We get asked a lot about free play, and while many of the questions are pretty simple, it indicated to us it may be helpful to have a deeper dive into what free play is, how it works and how you can get it.
So that’s what we’ll go through today – this is your complete guide to all things free play!
What is Free Play?
Free play is offered by casinos for play in electronic machines such as slot machines and video poker. The idea is you’re able to play on the casino’s dime, and whatever is left over after you play it is yours to keep.
How is Free Play Used?
Free play is used on electronic machines in the casino that accept free play. The players card system will have you load the free play you wish to use onto a game. Some will add it right on as credits, just like cash; others will rebate each spin as you take it and your free play is active.
All free play has a playthrough requirement. In casinos it’s simply once through. So if you get $50 in free play, you have to make $50 in bets to play it through one time, and then you can choose to cash out or keep playing – it’s up to you.
What you can play it on can vary; some casinos restrict which games it can be used on. Particularly in Las Vegas, you might not be allowed to use it on Wide Area Progressive machines. Some casinos don’t let you use it on video poker machines. You may find certain machines labeled as not accepting free play as well.
How Do You Get Free Play?
Free Play is most often given as an enticement to visit the casino. But there’s actually a number of ways free play can ultimately be awarded (and this list isn’t necessarily exhaustive):
- From casino offers, customized for you based on your previous play at a casino
- From kiosk games, offered when you visit a casino (sometimes automatically, sometimes when you play a certain amount)
- From play to earn programs – some casinos may give you free play for playing a certain amount, or activate a game when you reach a certain number of points, similar to the kiosk offering
- From converting comp dollars into free play
- From casino drawings, such as hot seats or names selected based on active entries
- From patronizing casino businesses – some will offer Spend $X, get $Y offers at restaurants or shops as an enticement to shop or eat there
As you can see, casinos offer a lot of ways to attract free play.
Does Free Play Expire?
It certainly does. Some free play expires within 24 hours (or is only available on certain days). Other free play, such as that earned on a kiosk or through a drawing, may have a longer window of time before it expires. The players club desk can let you know when your free play expires.
For some players, using it right away makes the most sense. For others, letting it pool up and using it all together can make more sense, to offer more spins to make something happen on a tougher slot machine.
What is the Best Way to Use Free Play?
Our advice is to use it the same way you would use your cash budget. You can read more about our recommendations on how to use free pay here.
Free play is as good as cash for playing slots, so we recommend playing it exactly as you would cash. Once you’ve played it through the one time, you can continue making that cash work for you, but you can’t if you take a risk and lose it quickly on a handful of high denomination slot spins.