Casino comps are the basic system through which casinos reward their customers, in this case, gamblers. Just like grocery stores and restaurants have loyalty programs, so does just about every casino in the world.
The exact benefits you receive will be dependent on a wide range of factors. These include where you’re playing, what you’re playing, for how long, and at what stakes. No two comp programs are the same and it’s crucial to understand how each one works.
Think about comps as a cash back system. While you’ll not always see your rewards in the form of actual money, you will effectively be given a kickback for your expected losses. The casinos generally work according to expected, or theoretical, losses.
There aren’t any games (with rare exception) that players will profit from long term. So casinos reduce their bottom line profits to give players a bit back. Comps show appreciation for the customer and work toward keeping them coming back.
Why do casinos give players comps?
The basic reason that casinos give comps is because they are expected to. Since every casino brand today has a reward program, the casino that abstained from one would quickly lose business. This is especially true for casinos that have a large base of local, regular players.
Comps make players feel valuable and even special when they are gambling. There is a common misconception that only high limit, big time gamblers are privy to comps, but this could not be further from the truth. Even the smallest of players will receive some level of comps for their play.
How can I get comps when I gamble?
Getting comps for your play is usually very simple and straightforward. In the majority of casinos, you will be asked to sign up for a players card. As long as you have a proper photo ID (like a passport or drivers license), you should be able to sign up in a matter of minutes. The best way to sign up for a new players card is to go to the rewards program desk. They will ask for your basic information and create an account for you on the spot.
Some casinos have special offers for new players club members. Be sure to take advantage of these when you are making a new account.
If there is no desk to create a new account at your casino, or if it is closed for the day, you will usually still have options. At the slots, call a slot attendant and ask them to create you a card. For table games, the on-duty floor person should be able to make you a new card.
To be credited with your comps, simply put your card into the machine when playing slots or video poker. If you are playing table games, give your card to the dealer. You will be swiped into the system, at which point you will be rated for your play based on game type, average bet size, and length of play. Machines will usually tell you how many comps you are earning as you play, but a floor person can update your comps as well if you ask.
Seek out a host
If you are playing at larger limits, whether it be slots or table games, you should also seek out a host. A host will serve as your personal contact at the casino. This is the person who can reserve a hotel room for you, give you a special food comp, or provide you with free play. Any gambler who puts in decent volume, by stake, length of play, or both, should ask to have their own host.
Do I have to gamble a lot to get comps?
Absolutely not. As a matter of fact, earning comps is a lot more about length of play than simply the size of your bets. A player who wagers $20/hand for hours at a time is worth much more to a casino than a patron who bets $100/hand for a half hour.
Consistency and longevity is what will earn you the most comps, and in turn, the highest player reward levels. Now, if you generally only gamble at very low limits for small amounts of time, you will still have a tough time earning substantial comps. With that said, you should still use your card as you have nothing to lose.
Many casinos increase the rate at which you earn comps based on your past play. There are tiers of player cards. The lowest level players may receive one point per $10 at slots, while the highest volume players may receive one point per $2 wagered on slots, for example. This is why it generally makes most sense to commit to building volume and history at one property or gaming brand rather than spreading your play across multiple casinos.
Which casinos give the best comps?
Casino comps vary wildly across the country. For example, California casinos are notoriously stiff when it comes to comps. This is because the lack of geographical competition means benefits do not have to be very generous to attract players. On the opposite side of the spectrum, the resort towns of Las Vegas and Atlantic City at just about every property due to the intense competition between casinos.
As a general rule, the big brands like Sands, Caesars and MGM have fixed, easy to understand player programs. You can locate their rules and guidelines by going to their websites. From here, you will also be able to determine which casino(s) offer the best benefits for your particular games and limits.
Take advantage of a player reward program by understanding what is most rewarded. Some casinos reward slots more than others, so if you play slots, you should seek out these locations. Conversely, casinos may offer extra comps if you play on certain days of the week or hours of the day. Take advantage of the particular benefits that any casino has to offer.