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Casino Comps

One of the best ways to lower the house edge when gambling is to max out your casino comps. "Comp" is short for complimentary, meaning a casino offers free incentives to continue playing. These promotions are based on how much a gambler wagers, how often a visitor plays, and which games that person chooses.

Most gaming establishments have employees whose job is to offer free items to customers. Pit bosses sometimes offer comps, whether to reward high stakes gamblers or to calm nerves when a dispute happens. The promotional staff maintains a database of players and contacts these people periodically. They might do this through emails, snail mail newsletters, and phone contact. 21st century casinos issue player's cards or VIP rewards cards. Using these electronic devices, operators keep track of the exact amount of gaming activity each player experiences.

Types of Comps

Comps come in many forms, depending on the casino resort and the type of gambler involved. Casinos offer free hotel rooms, freebie meals, tickets to shows and concerts, plane tickets, all-expense paid vacations, casino chips (house money), cashback, and merchandise. These player rewards are similar to the rewards offered by platinum-level and gold-level credit cards.

These freebies are a part of the promotional budget, so management provide these incentives with the knowledge the player gambles a little longer. The house edge takes care of the rest.

Casino Clubs

These days, executives for most major and many minor gaming operations around the globe have instituted casinos clubs. Sometimes are called "player's clubs" or "rewards clubs", depending on the individual establishment, these are an outgrowth of the traditional slots clubs which have existed since the advent of the electronic slot machine.

Anytime a person begins play at a new casino, they can (and should) sign up for the rewards club. This enters the gambler into a corporate database. The player then receives promotional material from that casino, reminding them of special hotel rates, junkets, gaming events, tournaments, shows, exhibitions, new additions to the gaming floor, and other news. In exchange, the player is issued an electronic card which is scanned each time they play. This keeps track of the amount of money wagered by the player. When plateaus are reached, rewards are triggered.

Slots Clubs

The most iconic form of rewards card is the slots card. Again, the gambler is given a card with a coded electronic strip. Before a person starts playing a slot machine or video poker machine, the player needs to slide this card into the machine. Every wager made during the time the card is in the machine is credited to the player. Once again, this activates various promotional rewards.

Slot machines are the main source of revenue for a casino, because they combine a larger house edge with machine efficiency. In many casinos in America and even worldwide, slots account for up to 70% of the gaming revenues collected by casinos. For this reason, a person is likely to earn player rewards for playing the slots at a faster rate than most other games in the casino--certainly faster than blackjack, baccarat, craps, and video poker. Games with a high house edge, such as Keno and the Big Six Wheel, are likely to be counted alongside slots.

High Rollers

High rollers receive the best comps. On the above list of incentives, top rewards like vacations, luxury suites, and major cashback are offered. These benefits are similar to the exclusive bonuses offered on the Visa Black Card and other high-end credit cards. When gamblers play for top dollars, they are heaped with luxuries and elite status. Players should note that these are considered an investment by the casino, because management knows they will make back more than they offer (in most instances). 

High stakes gamblers also are given the opportunity to use casino markers. "Markers" are credit offered by the casino to their high-volume players: usually those who wager $10,000 or more. When a gambler wants to play using markers, they undergo a background check and credit check. If approved, they sign IOUs to the casino. In most states, markers are viewed as cashier's checks--not short-term loans. Though casino credit is not always a part of the comps package, they are a major perk high-dollar gamblers receive.

Comp Hustlers

Comp hustlers use underhanded tactics to maximize their complimentary benefits, while minimizing their exposure to the house edge. Hustlers limit their risks by playing games with a low house edge, though their methods go beyond merely finding the best games to play. This type of patron might make large bets when the pit boss is checking their wagering to measure them for comps. Such a player might take long breaks in order to bet lower amounts per hour. Playing slower is another way to manage risk. While hustling the casino takes guile and patience, hustling the comps system is a rare example of advantage play.

Online VIP Rewards

Online casinos have their own system of VIP rewards. Like brick-and-mortar casinos, the operators on the Internet offers a great variety of rewards programs and incentive packages. All of the benefits of the land-based gaming locations are copied online, though players also receive entry into freerolls and bonus credits. Online loyalty programs also offer free passes into online satellite events, as well as land-based poker tournaments.