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Las Vegas freebies snag gamblers' dough

“I lost $1000 but they gave me a free buffet so that‘s OK”.

That is the heart of what goes on in Las Vegas. The hotels and casinos in Sin City give out more “comps” than any other city in the world (except possibly Macau). It may seem ludicrous that the casinos there can offer free food, shows, hotel rooms, and even flights, to players. But it’s easy to understand once you understand the truth.

Here is the secret of why Las Vegas (and to a lesser extent other casino towns) has been successful. They don’t care whether you win or lose, they care whether (and how much) you bet. If you are winning, they want you to keep playing because in the long run you will lose it back. If you are smart enough to leave, then they will do what it takes to get you to come back another time. Eventually you will give it all back and then some.

One of my coworkers always gets deals such as three or four nights accommodation and food PLUS $200 or $500 slot pay. This means they can go and stay for free. All their food is paid for. They get free money to play. Two years ago he treated me to three nights at the MGM Grand Casino because he also had three nights at the Palazzo Casino. All he did was check in at both casinos and the room was mine. So how did the casino make money? Three nights accommodation at the Palazzo can cost $1000 and at the MGM a bit less.

The casino made money because my co-worker and his wife lost twice as much as the deal they got. Vegas gave them $1000, but they gave Vegas $2000. So who won? Now this doesn’t happen every time. People do win in Vegas. But those who lose more than make up for the occasional winner. This is like the easiest investment in town. If I told you that if you gave me $1000 I would give you $2000 in two days, would you pass that up?

Many Vegas guides advise that when you go to Vegas to get a member’s card so they can track your play. If you play enough money and for a certain amount of time, you will qualify for “comps” (short for “complimentary”) such as food, shows, etc. All they want you to do is to stay. If you play for four hours on $10 Blackjack, they don’t care if you’ve won $1000 or lost $1000; they just care that you played for four hours.

That’s where stupidity can come in. You’ve played for three hours and have lost $500. You ask the pit boss if you can have a free buffet. He says that you haven’t played long enough. So how badly do you want that free buffet? Anything can happen in an hour. You could end up winning $1000. Or you can lose another $500. Is it really worth that free buffet? And two months later when the hotel sends you an invitation to stay for free for three nights, is it really worth it?

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