I’ve been writing about slots for a long time now, and few topics seem to get players more riled up than those about players cards and payback.
Our recent article we published confirming players cards do not impact playback got a strong response on social. One player said we would need to “agree to disagree.” We promise this is not an opinion, but information sourced from those in the know.
Over time, we’ll be conducting more direct conversations with some of our partners in the casino industry to share their direct acknowledgement on topics like this, but today let’s take a look at the why – why would casinos not want to incentivize players to remove the players card.
This is the biggest one. Regulations restrict what can be done on a slot machine, and manipulating paybacks for any variety of reasons is one of them.
Slots have to work the same in all sorts of situations, and are certified by third party labs to ensure that they do what the companies say they are programmed to do.
Some players like to cite the lack of state or federal regulations on tribal casinos and so they can do whatever they want, but they can’t, for a variety of reasons as well. Tribes have their own gaming commissions, with their own rules that the manufacturers have to follow.
And manufacturers also take very seriously the concerns about their games being fair – if players think a game isn’t fair, they won’t play them, and that hurts the manufacturers’ ability to sell or lease the games.
It’s Too Much Effort
Players often say that casinos target their machines and paybacks through a players card. For the amount of money an individual person is putting into a machine, this is a lot of extra effort when slots, just doing what they’re designed to do, make more money for the casino than anything else.
Slots have a higher house advantage than table games, with lower overhead – you don’t have to have dealers at each slot machine like you do a table, and one slot tech can handle dozens and dozens of machines while one dealer can handle perhaps a half dozen players.
That extra $100 you think the casino is trying to take from you is a drop in the bucket compared to their bottom line – they don’t need to do anything nuts to win money from slot players.
Casinos Want Your Data
Why are casinos so aggressive in encouraging players to use a card? They want to know as much about you and your playing habits as possible.
The easiest way to get you to spend money at the casino is to get you to visit, and they do this through targeted offers, which are tailored to the type of player you are – what you play, how often you play, and how much you play.
Incentivizing players to play without a card is backwards to why the cards even exist – if they didn’t want you to use the card, they wouldn’t give back 20 to 40 percent of your losses in the form of offers, which is a very expensive amount of spend to get you to come back.
The data they learn from you can help them determine what type of games to offer, what denominations to offer, what offers bring players back who are like you, and so on. This data is increasingly valuable, and they’re not going to incentivize you to stop giving that data by having a way for you to win more without your card.
The inverse is ultimately true – you’re losing that 20 to 40 percent rebate when you play without a card, because the casino can’t give you offers for play that they don’t know about.
Casinos are not in the business of creating scenarios where you can exploit loopholes to be paid better. Pulling your players card to get better payouts is exactly the sort of thing casinos wouldn’t do.
But some players try to create connections, or remember the times when they did win after doing so, and will make those assertions.
The reality is simple – your long term payback will be the same with or without a players card. And if that’s the case, do you really want to leave money on the table by playing without one?