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HOME > > Ask the Slot Expert: Did I get a bonus free-play offer because the casino missed me?

Ask the Slot Expert: Did I get a bonus free-play offer because the casino missed me?

16 November 2022

By John Robison, Slot Expert™

I thought I was special.

It had been a few weeks since I had visited Red Rock--

Well, that's not true. It's been a while since I've played there, but I was there a week and a half ago for breakfast. A college friend was visiting from Australia, where he moved decades ago so his Australian wife could be close to her family.

He plays the pokies with his father-in-law at a casino near where he lives in Sydney regularly, so he didn't feel the need to play at a casino in Las Vegas. He did, however, want to see the fountains at Bellagio.

I said we can do that and asked if he could do me a favor. We'll park at the Fashion Show Mall, because it's free, and walk down to Bellagio. On the way, we'll run into the Forum Shops at Caesars so I can drop off a watch to be repaired.

We both swear that the interactive map at the Forum Shops told us to go up a level when we were already on the correct level, but we found the store. Fortunately, I had a vague recollection of where it was from when I went to it a few years ago.

He wanted to exit the mall through Caesars so he could see a modern Las Vegas casino. The last time he was in Las Vegas was in the late sixties when his parents took him to downtown. A visit to downtown was on his itinerary because he wanted to "see the lights on the casinos."

I told him that he might be disappointed. Downtown is very different from what it was so long ago because of the Fremont Street Experience canopy. If he wants to see lights, he might be better off on the Strip.

We actually had a surprise trip up the Strip. I missed the turn onto Paradise leaving the airport and ended up on Tropicana. Then we ended up at Tropicana and the Strip and I decided to make a right and give him a tour. Traffic was extraordinarily light and I had an easy drive; 11am is very different from 11pm.

While looking for the casino exit from the Forum Shops, my friend saw an exit sign and daylight down a hallway and he said that we should just exit there.

Bad idea. We ended up on an access road between two parking garages. He suggested that we go up the stairs in the garage across the street. I wasn't too keen on climbing a long flight of stairs. I said that I could see the observation wheel from where we were and that's the direction we want. Let's just walk on the sidewalk on the access road to get the Strip again.

We picked up a few more people and ran out of sidewalk on the way. We climbed a set of stairs near a sign that said, "No mall access." Fine, we didn't want the mall. We just want to get back to the street.

The sign really should have said, "No access." The couple in front of us got to the top, turned around, and came back down. They said the steps don't go anywhere.

We eventually made it back to the street and down to Bellagio and staked out a good place to watch the fountain show. The schedule for the afternoon is every half hour. We figured it's probably on the hour and the half-hour. It was quarter to when we got there, so we settled in for a 15-minute wait.

We overheard others saying that they had been waiting more than 15 minutes already, so we might not have to wait until the hour. As the clock ticked, the crowd near us gradually turned over as people gave up waiting.

There was no show at the top of the hour. Quarter after the hour also came and went with no show. We had now waited over 30 minutes without a show and my friend said he was tired of waiting and we should give up. I said we could find a YouTube video of the fountains once we got back to my house.

We had missed out on walking through a Strip casino during our Strip adventure and I suggested we go to Red Rock for breakfast. That way he could see a Strip-like locals casino and I could use some of my dining comp dollars.

He pointed out something interesting during my tour of the Red Rock slot floor. Most of the machines down under still follow the Australian multi-coin/multi-line model -- that is, they let you choose how many lines to play and how many coins to bet per line.

I told him about a slot seminar I attended many years ago. The manufacturers on the panel said that most players in the U.S. play all the lines, so they removed the lines-to-play option and just let players choose how many coins to bet per line. Many machines don't even show coins per line now on their button decks but instead show what your total bet will be. We had to search for a few minutes to find a machine that had the number-of-lines and coins-per-line buttons.

After Red Rock, I said we should stop by Suncoast because we were going to go right by it. He said that Suncoast wasn't as nice as Red Rock. I agreed and said that I liked the Cinemark theater at Suncoast better than the Regal theater at Red Rock because all of the theaters at Suncoast have luxury lounger seats.

So, I had visited Red Rock recently but hadn't played there for a few weeks until today. I received a postcard giving me two bonus free slot play offers: $20 today and $20 tomorrow. I had to take advantage of that "transparent dangling carrot."

I figured this was a bonus offer to get me back in the casino because the usual point multiplier days and occasional free play offers weren't doing it.

I went to the bank of NSU machines nearest to the entrance I use. All of the 10 positions were filled. That's very unusual for a regular-points day. The other banks had a few available machines. I settled in at a machine that used to be glare free but now has a moderate amount of glare from the overhead light. They must have moved the machines a few inches.

One of my video poker friends came up to me to say hello. He asked me if I had gotten the two-day offer. He said he had talked to a number of people and they all had gotten the offer.

I wasn't special. Not by a long shot. No wonder the good machines were unusually crowded.

He said that revenues must have been falling so the casino had a free-play promotion to get more play. I found that funny because it seems like every month for the past few months the casinos have reported record revenue.

He also made a prediction. He thinks the U.S. will go into a recession soon and that casino play will drop off. Slot clubs will have to get more generous to keep the players coming.

Maybe, but I don't casinos going back to the pre-closure formulas for awarding points for play. That would be very difficult to take away again when economic conditions improve and players come back on their own.

If anything we'll see more point multiplier days and more free-play offers. Although Boyd and Stations have settled in on regular point-multiplier days, they sometimes throw in an extra day in a month. They can make those bonus days more frequent. Free-play days seem to be chosen at random anyway, so adding more is easy. Taking them away is also easy because players won't really know they're getting less free play unless they compare the total value of their offers from one month to the next.

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Send your slot and video poker questions to John Robison, Slot Expert™, at slotexpert@slotexpert.com. Because of the volume of mail I receive, I regret that I can't reply to every question.

Copyright © John Robison. Slot Expert and Ask the Slot Expert are trademarks of John Robison.

John Robison
John Robison is an expert on slot machines and how to play them. John is a slot and video poker columnist and has written for many of gaming's leading publications. Hear John on "The Good Times Radio Gaming Show," broadcast from Memphis on KXIQ 1180AM Friday afternoons. You can listen to archives of the show online anytime.

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