By Jean Scott
Many players do not get the comps that they have earned because they aren’t sure how the whole system works. Although each casino has its own unique comp program, here are the three basic ways to get comps at a casino: through the slot club system; through direct-mail offers that come from a marketing department; and through the casino player-development department, using hosts.
The first one, the slot club, is great for the beginning gambler who’s learning the ropes of the comp system. Using your slot club points and talking to employees at the slot club booth might be all the occasional or recreational low-rolling gambler will ever need. At many casinos, especially where there is no cashback, the only thing your points can be used for is what I call “stuff.” The most common use is for food comps, which can range from a burger at a fast-food joint in the casino to a fancy meal at their gourmet restaurant. If the casino has many amenities, your points can get you endless freebies: salon and spa services, movies, gift shop merchandise, childcare, and even products and services at community businesses.
The second (direct mail) and third (slot and table-game hosts) systems should be mastered by more frequent gamblers, or those who play on a higher level, in order to get higher-level comps.
Although you may get food and other freebies through the slot club, the number-one way for most low-rollers all over the country, both table and machine players, to get room comps is through marketing departments who send out the offers in your mailbox once you have joined the slot club at a casino and become a part of their data base.
Taking advantage of mail offers usually saves you from using slot club points, so you can keep them for other comps – or perhaps for cashback if offered by this club. Point requirements for rooms are often higher proportionately than for food and other comps, so it’s gravy when a free-room offer shows up in your mailbox, especially when they throw in other freebies, as they often do – for meals, show tickets, tournament invitations, or shopping money.
Using the host system will let you reap more comps than just using the first two systems we have just described, especially if you’re a dollar-and-above player. In many casinos, some types of benefits are available only through a host, and using the host system does not decrease your slot club benefits or your direct-mail offers.
So learning your way around the host system can make the whole comp system more flexible for you, and be a great supplement to the other systems, even for the heavy quarter player. One poster on the Internet put it this way: “Getting comps at the slot club booth is like paying full price; getting comps through your host is like buying on sale.”
However, there are more benefits than purely financial ones for using the player-development system: Having your own host has great psychological impact. Good host programs are committed to a VIP approach, and everyone likes to feel important.
Bottom line: A smart gambler will often use all three systems, profiting from the unique advantages of each, to maximize the value of comp benefits.
If you want to learn more about getting comps and how to get more of them, you might want to read two books by Jean Scott: The Frugal Gambler and More Frugal Gambling. Go to her Web site www.QueenofComps.com to see her books and other products that will make you a smarter gambler.