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Best of Chris Sieroty
Chris Sieroty

Vegas casino offering $100 in cash back for gamblers

3 June 2011

LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- It's been about six months since The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas opened for business. While the luxury resort's one-of-a-kind bars, restaurants, shops and rooms have been a hit with visitors, its casino's performance has lagged others on the Strip.

Now the resort is betting a $100 on each visitor gambling at its casino with its "100 Reasons" promotion.

The campaign will give each gambler a $100 "in Identity play" if they lose $100 in one day. All anyone has to do is "bring your card to the identity membership desk and we'll reimburse you $100 in Identity play."

Identity is the name of the player's card program at The Cosmopolitan.

"We will continue to create promotions for both existing and potential Identity members," said Lisa Marchese, senior vice president of brand marketing for The Cosmopolitan. "The Identity membership program is a unique program, which values a guest's total spending across the property."

Don't have an identity card? Don't worry about it. The Cosmopolitan will match anyone's points from any other casino in Las Vegas. Just bring a rewards card to the Identity membership desk.

"The 100 Reasons promotion is a great way to drive guests to the property whether they are locals or out-of-towners," Marchese said.

For the first quarter of 2011, The Cosmopolitan generated $31 million in revenue from gaming, compared to $57.6 million from its bars and restaurants. The Cosmopolitan generated $104.9 million in the first quarter.

Those numbers are far less than neighbors, Bellagio at $251.4 million in net revenue and Aria at $225 million. Both Bellagio and Aria benefit from an established database of customers built by owner MGM Resorts International.

The Cosmopolitan continues to develop its customer database.

"We are still a new brand in the Las Vegas landscape and will continue to focus on driving trial; it's critical we give guests a multitude of reasons to visit The Cosmopolitan," Marchese said.

The promotion runs through June 15, the company said. Marchese said the $3.9 billion resort has "been very successful marketing all of our amenities, including the casino, which offers a distinctive experience to Las Vegas."

Even older, more established casinos such as the Las Vegas Hilton or The Palms run promotions. Whether the promotions are successful depends on who you ask.

"It's mostly a way for new or relaunched casinos to try to lure people in and get names in their database," said David G. Schwartz, director of the Center for Gaming research at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. "In that regard, it's fairly effective, since the new members definitely gamble and are clearly part of the target market."

At the Las Vegas Hilton, with every 250 points earned playing slot machines or table games, player's club members win a chance to receive two tickets to the 38th annual Daytime Emmy Awards.

As at most casinos, gamblers with rewards cards will earn five times or 10 times points depending on which day of the week the bonus is offered.

Meanwhile, the Palms created a special space on the casino floor called Slot Emporium, an area filled with slots that offer unique prizes in addition to top jackpots.

"We are excited to offer a first of its kind, special gaming area for our slot customers," said Palms owner George Maloof. "We want to entertain our players with appealing games and give players a special opportunity to win unique, coveted prizes for each individual game."

The Slot Emporium at the Palms allows patrons to play for jackpots in addition to special bonus prizes, including an Xbox 360, a Harley-Davidson, iPads, MacBooks, Nikon cameras, designer purses and gift cards.

"If they make competitive promotional offers, then they've got a chance to get new full-time customers," Schwartz said. "So a lot of it isn't so much about the promotion itself, but the follow-up. They could even offer $100 in free play, and if they didn't follow up, it probably wouldn't do much to move the needle in the long run."