Are you getting enough comps?

Oct 31, 2005 1:01 AM

One subject that causes a lot of frustration for keno players is the subject of comps. Comps are things like complimentary rooms, meals and beverages that are given to players by many casinos in an effort to secure your business.

Traditionally, keno games have not had great complimentary resources available to them; such privileges were generally reserved for the pit. In the last few years, however, some progressive managements have expanded complimentary programs to include keno and slot departments in the realization that these customers also deserve good treatment.

The most common form of complimentary available for the keno player is the drink ticket. Sometimes these are called "drink tokes," "drink tokens" or "squares."

A typical keno game gives away anywhere from 1% to 2.5% of its gross handle in drink tokes. The most common misconception by many keno players is that they should get a drink toke for every ticket or game that they play. Some simple arithmetic should lay that notion to rest. If a keno game gives away 2.5% of its gross handle in drink comps, that means that one drink is given away for every $40 in tickets played.

This means in turn, that if you are playing a dollar a game, you might get one drink every 40 games, and if you are playing $5 per game you might get one drink every eight games, or once an hour or so. This is in the most liberal keno games. Of course, many players never utilize drink tokes, so those that do might be given tokes at a rate double that above, but this is certainly the outside limit.

A keno player must usually be a substantial player to obtain a food or room comp. The reason is clear and the arithmetic is simple. Most keno games operate on a profit margin of 5% to 10% of the gross handle. This means that if you play $100 worth of keno the house profit is $5 to $10 BEFORE you are given a comp. To get a full meal comp, you probably will have to be playing at least $100 per hour worth of tickets and maybe more at most keno games.

A general rule of thumb regarding casino comps is this: If you have to ask for a comp, something is wrong. There are basically two possibilities. Either the casino is not comping enough or the player expects too much.

In the first case, the casino may not be comping enough for several reasons. They may just be tight in an effort to make as much profit as possible. The management might be "asleep at the switch" and might be ignoring its good customers. Find another place to play if either of these things is true.

In the second case, you might be expecting too much in the way of comps. Remember that the casino is just a business like the one that you own or work at, and if you are too expensive to maintain as a customer, the casino will not make much effort to keep your business. If you have played at casinos and you are not getting the comp privileges that you think you should, the fault might lie with you!

The more money you play, the more comp privileges you get. Although this may not seem fair, it is exactly the way all businesses (not just casinos) are run. Big customers get volume discounts, business lunches, and box seats. Smaller customers don’t.

Well that’s it for now. Good Luck! I’ll see you in line!