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Let’s Keep It Simple

Are convoluted rules and regulations making it harder for you to enjoy your player’s club?

Rewarding good (frequent) players in order to keep them coming back, rather than migrating to the casino down the street or across town, probably seemed like a great idea back when player’s clubs first started. So my question is, how did we stray so far from that basic concept?

Levels, credits, exclusions, inclusions and more don’t serve the purpose clubs were designed to promote

This is a column primarily devoted to player’s clubs. Each month, I research news sources both online and in print, plus use my own experience as an active player to bring to the table current information that I hope will make your casino visits more rewarding.

I recently came across a short but intriguing article describing a VIP weekend held by a casino company that caters primarily to Las Vegas locals. The 250 high-rolling attendees of the special event were treated to pricey car, cruise and cash giveaways; fine dining and spa visits; golf outings and more, all aimed at, as one casino executive called it, “growing guest loyalty.”

“Guest loyalty”: it’s the reason player’s clubs came into being, and why they exist today. Rewarding good (read: frequent) players in order to keep them coming back, rather than migrating to the casino down the street or across town, probably seemed like a great idea back when player’s clubs first started. So my question is, how did we stray so far from that basic concept?

This subject—the convoluted rules and regulations governing the bulk of today’s clubs and promotions—is just one of those topics that’s been rattling around in my brain for months now. It finally came more to light when a friend of mine asked me to explain the different point levels of one major casino company’s player’s club. Me—the person who studies and writes about player’s clubs on a monthly basis—and to be honest, I found myself floundering in trying to plainly discuss how the program works.

“No, you can’t use those points in the restaurant. Those are used to determine what color card you get.” Or how about: “No, you don’t get as many points playing video poker as you do playing Blazing 7’s.” Or my personal favorite: “Yes, I know they’re all called “credits” but they really are three different kinds of points and no, you still can’t put them all together to buy a burger.”

All that discussion and that was only ONE club. And seriously, don’t even ask me to explain the reasoning behind all the other restrictions I’ve come across while playing. For instance, why do casinos even issue a free slot-play coupon that’s only good for three days? Are you trying to tell me that it makes that much difference if I come in to use that “huge” $15 coupon on Thursday rather than on Friday? Seriously.

Some clubs give you more rewards for being a local, while others hold them back because you happen to live there. At some casinos, certain games—particularly video poker games—are excluded from contributing to point tallies or toward qualifying for bonus credit days or jackpot drawings—and for what purpose? Does any of that “fine print” instill “guest loyalty?”

If you’re looking for proof of just how confusing some of these club and/or promotion rules have become, you only need to stop by the casino’s own player’s club booth. The poor staff members manning the club desk usually have even less information than I do. I’ve lost track of all the times I’ve requested clarification on a promotion, only to be asked to produce the mailer or brochure and then told, “Oh, I’ve never seen this before!”

Most instances end with the employee finally admitting they don’t know, or they end up mumbling so much that I just give up and walk away. The moral of this story: if your own employees can’t explain a promotion or a club rule, how the heck do you expect your players to react positively to it?

Don’t get me wrong, I love player’s clubs and the benefits I get from them. (I’m especially digging that nifty “chocolate fountain” I got from my local Harrah’s Ak-Chin casino. My Thanksgiving guests loved it!) I just think I’m speaking for the majority of players when I say that casinos should stick to the KISS theory: Keep it Simple, Slotclub!

In the New Year, I would really enjoy hearing from our readers about what they do and don’t like about the player’s clubs they belong to. In future columns, I’ll also try to address any questions readers might have about clubs and how to get the most out of them. Send your comments and questions to:

Out and About Promos

It may be the day after Christmas but you can still find a brand-new Lexus IS250 under your tree if you’re the lucky player chosen for the grand prize during the Winning Wonderland Lexus Giveaway at Biloxi’s gem, the Beau Rivage Resort & Casino. Slot players can earn entry tickets all the way up till 6 p.m. on December 26, with the drawing taking place at 8 p.m. that night. The casino is also featuring special QuickFire and SureFire Jackpots all month long. Millions have been paid out to hundreds of winners. Each pull, spin or bet on every slot machine by a valid MGM MIRAGE Player’s Club member will contribute to the SureFire Jackpots and QuickFire Jackpots progressive total. It can hit anytime and at any of the Beau Rivage slots. SureFire Jackpots at Beau Rivage start at $150,000 and are guaranteed to hit by $200,000. Get more info on these and other club promos at the casino.

Four Bears Casino and Lodge in Newtown, ND, will be ringing in 2010 with an exciting New Year’s Eve Celebration including cash drawings totaling over $11,000! Guests will be treated to free champagne and appetizers on the gaming floor plus party favors and lots of dining and drink specials at the entertainment bar. Register between 3 and 7:30 p.m. for the cash drawings happening each hour from 6 to 10 p.m., with a special drawing for $2010 just before midnight. Must be a Player’s Club member and be present to win.

Another player fave casino—albeit in a decidedly warmer location—will also be pulling out all the stops to bring in 2010 in style. Fantasy Springs Casino near Palms Springs, CA, will host a rockin’ New Year’s Eve bash. Guests have a chance to win $20,000 in cash prizes and free slot play plus hear the best songs of the “British Invasion” for free inside the Rock Yard Winter Edition at the Fantasy Lounge. The party inside the casino gets underway at 6 p.m. with opportunities to start the New Year off by winning in the Countdown to Cash drawings. Fantasy Rewards Club members can swipe their player’s cards between 6 p.m. and midnight to earn a free entry into the drawings happening every hour from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m.

Editor’s Note: As always, these promos were in effect at the time written; however, all of the casinos mentioned reserve the right to change or discontinue any promotion, so always check upon arrival with the casino’s promotions desk for any and all rules and regulations.

C. C. Royal publishes several gaming and Las Vegas-centered Web sites, including the popular, which features news and reviews on casinos and casino resorts, plus, with up-to-date deals on everything from restaurants to hotel stays and more.

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