The Ultimate Guide to Casinos


Online Casino Loyalty Programs

Casinos compete fiercely for players by offering all sorts of introductory promotions and welcome bonuses to gain new business. They also provide a variety of incentives to retain their existing customers, including “loyalty programs” that resemble the frequent flyer programs developed by airlines. Instead of miles for travel, however, they offer “points” for play.

As members of the casino’s Player’s Club or Reward Program, active players are awarded benefits, cash and/or complimentary gifts (referred to as “comps”) in accordance with the number of points they accumulate and the level of status they obtain. Sophisticated analytics is often employed to track players’ actions, from the frequency and length of play to the amount of money wagered, won and lost, as well as the kinds of games that players prefer. Let’s take a look at how these programs work, what rewards to expect and how to get the most out of loyal patronage.

Points for Play, Rewards for Points

Most online casinos nowadays do not require separate registration to participate in their loyalty programs. New players are automatically enrolled upon signing up for a casino account. As one of the immediate benefits of joining the program, a certain number of loyalty points may be awarded to get the player started, else bonus points may be earned by taking certain actions, such as playing specified games or wagering a certain amount within a given period of time after joining.

How quickly points accumulate thereafter is a function of the casino’s program structure. Typically casinos will award one loyalty point for every dollar, pound or euro bet. Some have higher betting requirements to earn points at table games than at slots. They may offer double points or triple points during promotional periods or else give away thousands of points as prizes in game competitions or leader board contests. Points may also be presented to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries or other milestones. Considerable creativity goes into coming up with point promotions.

Just as the player’s available funds can be viewed in her/his casino account, so can accumulated points be viewed in a separate loyalty program account. It is possible to withdraw points, too, and redeem them for comps, bonus cash and other rewards. How much the points are worth will vary from casino to casino. Depending on the program, 100 points might be worth anywhere from ten cents to a dollar.

It is very important to read the rules related to the specific loyalty program in order to understand just exactly what the value and opportunities are in piling up points. Most programs allow points to be exchanged for cash that can be used in play, but very few allow the cash to be withdrawn without meeting certain requirements. Many casinos now have online “stores” where points can be redeemed for merchandise. Some put no expiration date on points earned, while others stipulate that points must be used within a year or “freeze” them after a given period of inactivity.

Getting the Full VIP Treatment

Another way in which loyalty points are used by casinos is to determine a player’s “status level” within the hierarchy of all customers as well as what benefits should be offered. It is quite common for loyalty programs to have tiers that identify players by activity level, like Bronze, Silver and Gold. The more points that are earned, the higher up the ranks one rises and the more rewards are received.

Among the many perks that may accrue to higher status are cash back or rebates on losses, reduced requirements for earning points, additional deposit bonuses, entry in exclusive freeroll tournaments, monthly gifts, discounts on merchandise purchases, access to unpublished events, and so on. The desire among players to obtain such special treatment is so great that it has caused many major casinos to establish VIP levels above the top tiers of their standard loyalty programs, which are accessible by invitation only. VIP members may be assigned a personal concierge through customer service or unique credit lines through the casino cashier that are never advertised to the general public.

At the very least belonging to a casino loyalty program makes it possible to “win without winning.” Every penny played goes toward building one’s status and gaining more benefits within the casino. On the other hand, those who register for accounts with many different casinos and show no loyalty to one in particular may never fully experience the advantages of a rewards program. It is only in “staying and playing” that the greatest benefits are realized, and for that reason the features of competing programs should be compared and studied closely before settling on a single casino as the primary location for gaming online.