Grab those Comps at your Favorite Casino

The gaming industry is a very competitive, albeit lucrative field. That's why casinos try to out do each other to keep you coming back and continue giving them your business. In their never-ending effort to woo and court you, they offer flattering complimentaries, or "comps" such as discounted rates on your hotel rooms and free meals or free drinks while you are playing at the tables or at the slots. If you're a high roller or one of the big spenders that splurge on the casino floor once every so often, then you'd probably get a free airfare, complimentary hotel room, drinks and even limousine service---the works.

These comps are usually given to casino customers through player rewards clubs which issues plastic cards the size of credit cards that have an encoded magnetic strip. If the card is inserted into the machine that the member is playing, like for instance, a slot machine, then the amount played and duration are monitored by the house computers.

Every time you play, you earn points that you can redeem for comps. The player rewards club issues a list indicating the comps available and the corresponding points needed to redeem various items such as meals, merchandise, rooms and even cash. At other times, the casino may not issue a list at all but may require you to instead ask an attendant who will check the computer data base and if you qualify, the attendant will issue you the comps.

At table games, comps work in almost the same way, only that it requires the intervention of the pit boss. Your buy-in, the average size of your money bets and the duration of your play are noted by the pit boss. Typically, the casino will return to you in terms of comps between 10 to 40 percent of the amount that you are expected to lose to the casino. The formula used by the casino in estimating your expected loss combines the length of time you've played; the number of hands you played in an hour; your average money wagers; and, the house percentage. If, for instance, you bet $10 a hand for one hour at, say, 60 hands per hour and the casino reckons it has a 2 percent advantage, then you are betting $600 every hour and on the average the casino will expect to win $12, or 2 percent of $600. If the casino is giving comps at 40 percent of your expected loss, then your play for an hour will be worth $4.80 in comps regardless of whether you've actually won or lost.