Understanding Comps

Will Cashing Out on Free Play Hurt Future Comps?

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Written by Joshua

This question came in recently as a comment on the blog:

Love the insight on of this! I have been searching out a place to ask this question because I received a lot of free play at a casino I tried for the first time this year.

I have always been an M Life patron but discovered a Harrah’s casino in Metropolis, IL about 2.5 hours from Nashville. I played slots there in January for an over-night trip and probably lost $1,200. I played again a month or two ago and lost maybe $900.

They sent me offers for August and September of $165 Mon, Tue, Wed, or Thu, $325 Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Total of $1,140 each week or $4,900 per month.

I went each weekend in August and cleared around $8,000 in winnings. I played with my money and did spend around $800 one night but the rest of the time I literally only played free play.

I have never had this much free play before!! Especially after I had only played two times there. It really makes me wonder about the aggressiveness of my play and if that factored into the high comps. I am wondering if they will uninvite me though after I do the same thing this month…

I’m going to focus first on your specifics, and then broaden out to other notes.

Caesars-owned casinos tend to calculate your offers based on what they call Average Daily Theoretical, or ADT. They don’t care so much about wins and losses as they do coin-in and the house edge on the games you play. If you lost $1,200, you may have done many more times that in actual wagers, and they would like that, so the offers sent over would be generous accordingly.

Normally a casino offer is anywhere between 20 and 40 percent of your expected losses, so if they sent you that much freeplay against $1,000 in losses per visit, on average, that’s around the middle of that range with a $325 free play offer, perhaps a bit generous but since you haven’t played there much it could be a teaser offer to encourage more play.

Whether your cashing out on those free play offers in August and September will gut your offers will likely come down to whether you played as hard as you did on the trips that encouraged those offers. If you just caught some good luck and still put in a similar amount of play, you may very well find the offers hold as the casino expects over time they’ll come out ahead. Or if you cut and run after a big win and your coin-in dropped a lot, you’ll probably see the offers drop accordingly.

The wild card is Caesars is now owned by Eldorado (even though they kept the name Caesars), and they tend to be much less generous with comps, so you may see the offers cut even if you did everything exactly the same. I’m already hearing of this from some Caesars players. Eldorado may favor a different formula that factors in wins/losses and that could hurt you too.

The other wild card is your visit frequency spiking may lower your ADT because you have more sessions in the system, or they may use visit count in their calculations – if they know you’re prone to having activity multiple days on a weekend they may shift to twice weekly offers or things where they only have to pay you once. Marketing has all sorts of ways of optimizing how much they pay out so they can get players to come without spending more than they want to over time.

More broadly, each casino factors in different data points. Some, like Mlife, have factored in your wins and losses – if you have a crazy good run at an Mlife casino it can hurt your offers; it can also hurt back-end comps with a host. So if you get on a winning tear with your free play against a number of visits, that may very well hurt you, but it simply depends on whether a casino factors that into the math.

So as you can see it’s a bit of a moving target, but ultimately the comps you got in August and September were earned by your previous play, so enjoy it, and if they keep it up, great, but if not, it sounds like you got a lot of good stuff out of it!

Even if your comps dip, based on the level of play I wouldn’t expect them to go to zero; if anything I’d expect a cut that may still be enticing, but not as generous, given the number of visits you ultimately have made as of late, going from two in six months to multiple weekly visits.

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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