Las Vegas, Part 3 – Getting Comp’d

Vegas is all about getting you to come back. The casinos make so much money from you gambling that they can afford to give a little back. Usually that ‘little’ comes in the form of comps. Comp is short for ‘complimentary’ and comps range from free food and drinks to T-shirts and other souveneirs, all the way up to free hotel suites.  Unless your last name is Sinatra, however, they won’t just offer you this stuff, you have to ask.

The first step in getting comps is to obtain a slot club card. There is usually a slot club window in the casino and all you have to do is fill out a card with your personal information. A slot club card is about the size of a credit card and is used to track your gambling habits within the casino. The card can be inserted into slot machines or given to a dealer at a table game so that your gambling can be ‘rated’. The machine or dealer will then track your average bet and how much you’ve bet. Some casinos have formalized the process somewhat and reward you with points as you gamble that can later be redeemed for a variety of free stuff.

You should also make an effort to meet the host of the casino section that you’re in. The host used to be called a pit boss and their main job is to make sure you have a good time and that you keep gambling at their casino. It’s a good idea to introduce yourself to them when you start gambling as they’re more likely to be generous with you.

Once you’ve been gambling for a while, its okay to start asking for stuff – try starting with a ‘line pass’ to the buffet. It won’t pay for your meal but it will get you to the front of the line. If you’ve spent a fair amount, go ahead and ask for a free pass to the buffet. A good rule of thumb is that you can be expected to be comp’d about 20-40% of what you’d be expected to lose.

Of course, the drinks are the main form of comps. You’ll often see waitresses wandering around, taking orders. Well spirits and tap beers are free, but you should always tip your waitress, especially if you want her to remember you.

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