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Best of Eric Rosenthal

Gaming Guru

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Taking advantage of promotions

28 July 2018

Casino promotions are a form of inducement to bring players in at a time that revenue or occupancy is expected to be lower than desired. These promotions come in many different formats, with varying expected values and durations. Some of them even provide long-term benefits. Sometimes the value of a promotion is straightforward; other times it’s fairly subjective, so the expected value will vary from person to person.

The most interesting thing to me when it comes to straightforward promotions is that many of them will drive more play, but marketing offers based on the average daily theoretical are rarely adjusted based on the promotion that generated that play.

For the right promotion, I will give substantially more play than I would typically. This is particularly relevant at casinos I don’t visit often. With less history to pull from, such casinos will view me as a much larger player than I would normally appear. When combining promotions with group gambling (where partners pool their bankrolls under a single player on a rotating basis), one can really put up a large theoretical number and get noticed. That’s when the marketing offers and substantial comps start coming in.

One key type of promotion that can be exploited this way is loss rebates. Usually the casino will cap the rebate at too low of a number to move the needle for a single player regardless of that person’s bankroll. However, there have been notable exceptions.

One somewhat recent example was at the former Revel in Atlantic City. That casino offered a loss rebate of up to $100,000. On the last day of the promotion, giving heavy action (from a pooled, group gambling bankroll), I appeared to be a much larger player than I generally am. All of my additional play was solely due to the loss rebate promotion, but it didn’t matter. Marketing was offering me thousands of dollars per month in free play to come back in, even though I had to come in anyway to claim my weekly loss rebate from the promotion. This type of promotion is unlikely to happen again, but the way in which it was exploited is still relevant today.

Many games offer a very slim house edge, and when the right promotion is applied, these games can actually become positive expected value net of comps and promotional offerings. Actual results will vary, but there are promotions regularly offered that if taken advantage of, the player should be able to find an edge. If a player were to put large amounts of coin in on a promotion where an edge is expected, all of the marketing offers that follow are just gravy.

Smaller promotions can also be used as a cheaper way to get to a desired tier status within a casino or brand loyalty program, should the benefits be worth it. Play under these promotions is typically treated just the same as any other for the purpose of moving up in tier status.

Some casinos offer cash back or comps at an elevated rate as a player climbs up the tier status chart. This can be largely beneficial for future play down the road at much higher earn rates.
Subjectively-valued promotions, which I mentioned earlier, have no discernable cash value to the public.

Most commonly these promotions offer a bonus for tier status or something similar. Caesars Entertainment frequently offers tier credit bonuses and promotions that give players accelerated access to top tier benefits for a fraction of what would otherwise be required. The value of these perks is totally dependent on how often the player can or wishes to take advantage of them.

No matter your reason for taking advantage of promotions, you can receive immediate as well as residual benefits from showing that additional play, even on games with a low or nonexistent house edge.

Eric Rosenthal is a co-host on the Vegas Confessions podcast and is a featured speaker at ZorkFest.
Eric Rosenthal

Eric Rosenthal is a writer, podcaster, gambling and travel enthusiast. By combining his knowledge of travel and casino loyalty programs, he teaches people how to travel and maximize value for their gambling dollar. Eric is one of the featured speakers at the Casino and Travel Loyalty Conference ZorkFest, where he shares his passion for what he calls Comp Harvesting.
Eric Rosenthal
Eric Rosenthal is a writer, podcaster, gambling and travel enthusiast. By combining his knowledge of travel and casino loyalty programs, he teaches people how to travel and maximize value for their gambling dollar. Eric is one of the featured speakers at the Casino and Travel Loyalty Conference ZorkFest, where he shares his passion for what he calls Comp Harvesting.