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 an online casino or bricks-and-mortar casino offers free incentives to keep you playing. These promotions are based on how much a gambler wagers, how often a visitor plays and which games that person chooses. 

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Online Casino Comps

As with a bricks-and-mortar casino, online casino comps are available to players. However, with an online casino, the comps are easier to come by because the games move at a quicker pace with many hands, spins and rolls making your points add up fast. Rewards systems will vary from casino to casino. Some online casinos will use a tiered system, giving you the ability to move up a level after you’ve reached a set number of points. Others include blackjack and slots tournament entries as part of their rewards system. It’s also common to see added bonuses on future deposits and game-specific promotions that lead to extra points and bonuses.

Bricks-and-Mortar Casino Comps

Most gaming establishments have employees whose job is to offer free items to customers. Pit bosses (the people who manage the floor staff and dealers at a casino) 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 them periodically. They might do this through emails, snail mail, newsletters, phone calls, etc. Most casinos will also issue VIP rewards cards, comps cards or have an app that players can use to track their points/rewards. 

Types of Comps

Casino 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-expenses-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 part of the promotional budget, so management provides these incentives knowing the player will probably gamble 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 casino clubs, sometimes called “players’ clubs” or “rewards clubs.” Depending on the individual establishment, these are an outgrowth of the traditional slots clubs that have existed since the advent of the electronic slot machine.

Any time a person begins play at the 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 will be issued an electronic card that 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, you’ll be 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 bricks-and-mortar casino because they combine a large house edge with machine efficiency. In many casinos in America, and even worldwide, slots account for up to 70 percent 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 Big Six Wheel, are likely to be counted alongside slots.

High Rollers

High rollers, sometimes referred to as whales or high-stakes gamblers, are players who consistently wager large sums of money. Because of their willingness to spend such extravagant amounts of money, high rollers receive the best casino comps (top rewards like extravagant vacations, luxury suites and large cashbacks). 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 are also given the opportunity to use casino markers. These are lines of credit offered by the casino to their high rollers. Usually you can only get markers if your wager is over $10,000 and you have a history with the casino. In order for a player to play using markers, they must undergo a background and credit check and if approved, they sign a type of IOU to the casino. Though casino credit is not always a part of the casino comps package, they are a major perk for high rollers since you won’t have to carry large amounts of cash on hand when you’re playing.

Comp Hustlers

Comp hustlers are people who try to game the system (pun intended). These people 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 shady 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, although it is not recommended as you could get kicked out and banned from the casino.