How do casinos determine the competitions they give to players?
Much has been said about casinos and the games they offer. There are literally hundreds and thousands of books about everything from poker to slot machines, with each one featuring their own secret techniques that will be sure to make you win big or your money back guaranteed order now!
So, yes, casinos have largely been de-mystified by these books, blogs, and gaming systems. If there’s one thing that has remained a bit of a mystery in the glitzy world of casinos until now, however, it’s the comps system.
Smart Gaming defines comps as “an abbreviation for complimentary. They are the free goods and services provided by the casino to its players. Comps can range on the low end to free drinks and free valet parking all the way up to free room, food, beverage and transportation.”
While the comps system is most deeply entrenched in land-based casinos, it has also made its way to online casinos. Even the casino arm of UK-based betting service Betfair has its own VIP Club, which can be viewed at https://casino.betfair.com/promotions/vipclub/.
The mystery lies mostly in how you get comps. Some think it’s for high-rollers only. Others think it’s strictly limited to big winners. Still others believe that just dressing nicely will entitle them to free stuff. The truth of the matter is that casinos do rely on cold, hard science to determine player comps.
Casino math professor Robert Hannum of the UNLV Center for Gaming Research delves further into the math behind casino comp policies. According to Hannum, most casinos base their policies on a player’s “earning potential”, or the value that the casino expects to win from a single player.
“Many casinos set comp policies by giving the player back a set percentage of their earning potential,” explains Hannum. “Although comp and rebate policies based on theoretical loss are the most popular, rebates on actual losses and dead chip programs are also used in some casinos. Some programs involve a mix of systems.”
So, is an exact science? Not quite. Casino exec Dom Mezzetta says that beyond the data and calculations, human judgment is still an important factor.
“While comps can be data driven and scientifically measured, I have always advised the folks in the front lines to use the numbers only when they had no reference and to use their experienced judgment, making it more of an art in many cases,” he tells Southern Gaming.
Perhaps the most important thing that players need to remember about comps, though, is that what you get is often directly proportional to what you give. It doesn’t even matter if you win or lose. As long as you give the casino a lot of action, you’re bound to get a few freebies in return.