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Best of Eric Rosenthal

Gaming Guru

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Why get a host? And which type?

18 August 2018

Hosts come in a number of different flavors. For simplicity’s sake, I will break them down into two categories: independent hosts, who may represent several different corporations or properties, and captive hosts, who are usually employees of a certain brand or property. Players can benefit from being clients of both types of hosts, and I recommend using both, just differently.

One of the most valuable sources of information on casino properties, including how eager they are to (re)invest in players, is independent casino hosts. These hosts (sometimes junket operators) typically represent a number of properties in tourist destinations. A good independent host can help you understand which restaurants and amenities are a hard comp or a soft comp and what each property is looking for before these comps are extended. Such details are critical in maximizing the value for your gambling dollar.

The most important thing about independent hosts is that they can verify your play at any property they represent and extend you offers from other properties, even ones that you’ve never been to. The better independent hosts operate almost like your agents, negotiating on your behalf to get the best upfront deals.

The overwhelming majority of independent hosts represent Caesars Entertainment Total Rewards properties. Even if you don’t particularly enjoy these casinos, giving them one good day of solid play on occasion can go a long way toward helping you gain comps from other properties, including those you’ve never visited. I’ve found great value in parlaying one trip with heavy play into comp offers from three or four new destinations around the country.

The required play to earn higher-end comps, such as airfare reimbursement, will vary greatly from property to property. The level of play needed for such comps will also sometimes vary cyclically at the same individual properties. This is where independent hosts can be particularly useful to their players. There is typically a theoretical value, or total action required, for higher-end comps, but that number isn’t necessarily static. From time to time, reinvestment from a casino may be increased, and higher-end comps may be approved for a lower level of play. This essentially puts that perk or comp “on sale.”

In my experience, having independent hosts actively involved on my behalf has made the difference time and time again in deciding where to stay or play. If all options are of equal quality (in terms of rooms, amenities, etc.), I’ll choose the place offering me the most to get me in the door.

This is not to say that I only use independent hosts. There is also real value in having relationships with captive hosts, or on-property hosts.

Most gamblers have a home casino that they visit regularly. At their home casinos, most gamblers who play a lot hope to be treated better than the average guest. Typically casinos’ (re)investment in player development is lower in this scenario because frankly they don’t need to try as hard to keep these players.

When it comes to getting comps from home casinos, working with an on-site casino host is usually the better option (over an independent host, who usually isn’t on property). On-site hosts can check you in before you arrive and block off specific rooms.

Also, if a problem comes up at the property, they can often deal with it more quickly and effectively given they are local. For instance, having an on-site host can be extremely useful when asking for extras should your gambling go poorly. As a result of working with captive hosts, I’ve been given additional discretionary comps, free play, and more when certain loss thresholds were met. However, note that this can vary greatly by property as well as by the discretionary authority of your particular host.

I’ve had to find the right mix of independent and captive hosts that works for me. That said, I would say that most of the effort has been worthwhile. You’d be surprised how much value is available to a player with the right relationships in place.

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.