Why not hold on to casino cash?

Mar 13, 2005 11:23 PM

Casino managers and their marketing department experts are always one-up on nearly every player who walks through their doors. It’s no secret some writers like to seem covert, but because of their propensity to blab about their latest discoveries and mailings, they really do give it all away. And don’t think casinos haven’t planted such information either.

It all kind of reminds me of a fellow I used to work with. You had something that was important to get out "on the QT," and all you needed to do was say to this guy, "I know something that can’t get out of here at all costs, and if you promise not to say anything to anyone, I’ll fill you in." Within a half hour, everyone in the company knew about it, and my pal had no clue.

Similarly, casinos know how to influence both players and writers alike. In fact, many casino executives put much of their efforts towards making effective use out of the so-called secrets others write about.

One of the more recognizable transformations in slot clubs in the past few years has been the reduction of cash back for customers’ play.

Enter the new world of free-play and bounce-back cash. Regular video poker players like to use these as reasons for their casino visits, but the fact is that they are unable to stay away regardless. Casinos use the lure of free-play because they can offer larger amounts — with full knowledge that the typical player will overwhelmingly play until he loses all of it and more anyway.

But nothing can hold a candle to how bounce-back cash programs operate. Sometimes as straight cash, sometimes as free-play, casino mailings make certain the customer is mesmerized by the big, bold dollar figures that accompany their sweet deals. All one is required to do is simply visit that particular casino, and all that "free" cash is handed over. Too good to be true you say?

Well, one way to make the casino pay is to walk in, wait in line, cash in your coupon, and then leave. In the case of free-play, you play it through once as required, then walk away with whatever you’ve accumulated from the play. Sounds all too easy, right? There’s actually nothing to it, but most people react as dumbly as they’re expected to.

Let’s look at how an out-of-towner gets worked over by such promotions. An offer arrives for two free nights, maybe $75 in food, and you can pick up $200 in cash at the cage. So what’s the basic gambler do?

Before the first night’s sleep, that $200 in free money has turned into a $500 loss. Why? Because the player just couldn’t take the money, do some of the many other things there is to do in Las Vegas besides gamble, and go home 48 hours later with a smile on his or her face. The casino is giving you free room and partial board. Why can’t people just accept that, enjoy their time, and leave?

Now, we’ll live the promo-driven life of a local player. Because of all their daily play around town, their mailboxes become saturated with casino junk mail all the time. Pick up $50 here, $10 there, maybe $60 in this place, $30 in that place, a cool $100 at your favorite hang out, and even five or ten bucks in a few others. Although no one speaks of the losing that probably took place to get these things — and it will likely take the better part of a day just to plan on the logistics needed for driving to all the casinos— is it really worth a player’s time to chase all that cash?

You bet it is! Anyone who spends hours inside smoky casinos then claims gasoline prices and other excuses are a factor on the bounce-back trail, hypocrisy enters the equation.

Think about it: Sit all day at a machine pleasing the casino manager, then worry how much it will cost in your time and money to drive around town picking up free cash!

Translation: Such people know what they’re doing and why. They know they cannot simply walk into any casino and not pick up money and walk out, or play a particular required amount, cash out, and leave. It’s the age-old problem of why casinos are so successful vs. the daily/weekly player.

Are you able to approach gambling like YOU believe you should, or are you too easily controlled by how the casino wants you to play?

Promotions such as bounce-back cash and play prey on the weak like no others. It’s just another glaring advantage all casinos hold over those who like to claim they hold some sort of mythical, mathematical advantage over the casinos.

Again I say, play on your terms and your terms only. If you are compulsive in what you do in casinos, gambling is not for you. And you know who you are.