Understanding Comps

Does Changing Denomination Impact Your Offers and Tier Status?

Stack of casino players cards
Written by Joshua

Know Your Slots has only been live a couple of months, but I’m excited to see questions from readers already starting to arrive. Keep them coming! We’ll include questions as part of the mix, as I’m sure if one person’s asking, others are wondering too. Here’s a question emailed in from a reader recently:

I am typically a higher limit gambler betting not huge but around $5 to $10 a spin or more. If I start betting in higher denominations, but potentially lower amounts, will this lower my Comp values and status with my home casino? I don’t want to lose the status tier level but have found that betting lower amounts at higher denominations (say $1 bet level at $2.50 a spin vs $.10 bet level at $5 a spin) I win more often and higher amounts on average. Would it be better not to use my card during the lower bet amounts?

Let’s take a look at this one step at a time. There’s a few pieces in play here, and each piece can matter.

Going to a Higher Denomination

Moving to a higher denomination generally has an impact when it comes back to the payback percentage of the average machine. As a general rule, casino slot executives will reward players betting on higher denomination machines with an overall better payback percentage. The thinking goes that the average bet on a higher denomination machine will be higher than the average bet on a lower denomination machine.

There are certainly games where someone could max bet at $5, $10 or even $20 a spin on pennies in a few cases. But most penny players bet significantly less – there’s plenty of players who will min bet at much lower numbers (such as an 18 cent Mighty Cash bet on pennies). And given the minimums are of course higher on the higher denomination machines, over time the higher limit machines will do more coin in.

Because there’s bigger bets going through them, the casino rewards it with a lower hold percentage, which means a higher return to player.

Does this impact comps? Generally, no, the denomination level itself at most casinos is not a determining factor. There are a few prominent exceptions to this: Venetian/Palazzo’s Grazie program offers comps based on the theoretical hold of the machine, for example. Since higher denomination machines have a lower theoretical loss expected as a percentage, they would lower your comp earnings accordingly to reflect that. But they’re definitely in the minority.

Changing Bet Amounts

You also mentioned lowering your bet at the higher denomination. This could impact your comps and tiers because you’re simply betting less if so. If you were betting $5 a spin at a lower denom, and are now choosing to bet $2.50 a spin at a higher denom, you’ve cut your bets in half. You could counteract it by doubling the time you play, which evens out the coin-in for the purposes of offer calculations, but most players aren’t looking to do that.

Less coin-in would impact your offers, and would slow down your progress towards maintaining or increasing your tier. However, if you just bet the same amount at the higher denom, you’re getting the better payback so you’d still come out ahead, but would also maintain your offers.

It’s important to remember that your offers are the product of your previous gambling history moreso than your future. If you have a trip where you bet a lot more or less, your offers are going to fluctuate anyway, so I wouldn’t get too caught up in it. If you’re getting bigger offers, you’re probably losing more money over time to get them anyway.

Meanwhile, most casino clubs are pretty transparent about how their tiers work, including how many points you need to reach a new level, how many dollars you have to bet for each point, and what perks you get at that level. So more important should be knowing you’re playing at a casino that gives you the perks you want for your play, whether it be offers, tier discounts and perks, etc. Again, you’ve already spent the money so you’ve earned the perks.

Always Use Your Card

Regardless of what you’re doing testing various bets, always use your card. When you don’t use your card you give up:

  • Comp dollars earned based on your play. Comp dollars are part of the overall payback when you gamble – in fact it’s the only guaranteed payback (slots you can win or lose on with any given spin, but the comps earning rate persists with each bet).
  • Recognition of your play towards offers. Let’s say you play for an hour on pennies at $5 a spin. Then you change to dimes, don’t use your card, and bet $2.50 a spin for an hour. You may see it as hiding a lower bet from the casino; the casino sees no play at all. They don’t know you’ve made all those $2.50 bets and your offers will simply drop further.
  • Tier credits earned from unrated play. Since maintaining your tier was mentioned in your question, note that unrated play is a bad idea if you want to make sure you get enough points to keep your tier.

I hope this helps you out – ultimately you should bet what feels good to you, at the level that works for you – if your comps slip a bit, I wouldn’t stress it because that probably means you’re spending less money and so you’ll have more of your own cash to use instead.

Have a question you’d like me to answer? Post a comment, or reach me through email via my Contact Form!

About the author

Joshua

My name is Joshua, and I’m a 30-something who works in tech as a marketer by day, and dabbles in casinos periodically during off-times. Know Your Slots will reflect my interests in understanding the various ways you can play slots, games that give you a potential edge, casino promotions and systems and how you can get the most out of it.

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