How Online Casino Player’s Clubs Are Different from Land Based Clubs (And How They’re the Same)

by Michael Stevens
on May 31, 2018
12

Minute Read

Both online and land-based casinos offer player’s clubs, which reward gamblers for their betting volume.

The obvious benefit for players as that they receive valuable comps. The advantage for casinos is that they have a better chance of retaining player loyalty by giving out rewards.

You can enjoy loyalty benefits at nearly all online and brick-and-mortar casinos. But player’s clubs differ in a variety of ways when moving from the internet to a land-based venue.

It’s important to understand these differences so that you can maximize your comps in each setting. Furthermore, you want to know exactly what must be done to earn benefits.

That said, I’m going to discuss several ways that land-based and online casino loyalty programs are different. I’ll also cover the similarities between both types of rewards programs.

Differences between Land Based and Online Casino Player’s Clubs

You Must Sign Up for Land Based Casino Player’s Clubs

One big mistake that land-based gamblers make involves not signing up for the player’s club.

Players who make this blunder commonly assume that casino personnel watch every gambler to determine who should receive comps.

The only reward that you’ll receive as a non-player’s club member is free drinks. Cocktail waitresses are trained to spot people who’ve been playingcasino games for a while andoffer them a drink.

While this is nice, you’re not getting the full range of benefits from a casino’s loyalty program. Therefore, you want to sign up for the player’s club either through a casino’s website or in person.

The latter entails visiting the player’s desk and filling out a short application.

Once you’re a member of a casino loyalty program, you’ll receive a player’s club card that you can use on slot machines, video poker machines, and table games (discussed later).

Online Casinos Track Your Rewards Automatically

The nice thing about playing at online casinos is that you don’t have to do much to earn rewards. The software begins tracking your real money play and awarding comp points right away.

You need to make a deposit before you’re eligible for real money play.  Visit an internet casino’s banking/cashier section and see what deposit options are available.

Common deposit methods include credit cards, eWallets, prepaid cards, and Bitcoin. Larger casinos offer the widest range of deposit options, meaning they have more possible ways to deposit your money.

As I mentioned, most online casinos begin giving rewards immediately. But there are rare internet casinos that either don’t have a VIP program or have invitation-only player’s clubs.

Invitation-only programs aren’t desirable, because you must jump through hoops to be invited. What’s worse is that some of these casinos don’t list the requirements for earning an invitation.

Luckily, most Internet casinos aren’t like this and will enroll you in their VIP program immediately.

Pit Boss Must Rate Land Based Table Game Players

I discussed how you need a player’s club card to be rated for slots and table games. But earning comps in table games requires an additional step.

The pit boss must rate your play based on the following criteria:

  • Average bet size
  • Bets per hour
  • Hours played.

This is different from online casinos, where the software begins tracking your slots and table game play.

One way to get the pit boss‘attention is to directly ask them to rate you. Another method involves giving your player’s club card to the dealer, who will ask the pit boss to track your play.

You can alsosit down to the table and make large bets. This usually gets the pit boss to notice and rate you.

But, there are no guarantees that they’ll see you betting big. Therefore, it’s best to ask casino personnel immediately to track your comps.

You Can Fool the Pit Boss and Get More Comps

You can’t trick online casino software into giving you more comps than your bet size warrants. But you can sometimes do this with land-based casino pit bosses.

These are busy people who must monitor players, dealers, and ensure that games are running smoothly. They don’t have time to stand by and watch every single wager you make.

Therefore, it’s possible to fool them into thinking that you deserve more comps. Here are tips for pulling this off:

  • Sit down to a table game.
  • Make $100 bets in the beginning.
  • The pit boss will watch you for a few hands and write down your bet size.
  • Lower your bet to $25 when they leave.
  • Watch for the pit boss and raise your bet back to $100 when they come back around.

The goal is to convince the pit boss that you’re wagering double or quadruple what you really are. With a little luck, you’ll trick them and receive much bigger comps.

Land Based Casinos Give Physical Comps

Many gamblers think that land-based casino comps are more fun, because they consist of physical objects and services. These rewards include free drinks, meals, hotel rooms, nightclub passes, and limousine rides.

You can actually drink a cocktail and enjoy your meal while you’re at a casino resort. Likewise, you can experience the luxury of a limo or stay in a posh hotel room.

Brick-and-mortar casinos might even give you comp options. For example, I was recently offered the choice between a free nightclub pass and limo ride or a meal worth up to $250.

The casino isn’t really shelling out $250 to feed you at their own restaurant. But the key is that you’re getting $250 of value based on what you’d normally pay.

My friends and I were able to try several gourmet dishes thanks to this hefty meal comp.

Internet Casinos Give Deposit Bonuses & No Deposit Bonuses

Online casinos can’t match the fun of giving you cocktails or access to a vibrant nightclub. But they do have their own unique rewards, including deposit bonuses and no deposit bonuses.

A deposit bonus is worth a match percentage of your deposit. You need to meet wagering requirements before cashing out the bonus.

Here’s an example:

  • An online casino is offering a 200% match bonus up to $400.
  • You deposit $200, which makes you eligible for a $400 bonus.
  • Wagering requirements are 30 times the bonus plus deposit amount.
  • This means that you need to wager $18,000to earn your bonus (30 x [200 + 400]).

A no deposit bonus is appealing, because you don’t have to contribute anything to receive the bonus. Instead, all youmust do is create an account to receive your money.

Internet casinos normally give $5 or $10 when they offer a no deposit bonus. You can use these funds to play real money casino games and win money.

The only catch is that wagering requirements on a deposit bonus are higher than a deposit reward. You’ll often have to wager 80x the bonus amount before cashing out.

Many players still find that it’s worth going for these bonuses, because you have a chance to earn free money.

Online Casinos Exclude Certain Games from Comps

You need to read terms and conditions closely before chasing an internet casino deposit bonus. The reason why is because casinos may exclude certain games from unlocking wagering requirements.

Baccarat, craps, French roulette, and video poker are common examples of games that don’t qualify for online bonuses or comps. And when they do qualify, these games always offer a smaller contribution towards meeting bonus requirements.

Here’s an example of how table games contribute different amounts towards earning your bonus:

  • Slots wagers = 100%
  • Keno = 100%
  • Scratch cards = 100%
  • Blackjack wagers = 10%
  • Video poker wagers = 10%
  • Casino hold’em wagers = 35%
  • Tri-card poker wagers = 20%
  • Craps wagers = 10%
  • American roulette wagers = 0%
  • European roulette wagers = 0%
  • Baccarat wagers = 10%
  • War wagers = 35%
  • Red Dog wagers = 35%
  • Let Them Ride wagers = 35%
  • Caribbean stud poker wagers = 35%
  • Pai Gow wagers = 10%

The reason for the lower table game contributions is that these games have lower house edges than online slot machines, keno, and scratch cards. Therefore, a casino can’t reward you the same way or they’d make little profit.

While this is understandable, you need to make sure that your favorite games are contributing towards bonuses.Again, read the terms and conditions to ensure that you’ll receive rewards for the games you enjoy.

Land Based Casinos Are Less Transparent with Comp Rates

One downside to brick-and-mortar player’s clubs is that they don’t always give you much information.

I’ve found casino websites that explain exactly how many comp points you’ll receive for slots and table games along with what these points are worth. But this same info is a mystery at many other casinos.

Internet casinos, on the other hand, always offer detailed bonus information in their (bonus) terms and conditions.

You can always ask a relevant, land-based casino staff member about their comp rate, which is the percentage of total bets used to determine your rewards.

Here’s an example of a brick-and-mortar casino comp rate:

  • You’re playing slot machines.
  • The casino offers a 0.2% comp rate on slots.
  • You bet $1,000.
  • This means you receive $2 in rewards.

Land-based casinos often comp slots and video poker players on between 0.1% and 0.3% of total wagers. They comp table game players at 0.1% when there’s a low house edge involved (i.e. baccarat, blackjack, and craps).

It’s always nice to know the exact rate. But if you can’t find this info anywhere on a casino’s website, be sure to ask the casino host or player’s desk about the matter.

Online Casinos Normally Offer Smaller Comps

Here’s a standard comp rate at internet casinos:

  • You receive one comp point for every $10 wagered.
  • You earn $1 free for every 100 points exchanged.
  • This means that you must wager $1,000 to get $1 free.
  • 1 / 1,000 = 0.1% comp rate.

Many land-based casinos comp slots players at a 0.02% or 0.3% rate.  This is double or triple what the average online casino offers.

Online table games only deliver between 25% and 50%of the comps that internet slot machines offer. This makes your online table game comp rate worth between0.025% and 0.05%.

Contrast this to brick-and-mortar venues, where the lowest table game comp rate is 0.1%.

I should add, though, that the reason why internet casinos offer such small comps is because their games have lower house edges too.

The average online slot machine pays back around 96%. Compare this to the average land-based slot machine, which pays back between 88% and 94%.

Higher comps don’t come close to matching the higher theoretical losses that you’ll experience in brick-and-mortar casinos.

Table game house edges are more comparable between online and land-based casinos. But you still normally get a better deal in terms of house advantage at internet casinos.

Similarities between Online and Land Based Casino Player’s Clubs

You Get Rewards Points at Land Based and Online Casinos

I’ve discussed comp rates plenty up to this point. These rates are determined by a combination of your total wagers, loyalty points, and how much these points are worth.

Both brick-and-mortar and internet casinos reward players points based on their wagers.

Here’s an example of how a land-based casino does this:

  • You receive 1 point for every $5 wagered in a land-based casino.
  • 100 points can be exchanged for $1 cashback.
  • This means that you’ll receive $2 cashback for every $1,000 wagered.
  • 2 / 1,000 = 0.2% comp rate.

This is a variation of an example that I did earlier with online casinos. But it’s the same formula that many land-based casinos use to determine their cashback rate too.

Both Internet and Land Based Casinos Offer Cashback

Brick-and-mortar casinos offer several comps that are different from online casinos. But the one commonality here is that they each offer cashback.

It’s more common to receive cashback in online casinos, because they don’t have many other options for issuing rewards. But land-based casinos also give slots and video poker players cashback.

Sometimes land-based machine players receive free play offers through the mail. This gives them a certain amount of free cash that they can play with.

Meanwhile, casinos benefit by getting loyal customers back in the door and playing again.

Slots Comps Are Higher Than Table Game Rewards

Slots players receive more rewards in online and brick-and-mortar casinos. The reason why is because slot machines have a higher house edge than most table games.

You can see this by looking at the common house advantages below:

  • Online slot machines = 4% house edge
  • Land based slot machines = 8-10% house edge
  • Blackjack = 0.5% to 2.0% (varies by table rules)
  • Baccarat = 1.06% (banker bet)
  • French roulette = 1.35%
  • Craps = 1.36% (don’t pass line & don’t come)
  • Pai gow poker = 1.46%
  • European roulette = 2.70%
  • Let It Ride = 3.51%
  • Caribbean stud = 5.22%

It only makes sense to comp slots players at a higher rate when considering how they contribute more to casino profits.

Land Based and Online Casinos Still Profit Off the Average Bonus

One important thing to realize when chasing bonuses is that this isn’t truly free money and comps forplayers. Instead, casinos factor rewards into the house edge.

Here’s an example of how land-based and online casinos still profit when slots players earn bonuses:

  • Your slots comp rate is 0.2%.
  • The house edge is 6%.
  • You bet $1,000.
  • Your comps are $2 (1,000 x 0.002).
  • Your theoretical losses are $60 (1,000 x 0.06).
  • Overall losses are $58 when accounting for comps.

This isn’t meant to discourage you from going for bonuses and VIP rewards. But it’s also good to understand that the average player is still losing money when they receive loyalty rewards.

A common slots myth is that payback will automatically go lower when you use a player’s club card. But this isn’t even close to being true, considering that loyalty rewards only take a small amount of the casino’s bottom line.

The best way to approach online or land-based casino bonuses is to consider them just that – a bonus. Don’t extend your play this to earn more comps, because you’ll only lose more money this way.

Online and Land Based Casinos Have VIP Tiers

Every casino understands the value of offering the best perks to their top customers.

Both brick-and-mortar and online casinos separate their players based on tiers. These VIP levels work differently in each case, but the idea is the same.

Here’s an example of tiers in an internet casino VIP program:

  • Platinum = 250% deposit bonuses, 0.2% slots comp rate.
  • Gold = 200% deposit bonuses, 0.15% slots comp rate.
  • Silver = 150% deposit bonuses, 0.125% slots comp rate.
  • Bronze = 100% deposit bonuses, 0.1% slots comp rate.

Here’s an example of how land-based casinos do loyalty tiers:

  • RFB = Room, food, and beverage (all fully comped).
  • RF = Room and food (possibly limited beverage).
  • Player level = Standard comps like free drinks and possibly meals.

While the levels look different between internet and land-basedplayer’s clubs, they still indicate separation between casual gamblers and high rollers.

Land-based high rollers are privileged to free alcohol, food, and a luxury hotel suite throughout their stay. Online whales receive the best deposit bonuses and cashback rate, along with other perks like birthday gifts, anniversary (join date) gifts, and a dedicated casino host.

Both Types of Casinos Have VIP Hosts

Casinos use VIP hosts to make sure that frequent customers stay happy.  These hosts spend more time with gamblers bet the most money.

But both brick-and-mortar and online casinos use VIP hosts to impress their clients.

You get to speak with a casino host in person when playing at a land-based casino. This offers a personal touch that makes you feel even more special.

Online casino interactions are done through live chat/or phone. Therefore, you don’t get the same personal touch when speaking with a casino host.

Nevertheless, internet casinos still use these employees to keep their top players happy. You must achieve one of the highest VIP levels to gain access to a VIP host.

Conclusion

The biggest differences between land-based and online player’s clubs include the comps, how rewards are tracked, and what (if any) casino games are excluded from earning rewards.

The type of comps you receive can especially dictate where you play. I find it more appealing to earn free drinks, meals, and hotel rooms.

But online and land-based casinos have their own pros and cons when it comes to loyalty programs. Each player will have their preference on the type of player’s club they like based on these pros/cons.

Overall, I enjoy how land-based player’s clubs offer a higher comp rate, physical rewards, and comps for all games. These pros outweigh the downsides, including having to sign up for the player’s club, needing the pit boss to rate you, and a lack of transparency in comp rates.

But you may enjoy how online casinos automatically track your rewards and offer a detailed description of their program through the terms and conditions page.

In any case, you should make sure that you’re earning rewards no matter if you play online or in land-based casinos. While these benefits don’t overshadow theoretical losses, it’s still nice to receive bonuses on top of your play.

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