How Does Casino Free Play Work?

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Ticket into slot machine

As an enticement to get players to visit a casino, casino offers are extended. One core component for slot players is free play – this is, in essence, a bucket of comps that a players can play on a slot machine of their choice (with exceptions, which we’ll cover in a moment) and whatever they win is theirs to keep.

One critical component of free play is it has to be played through a slot machine (or oftentimes other electronic games like video poker/keno) once. This differs from offers extended in the earlier days of casinos where they would outright give you cash. The problem with that is someone could come in, claim the cash and leave, without having gambled a single dollar.

Free play, by comparison, gets a player to sit down and play. Of course, once a player is playing, it’s the casino’s hope that a player will keep going, which isn’t an unreasonable expectation, as many players do. (A similar concept exists with free bets or match play bets, which also encourage a player to play, in this case at table games.)

Free play can be issued in other ways. Some casinos will do a play to earn opportunity, where hitting certain milestones will yield free play. Some will let you convert your earned comps, which accrue as you play and are separate from offers, to free play.

Free play can work in one of two forms: One approach will download the amount you select from your balance to a machine, and once you have bet through it once whatever was won off of free play can be cashed out when you’re ready. The other will rebate your wager after every spin. In this format, if you bet $1, after the machine awards whatever that spin won, the game will then add $1 back to your balance from the free play.

In both cases, playing through that first time is a requirement, but then whatever is left over after playing through it is yours to do what you wish – take home, play with, etc.

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