Casino Comps: What They Are and How to Use Them

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If you’re newer to casinos, or never used a players card before, you may be unfamiliar with the concept of casino comps. Even if you are somewhat familiar, you may not know what you can do with them. Here’s a question we received from a player:

What are casino comps and how can I use them? I’ve often used my comps to pay for extra food (if it cost more than my normal food credit) but my casino doesn’t have a hotel, so what else can I use comps for? And why do some casinos not offer comps at all?

Edna

First, let’s define casino comps, and then talk about what can be done with them.

Comps is short for Complimentaries, and are basically the freebies that casinos give to players as a way to reward them for their play. It’s not unusual for casinos to rebate 20 to 40 percent of a player’s expected losses in the form of various comps. Comps can take a few forms:

  • Upfront comps: These are the offers players receive by mail or email to entice them to come to the casino
  • Earned comps: This is generally the bucket of comp dollars players accrue as they play.
  • Discretionary comps: These are the kind that players occasionally here about and happened a lot in the pre-card days, such as a pit boss giving a buffet comp to a player who’s been playing awhile at a table game. But this also falls into the bucket of when hosts give players something extra as well, such as free play or show tickets.

In terms of what you can use your earned comps for, which is what it sounds like you’re asking, Edna, there’s a variety of ways comps can be used. It should be noted that some casinos may not have or allow all of the below, such as the lack of hotel in your case, but since others may benefit, here’s examples:

  • Comping meals (some players, like Edna, may receive a food credit, but earned comps can be used on top of it)
  • Hotel rooms
  • Show tickets for concerts and special events
  • Shopping in retail outlets, such as the Essentials shop
  • Experiences such as the spa
  • Conversion to free play
  • Use off property in certain cases through partnerships

If you’re not sure how you can use your comps at a specific casino, we always encourage players to chat with the players desk staff as they can give you a complete range of options available at your property.

As to why some casinos don’t give comp dollars, it’s usually because either they have a totally different rewards system that puts the emphasis elsewhere, or don’t believe they need to offer comps to entice players. That’s a risky position – one of the reasons the Revel in Atlantic City was considered to have failed was their inability to entice players with quality offers and comps.

But some casinos opt out of awarding comp dollars for various reasons, investing that money into other types of comps instead. And as long as players are comfortable with that approach, they’ll probably do fine. Each casino has its own structure for how it sets up rewards for players, and we always recommend players know how each works, selecting the casino that will give them the rewards they prefer.


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