Understanding Comps

The Key Benefits of Using a Casino Players Card

Stack of casino players cards
Written by Joshua

In the past I’ve spoken about why you should (almost) always use a players’ card. In short, the casino basically makes a deal with each player – use your players card and we’ll give you perks.

They want the data to better understand various player types and how they play, and the perks you get in return are built into the casino math of their revenue and expenses.

So in today’s piece I’ll cover the key benefits you get out of using a players card. There’s a surprising amount of value that’s derived from having one.

New Player Offers

When you first sign up for a players card, some casinos offer new player sign-up bonuses just for registering to get one. It can be small benefits like a food credit or a few dollars in free play, or it can be a complex, but rewarding, bonus based on the amount of play you do on your first visit.

Many times the new player offers are more generous than the offers that will follow. There’s two main reasons for this:

  • Casino marketers want to recruit new customers and woo them from their competition. Being more generous upfront helps reinforce a positive experience and encourages players to return.
  • Casino marketers also want to get a better understanding of the new player. So at the beginning they’ll pay a bit more so they can get more of a profile on the player, and understand which group they belong to (casino offers tend to be tiered based on the player’s category).

So if you’re new to a casino, even if you don’t think you’ll be back often (or at all), it’s worth checking into what the new player offers might provide.

Discounts Across the Property

Adjacent to the new player offers is the discounts that you can get across a casino property just for holding a card. Even though you may not be a higher tier, many casinos will give you a discount just for holding the card.

Why? More data. Casinos care not just about gambling spend, but non-gambling spend as well. They want to know the overall value a player provides, and that includes hotel, gift shops, food and so on. So they’ll give you reason to show your card and get that spend tracked as well.

Comp Dollars for Use On Property

Virtually every casino program has a comp dollar earning mechanism based on the amount you wager. Sometimes they don’t spell out clearly exactly how much you have to spend, but it generally ranges between $150 and $500 wagered on slots to get one comp dollar.

Comp dollars are effectively in-casino currency you can use to purchase items at participating outlets. Some casino properties have two tiers and some places require two comp dollars for every dollar spent; I’ve encountered this most often at food outlets in places like MGM Springfield and Seminole Hard Rock in Hollywood Florida, just to cite a couple of examples.

This is a guaranteed payback scenario, regardless of your performance in gambling. This comp dollar payback, as mentioned, is factored into the casino math. So if you choose not to use a players card, you are giving up a guaranteed portion of your expected payback. That’s not a good bet.

Casino Bounceback Promotions

Some, but not all, casinos offer what’s generally known as a bounceback offer. The general idea is if you return within some time window, usually 30-60 days, but sometimes less, you’ll receive bonus free play.

Similar to the new player promotions, the goal of such offers is to encourage another visit from a player within a certain window of time. Driving more visits is good business for casinos, and sending players additional offers helps to build loyalty.

Standard Casino Offers

Finally, there’s the standard casino offers, which are driven based on the player’s previous play. Each time you go to the casino, they track how much in total on slots you’ve wagered, sometimes called coin-in. They also track your actual wins/losses, any table play (although that math is usually much less precise), and so on.

If you play at a level that in their system warrants an offer, you’ll have some set of offers that cover free play, food and beverage, and/or hotel nights, depending on the level of play, the types of facilities the casino offers and so on.

Casino offers can make up 20 to 40 percent of your previous expected losses from your visits, so it too can be another form of guaranteed payback given when you go to the casino, you have that offer waiting for you.

Casino-Specific Perks

Beyond the above, which is pretty standard across most casinos, each casino program may offer you extra perks, which may include:

  • Community discounts or freebies, through partnerships a casino company has made within their community.
  • Fee reductions or waivers, such as resort fees, which can save those who stay on property additional money.
  • Access to special amenities such as a casino lounge, if you’re at the right tier.
  • Line cutting privileges over non-cardholders in certain scenarios, and further line cutting privileges if you happen to be a higher tier.

Casinos spend a lot of time, energy and money evolving their casino players card programs to attempt to balance the casino’s goal of bringing in players and making money versus enticing players with offers they find attractive and treating them with a level of affinity that implies a loyalty to those players.

As a player, know that using a players card regularly will maximize your opportunity to save, get freebies and be treated well by a casino. And, of course, the more you play and the higher your tier, the more likely you’ll get extra perks.

No player should ever play just to get perks. Instead, every player should maximize their benefits based on the entertainment budget they are willing to spend at a given casino on a given day.

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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