There are advantages and disadvantages to both of these types of incentives with which land-based and online casino operators try to encourage patrons to deposit funds and play. Let’s examine each separately first and then note their differences.
How traditional casino comps work: Your father’s brick and mortar casinos still offer comps that basically work the same way they did 50 years ago. Casinos issue you a player’s card and use it to track your play; that is, they encode information on the magnetic strip that records the amount you wager and the number of bets you make per hour. They then use this information to award VIP points, based on the frequency and amount of your play. These points can later be redeemed for cash and or prizes. The more points ,the bigger the incentives offered (they are basically bribing you to stick around and play more). These offers range from free meals, drinks and show tickets, all the way up to hotel room stays, jewelry, golf games, massages, shopping sprees and even round trip airplane flights for the real high rollers.
By contrast, online casinos usually offer a sign-up or welcome bonus, where they usually match your deposit by a certain percentage up to a certain maximum match. This “free play” money, however, comes with several important strings attached which we will discuss later.
So which is better? Land-based casino comps or online casino bonuses? The answer depends on what type of reward you prefer and how much of a headache the process causes you.
While casino comps can make your stay very comfortable and enjoyable, they do require some work on your part. Usually, one has to visit the casino’s front desk and divulge a bunch of personal information to register for one of their players’ cards. They will harvest your information and almost certainly start sending you offers for vacation packages, time-shares, hotel rooms, and with whatever other advertising they wish to stuff in your mailbox. Before sitting down to play, you must either present your player’s card to the dealer, or alert the pit boss that you wish your play to be tracked. It’s a common misconpception among gamblers that you must lose money to qualify—not true. Casinos want your time in their establishment—use those cards. The good news is that they will reward you whether you win or lose; it’s all just about your turn over or how many hands you play.
Online bonus offers, though easier to redeem initially (they are issued to your account as soon as you make the initial deposit), are more complicated to cash out, and here’s why: Although you might think that this is easy money on your part, there are certain requirements that you have to follow in order to cash in on your proceeds. Online casinos have established these requirements as a safeguard to cash and run abusers of their offer. A common requirement of these new player bonuses (often buried in the fine print) is that the player must wager the bonus 20,50,70 times or more before this bonus money can be withdrawn. Commonly described as the turn over rate, this number may be so high, that you can spend months trying to turn this bonus, and by the time you wager this bonus money so many times, the casino is betting that you will give it all back to them in the end.
Another drawback is that people tend to play more loosely with this money since they equate it to playing with the house’s money.
They usually offer reload deposit bonuses too, although these are not as generous once they have you as a client.
Typically, the online casinos will offer a greater monetary value in their bonuses, but they will be tricky and time consuming to cash out. So it boils down to convenience vs value; the choice is whatever is most important to you. Remember an online casino’s reputation is always more important than the amount of the bonus. What good is a bonus if the online casino cheats you out of it?
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