Understanding Comps

Las Vegas Comps: Focus on the Strip, or Spread Your Wings?

Las Vegas strip at sunset
Written by Joshua

I’ve now taken more than 10 trips to Vegas – enough for the initial novelty to wear off, and for me to spread my wings beyond the Las Vegas Strip into other options. Initially, that exploration was limited to downtown Las Vegas, and then to off-strip properties.

For some, the strip is Las Vegas (even though it’s not actually Las Vegas in terms of geography), and so the preference is to play and stay on the strip. Those of us who know better know the strip is a challenging gaming environment with higher minimums, in many cases even more challenging slot machine paybacks (although it can vary), and ultimately may not be the best gamble.

Downtown is in many ways a step up – you’ll find better odds at some casinos on tables, better video poker tables more often than not and a mixed bag on slots vs. the strip.

Off-strip is a step better than that, with many casinos that are doing a good job of attracting locals and tourists alike, within many cases competitive offerings and generally better chances overall.

I like staying on the strip for at least part of my stays (which tend to last a week or longer given my location), so I usually have a plan of attack that maintains a couple of good strip offers while also seeding play at some off-strip and downtown locations to have some diversity in my offers.

Over time I’ve developed helpful offers at locations like Plaza, Mohegan Las Vegas, Palms and even Westgate that can supplement my strip with decent free play and food options along with the rooms needed to visit, while maintaining a set of offers at MGM properties that yield fair offerings.

Those of you who read the site regularly know my bet range isn’t that high, so it doesn’t have to be a crazy amount of money to make this happen, but my normal tips still apply:

  • Choose a couple of players clubs to focus on in any given trip to maximize your offers at the places you want to play and stay.
  • One of these should be your favorite option, and one that can deliver offers that meet your needs. For instance, MGM offers can be booked more than once with a three-day separation, and offer food credits with each booking, so I will many times bookend a trip so I get two shots at the food credit.
  • Pick options that can properly fill the gaps. If your MGM offers are anemic for weekend stays, having a property like Plaza that offers any night stays can be quite helpful to ensure you are fully comped while out there, and Plaza in particular isn’t a hard comp to achieve in my opinion.
  • Know what your budget can achieve – if you are a lower bet level player, swinging for Wynn rooms will certainly be tougher than a middle tier property, for instance. But you can still achieve rooms at some properties that are still quite comfortable – many of Vegas’s middle tier hotels are affordable and attainable for many gamblers.
  • Even if you can’t get fully comped, your play will qualify you for discounts, and those can still save you a lot of money, so arranging those scenarios with play at the right places can unlock money for gambling, shows, food, experiences, etc. thanks to saving you money on the stay itself.

About the author


My name is Joshua, and I’m a slot enthusiast 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, travel, casino promotions and how you can get the most out of your casino visits.

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