Introduction: European Casinos Comps
It’s a good question; are European casino comps still a thing? You know, everyone loves casino comps. Or to put it another way, what’s not to love about free drinks, cash-backs, free plays, hotel stays, meals free show tickets and more, and all because you’re happily gambling. Virtually all US-based casinos see comps as part of their ongoing business strategy to bring in customers and keep them playing. In both Asian and Australia it’s the same story. But what about Europe casino comps? With their funny customs and rules, they’re not well known for their largess when it comes to freebies.
How Do Many Gambling Destinations Treat Comps?
We all know that the high profile gambling destinations like to put on a show when it comes to delivering awards. Places like Macau, Las Vegas, and Singapore all are renowned for the generous comps they hand out. Many casinos in Las Vegas make a habit of giving out limousine trips, steak dinners, and high-end drinks to their best customers. Obviously, the marketing strategy works as they continue to bring in the high rollers and celebrities. They make them feel like royalty…and it works a treat. You don’t need to be placing bets worth thousands of dollars to secure this special treatment. In fact, you can gamble quite modestly and still receive meaningful comps. But European casino comps are something quite different.
Let’s break them down. If you gamble between $10 – $20 per hand, then you’ll be on the receiving end of drinks. It’s the same for those penny slots if you put in the same amount of change, then expect to also get yourself drinks. Before there’s any talk of comps, you need to sign up for your player’s card. This is essentially a record of your casino spending. With this card, you can earn points that can be later redeemed for other stuff, like comps. In reality, it’s a mistake to look upon cops as something given for free. No sir, you’re paying for it all with your losses.
An Example With a Real Money Blackjack Player
The house edge is 1%.
The gambler wagers $25 per hand.
The table sees 70 hands per hour.
70 x 25 x 0.01 = $17.5 in theoretical hourly losses
The comp rate is 0.05%.
70 x 25 x 0.0005 = $0.88 in hourly comps
5 – 0.88 = $16.62 casino profits per hour
You see…the house still makes money when all is said and done. But it’s the illusion of something for nothing that the players feel. All clever psychological marketing. Yes, we know that some gamblers will have both the skills and the luck to overcome the house edge. But not many! Casinos have that hidden edge that ensures they are, more than less, always the winners.
What Is Europe’s Take on Comps?
Most of the gambling destinations mentioned try to make the gambling experience as inclusive as possible. There’s the hotel next door, the wining and dining that takes place with the actual casino itself, and the same with the shows and other entertainments. They want you casino trip to be a “one-stop” for everything, rather than just based around gambling alone.
But Europeans have a totally different outlook. They see casinos as strictly about gambling. Nothing more and nothing less. On the whole European casino, comps mean that there’s no food or drinks, and certainly no hotels threw into the mix. It may appear weird for you Americans, but many European casinos actually charge an entrance fee. This way they just cater to those who really want to gamble with the best jackpot games. Another interesting factor is that your average Euro casino is much, much smaller than you’re American counterparts. For example, many UK casinos only offer around 5 – 10 gaming tables and maybe 100 – 20 slot machines. Compare this with the average casino in Macau or Las Vegas, and you’ll quickly see that our European gamblers have much less of a choice.
Because Euro casinos focus solely on gambling, then they don’t feel the need to offer any comps. Yes, there are still some European casino comps given, but it not at all to the same degree as you’ll find them elsewhere. And what comps are offered will differ wildly between European countries as well as among the casinos within each country itself. Many venues whereby you have to pay to enter, don’t give out anything in the way of comps.
Can You Still Get Decent Comps in Europe?
In Europe, the quality of comps depends on where the casino is. If you’re in a big city like London, Paris or Madrid, then you’ll find casinos which are relatively generous with their awards. In London for example, we have the Hippodrome which is famous for its comps. In fact, this casino offers a VIP program that covers everything from drinks to food to entertainment. Likewise, The Sportsman, which is part of Caesar’s Entertainment features the same rewards as all their other establishments around the world. Across the Channel, we have Spielbank in Berlin, which likewise is generous with their comps.
How to Ensure You Get the Most From European Casino Comps
First thing first, as we previously mentioned, rewards are not available in all European casinos. So the first thing to look out for is to see if they are given in the casino you’re playing at. If they are, then you should sign up for the rewards program which is exactly the same scenario as you’d find in a casino in Las Vegas for example. Here are some pointers for you to get the most out of your comp experience.
European Casinos Comps: Sign Up for a Rewards Card
The rewards program will offer more or less the same as continental casinos. Essentially it’s a loyalty system that’s tied up with your spending habits at the said casino. But do remember that to take advantage of any loyalty system, you must first sign up. You can do this online, before you visit, or at the player’s desk when you arrive. Simply ask the concierge about it, and they’ll sort you out. For convenience sake, we suggest the former is the easiest option.
Know Which Games Offer the Most Comps
As you’re a “for-profit” player, it’s important to know which games are worth more in terms of comps. Obviously wagering $100 a hand on blackjack is going to be better than if you only are dropping $25 around. But keep in mind that bet size is only one factor when it comes to calculating your possible comps package. Casinos will also take into account, the frequency of play, the games played, and the house edge of those games. The bottom line is that you’ll earn greater comps, the more risky the games are, from the customers’ point of view. For example, the game of baccarat might increase your jackpot winning chances. But from the casino’s perspective, they’d be happier if you were playing Caribbean Poker.
If you want to be cynical about it, then the games where you have a greater chance of losing more will see the casino make an effort to keep you gambling. So the bigger the loser, the more the comps. After all, comps are coming out of your losses. No such thing as a free dinner in a casino, no matter which way you look at it.
European Casinos Comps: Try to Get Hosted
A casino host is a person who’s there to ensure you have everything you need at your fingertips. Sort of like a casino personal assistant if you will. They normally work with VIP’s to ensure that the guest gets all the important comps and more. For example, maybe there are certain items that you want including in your meals, so the host will ensure that all your comped meals fulfill your requirements. One thing, if you’re grinding away spending $5 a throw at the blackjack table, then don’t expect to draw the attention of a host. You need to be more of a baller! Generally, you’ll need to be dropping a minimum of $25 per hand, all night if you want special attention. The rewards can certainly be worthwhile, and working with a host ensures that you’ll get the best of them.
Play Frequently at the Same Casino
In Europe, casinos tend to reward repeat players. Of course in a large city, there is any number of wonderful casinos in which to play. And you might be tempted to do the rounds of all of them. But as far as comps go, you’re better off sticking with just one or two casinos. Doing things this way will automatically give you a higher status at the one establishment. And it’s a simple sum of higher status equaling higher European casino comps. So, as a rule, don’t go spreading yourself too thinly between different establishments.
Take Advantage of Promotions
Like any other business, casinos are forever thinking up and running promotions. They need to both attract new customers but at the same time keep the previous one coming back to the tables. If you’ve already signed up for the player’s VIP card, then you’ll already be getting some comps. But you should try and fish for what is called “Extra Loyalty Points”. These are worth approximately three times the value of normal comps. As a bonus, these rewards can be used to trigger even bigger ones, and include cash-backs and hotel stays.
Conclusion: European Casinos Comps
If you’re in Europe and looking for the standard of comps you might find in Macau or Las Vegas, then the chances are that you’re going to be disappointed. In Europe, casinos want you there to gamble and are willing to spend on anything else that might keep you there But, if you happen to be in a larger European city, then there’s a good chance you’ll find a casino that offers some sort of comps. We suggest that you look online before you go. But be sure to curb your expectations as a matter of course.