Can a Casino Overcomp Players? And Should They?

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Yaamava free play and point balance screen

Casino comps are often on my mind. Two competing stories in the gaming world collided in my mind mentally while thinking about this topic recently.

Recently posts were floating around some social media groups about a casino in Las Vegas, the Palms, and their offers to players. Some were confused as to why the offers were so wildly generous to players. 

I can to some degree understand it from personal experience. Yaamava’, which owns Palms, tends to be pretty generous to me too (as does Yaamava’ for that matter), and as such is a clear indication of their approach to driving players into a casino.

On the opposite side of the equation is a position paper issued by the company Acres, which asserts that free play yields a cost to casinos because when players are playing with free play, they’re not playing with cash, which means the casinos are losing out on money. 

They believe casinos should stop leaning on free play to drive players in to the casinos, and instead reward them as they play instead. And wouldn’t you know, Acres has a system to do just that.

I also can see the logic, but as a player who has gone to the casino as a result of the offers that are given (like those wonderful ones sometimes extended by Yaamava’,) I wonder if they’ve calculated the percentage of trips that would be zero’d out by players who would otherwise have come if an offer was made available to them.

Players do a bit of thinking when it comes to where they go. Many of us have choices, and casinos comp differently for a variety of reasons. My locals casinos extends to me free gifts weekly that don’t require an earning minimum to play (I wrote about this recently), but don’t offer much in the way of free play.

Yaamava’ is about an hour from me, vs. the half dozen or so casinos that are 30 minutes away or less from me. Their offers are considerably more generous on the same level of play, including the ability to layer free play, a gift and food on many nights of the week. I have to go out of my way to get there, but the offers make it worth it. And usually, they’re still making something off of me as with the longer drive I tend to stay a bit longer too.

Of course, casinos can and do account for distance already, but the level and quality of the offers still come into the equation. If a casino wants to be noticed, they can pay lots for marketing campaigns to try to stand out from other casinos on TV or billboards, or they can tweak the knobs on those offers to their existing player database to get our attention.

Acres makes a fair point when they say that casinos will be missing out on revenue through free play – although they also miss out on revenue when they make us wait in long lines, and casinos haven’t fixed that problem either. But a generous offer could drive incremental revenue with increased visitation that isn’t as clearly a possibility to players if you are instead awarded comps while on site and not to get you to the door in the first place.


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