Using Mail Comps Wisely

by Jean Scott
Here are some tips for using mailed casino comp offers wisely:

1. - You are usually not required to play during the time of your stay; they won't look at your playing record on checkout and charge for the room if no play is shown. And if you have a long history of play on other visits to this casino, it might not hurt your record. However, not playing when you're staying on a free-room offer is usually the very best way to stop the offers from this casino "littering" your mailbox.  

2. - Your speed of response in calling and accepting room offers is crucial. Often all the rooms set aside for a particular offer are booked up quickly. However, if you call as soon as you get the offer and still find all the rooms gone, you can sometimes speak with "insistence" to a supervisor and a promotional room may suddenly be found for you.

3. - In trying to establish yourself at a number of casinos in order to get mailings, try to play enough when you first get your slot card to get to the minimum redemption level for cashback. Some have suggested that this often seems to be the key to getting entry-level mailings.  Many casinos base their mailings on frequency of play and/or long-term playing history, another good reason to concentrate your play at one or two core casinos.

4. - If you want to get a high-level offer from a top casino resort where you have never played, concentrate your heaviest possible play in your first play day.  I have known some high rollers to get extremely lucrative mailings for a long time after just this one big-play day.  

5. - Read carefully any mail offer for a free room -- some casinos will require a credit card to hold the room, but will not charge anything on it. Others do actually charge one night’s fee to your credit card, even with a free-night promo; then when you check in, the front-desk clerk is supposed to remove this charge from your card. Be sure to ask for a credit receipt at this time.  If it is forgotten, there is often a hassle to straighten it out later by phone. I’ve seen a few free-room offers that have a no-cancellation feature. They charge your credit card for one night and, even if you cancel the reservation far in advance, they will not issue a credit. (That's how casinos occasionally report more than 100% occupancy rates!). We have found that in some casinos, if you're a very good customer – some of these we've been going to for many many years – they won't even ask for a credit card to hold a room reservation, but will ask you, as a courtesy, to cancel a day or two in advance if at all possible.

Is it possible to get into a casino database and possibly score a room comp before you have ever visited the particular casino?  Here are some things that have worked for savvy visitors who play the comp game:
1. Join the slot club by phone or online.
2. Visit the casino web site and sign in as a guest.
3. Write for information before your visit.  (As an added benefit, you will sometimes be sent coupons, funbooks, or small souvenirs.)
4. Apply for casino credit. At some casinos, applying for a line of credit will bring mail offers, often for a free room for two or three nights, even before you join the slot club. (A caveat: Be sure you can handle casino credit lines with discipline. It's all right to stay on these offers without tapping your approved credit line, but do not take markers at a casino where you have a credit line without showing any play. Casinos don't look favorably upon taking a cash advance to play at another casino or to make interest-free purchases.)Although applying for a line of credit may help get you some comps at a new casino initially, future comps will be based much more on the amount of your play.

Jean Scott is one of the country’s most renowned and successful gamblers and has appeared on many TV shows, including 48 Hours, where Dan Rather gave her the nickname of Queen of Comps. Her first book, The Frugal Gambler, has been a best-selle. She also wrote a sequel, More Frugal Gambling, and a tax guide for gamblers. She provides a complete resource package for video poker players, from beginners to the experienced. She also has two other books: Frugal Video Poker, and the must-have Frugal Video Poker Scouting Guide.  Her Web site is www.queenofcomps.com