to live.
Oh, I’ve told you that if given a choice between table games free play and slots free play, always take the slot free play because the slot free play is worth about 85% – 95% of the face value of the free play, while table games free play are usually worth about 45% – 48% of the face value.
THE FINAL STRIKE
After I get my free play, room, food and beverage lined up, I then hit my host with the final request…airfare. It’s gotten to the point where my host knows I’ll ask for it, so he’s sent me a promo cost for limited airfare reimbursement every time I fly to Vegas. We have a mutual understanding that I’ll be there for at least a few days, and that I won’t use the airfare for my 8 to 12 hour Vegas trips, which I do regularly because of business.
Just ask. Print out a pic of my reimbursement photo below and tell the host, ‘My friend Robert George gets this offer for airfare, why do you give this to him and not to me?’
The worst your host can do is say no.
GET MORE COMPS THAN YOU DESERVE
I’m not a high roller. I’m an efficient gambler and know how to negotiate with the pit or floor supervisor to get a higher rating. I also know how to negotiate with the host (using the tactics I outlined above).
Next week, I’m going to show you how to bump up your rating at the table so that you get more comps than you deserve.
Let me know in the comments below if you have any questions or comments.