Understanding Comps

Getting a Host and Player Questions

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Written by Joshua

A player in a slot forum recently outlined the following and asked if they should have a host, and what it takes to get a host. They began by asking:

So who has a host? What does having a host mean? Should I have a host if I’m a low better? How much should I spend to get a host? I’m about to hit Diamond Plus with Caesars Rewards and I’m thinking I may be in host territory but I’m not sure.

Question on slot forum

We then learned a few more things, and the key details are as follows:

  • The person averages 3-4 hours a visit.
  • The person visits on average twice a week.
  • The person generally achieves $1,500 to $2,000 in coin-in a visit.
  • The person is about to reach the Diamond Plus level of the Caesars Rewards program.

Now, as discussed in the introductory piece around hosts, tier status doesn’t mean a thing. It’s all about the casino math around offers. So let’s look at it through that lens:

  • The player is visiting for a few hours a visit; presuming most of that is playing slots, that’s good. Casinos like to see 3-4 hours of play to avoid the worst of the short term swings involved with shorter duration visits.
  • The Diamond Plus level indicates some level of play, but it’s not difficult to earn tier credits either – they offered a full month of 5x tier credits to players as casinos reopened. They also lowered the requirements for 2020 by 20 percent, further improving the chances of securing it.
  • The biggest indicators that this is a no host situation is the coin-in and the trip visit frequency. By visiting twice a week already, there’s not much a host can be doing to spur on more visits. $2,000 in coin-in implies a theoretical loss of maybe $200 a visit. If a casino’s marketing spend for comps is between 20 and 40 percent of the theoretical loss, that’s $40-80 across free play, food and beverage, and hotel discounts and/or free rooms.

Unfortunately there’s not enough there to really encourage a host to step in and provide a business card. A $200 budget is decent for a trip as a self-described low roller like the original poster, but it’s about average for many locals casinos (MGM Springfield, for instance, shared in a press hit last year that’s the average budget for a player coming to their casino).

When you’re talking less than $100 in comp value per visit, the computer is going to do a fairly decent job of hitting the average well on what an offer should be. If it’s off, it’s only going to be by a few dollars one way or another.

Now, if you suddenly have a trip where you do $10k in coin-in, and you have a folio on property with the hotel and charges to potentially clear, they may be able to do something for you. They may be able to offer a food comp you aren’t otherwise eligible for, like what happened to a friend of mine who visited unannounced a property and they weren’t able to honor an offer because it had to be booked in advance. But they’re still going to be limited.

So what level will generate a host? The casino will determine what their floor is, but a theoretical loss of $500 a day gets you into a triple digit expected comp value of $100-200, and that is probably the floor for lower-end casinos, with double that in mid-tier casinos from number I’ve seen in the past, but may not reflect where things stand now.

The player asked how much they need to spend to get a host, but looking at the coin-in, this player is doing $16,000 in coin-in a month, an expected loss of something like $1,600 if playing lower denomination slots. That’s not trivial, butt he big mistake may be spreading the budget across 8 trips a month. If the same budget was put into 2-3 trips, you’d now have a $500-800 visit budget and may look more enticing, even though you’re spending just as much as you did before.

Having a higher trip budget has other benefits, such as a lower “risk of ruin,” meaning you may go home with money that could fuel a bonus trip, further growing your value in their eyes. But one also has to figure out what value a host would derive for you.

if it’s at a local and it’s something like a room comp you couldn’t normally get, more free play, food and beverage, access to special casino promotions, great. If they’re just going to give you what you already have and not much else, chasing a host is probably not worth it.

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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