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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.


Here are the latest Covid data. There is a difference in the hospitalization data for US versus NV. The CDC reports total number of Covid hospital admissions. Nevada reports current hospitalizations, not total admissions.

All data comes from the CDC (https://www.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#cases_totalcases, https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#new-hospital-admissions), except for Nevada current hospitalizations (https://nvhealthresponse.nv.gov/).


Totals Weekly Changes
US NV US NV
Date Cases  Hosp. Adm.  Deaths  Cases  Curr. Hosp.  Deaths  Cases  Hosp. Adm.  Deaths  Cases  Curr. Hosp.  Deaths 
 11/15/22   97,889,652   5,509,935   1,070,947   857,473   256   11,580   284,889   22,561   2,280   2,771   92   10 
 11/08/22   97,604,763   5,487,374   1,068,667   854,702   164   11,570   274,976   24,829   2,316   1,741   23   15 
 11/01/22   97,329,787   5,462,545   1,066,351   852,961   141   11,555   266,430   23,562   1,199   1,661   15   11 
 10/25/22   97,063,357   5,438,983   1,065,152   851,300   126   11,544   260,881   22,914   5,111   1,096   (12)   8 
 10/18/22   96,802,476   5,416,069   1,060,041   850,204   138   11,536   267,788   22,644   2,537   1,005   6   6 
 10/11/22   96,534,688   5,393,425   1,057,504   849,199   132   11,530   285,222   23,034   3,061   1,322   14   21 
 10/04/22   96,249,466   5,370,391   1,054,443   847,877   118   11,509   330,300   24,415   3,054   702   3   15 
 09/27/22   95,919,166   5,345,976   1,051,389   847,175   115   11,494   366,858   26,055   2,857   1,042   (28)   48 
 09/20/22   95,552,308   5,319,921   1,048,532   846,133   143   11,446   400,929   29,165   2,973   1,839   0   19 
 09/13/22   95,151,379   5,290,756   1,045,559   844,294   143   11,427   506,189   34,540   2,978   1,758   (40)   16 
 09/06/22   94,645,190   5,256,216   1,042,581   842,536   183   11,411   534,380   30,772   3,526   1,762   (8)   20 
 08/31/22   94,110,810   5,225,444   1,039,055   840,774   191   11,391   600,148   35,692   3,297   2,434   (44)   32 
 08/23/22   93,510,662   5,189,752   1,035,758   838,340   235   11,359   655,186   38,778   3,198   2,550   (51)   20 
 08/16/22   92,855,476   5,150,974   1,032,560   835,790   286   11,339   719,100   40,762   3,375   3,561   (92)   77 
 08/09/22   92,136,376   5,110,212   1,029,185   832,229   378   11,262   937,985   42,621   3,822   5,729   (69)   41 
 08/01/22   91,198,391   5,067,591   1,025,363   826,500   447   11,221   828,560   43,943   2,695   28,360   (5)   16 
 07/26/22   90,369,831   5,023,648   1,022,668   798,140   452   11,205   905,096   45,024   3,072   5,468   (61)   41 
 07/19/22   89,464,735   4,978,624   1,019,596   792,672   513   11,164   890,226   42,620   3,035   7,077   (20)   37 
 07/12/22   88,574,509   4,936,004   1,016,561   785,595   533   11,127   912,596   44,750   2,575   8,611   78   67 
 07/05/22   87,661,913   4,891,254   1,013,986   776,984   455   11,060   683,630   30,500   2,476   8,713   53   34 
 06/28/22   86,978,283   4,860,754   1,011,510   768,271   402   11,026   809,381   33,856   2,580   6,189   (8)   36 
 06/21/22   86,168,902   4,826,898   1,008,930   762,082   410   10,990   648,857   30,459   2,040   8,081   95   41 
 06/14/22   85,520,045   4,796,439   1,006,890   754,001   315   10,949   757,093   29,971   2,630   9,809   42   40 
 06/07/22   84,762,952   4,766,468   1,004,260   744,192   273   10,909   813,916   30,146   2,190   6,818   55   26 
 05/31/22   83,949,036   4,736,322   1,002,070   737,374   218   10,883   670,041   24,555   2,285   5,738   16   41 
 05/24/22   83,278,995   4,711,767   999,785   731,636   202   10,842   756,047   25,027   2,317   5,324   37   28 
 05/17/22   82,522,948   4,686,740   997,488   726,312   165   10,814   680,888   21,183   2,097   3,693   35   26 
 05/10/22   81,842,060   4,665,557   995,371   722,619   130   10,788   534,465   17,934   3,932   2,802   32   11 
 05/03/22   81,307,595   4,647,623   991,439   719,817   98   10,777   432,666   14,755   2,448   2,213   (6)   49 
 04/26/22   80,874,929   4,632,868   988,991   717,604   104   10,728   348,507   12,597   2,446   1,447   (22)   46 
 04/19/22   80,526,422   4,620,271   986,545   716,157   126   10,682   266,330   10,525   3,308   1,232   (37)   497 
 04/12/22   80,260,092   4,609,746   983,237   714,925   163   10,185   228,465   10,343   3,627   1,228   23   53 
 04/05/22   80,031,627   4,599,403   979,610   713,697   140   10,132   203,709   10,312   4,105   1,059   (52)   76 
 03/29/22   79,827,918   4,589,091   975,505   712,638   192   10,056   206,914   9,572   4,083   1,187   5   40 
 03/22/22   79,621,004   4,579,519   971,422   711,451   187   10,016   200,627   8,502   8,178   742   (71)   83 
 03/15/22   79,418,377   4,571,017   963,244   710,709   258   9,933   253,069   17,393   5,492   24,844   (20)   113 
 03/08/22   79,165,308   4,553,624   957,752   685,865   278   9,820   310,308   24,471   9,870   2,099   (101)   116 
 03/01/22   78,855,000   4,529,153   947,882   683,766   379   9,704   465,845   33,261   14,988   6,421   (189)   196 
 02/22/22   78,389,155   4,495,892   932,894   677,345   568   9,508   551,462   46,726   12,797   4,023   (297)   173 
 02/15/22   77,837,693   4,449,166   920,097   673,322   865   9,335   1,005,691   67,963   17,059   5,280   (375)   149 
 02/08/22   76,782,002   4,381,203   903,038   668,042   1,240   9,186   1,769,556   92,750   18,185   11,144   (387)   235 
 02/01/22   75,012,446   4,288,453   884,853   656,898   1,627   8,951   3,193,570   121,420   17,885   26,555   (344)   191 
 01/25/22   71,818,876   4,167,033   866,968   630,343   1,971   8,760   5,102,999   143,329   16,393   57,574   99   133 
 01/18/22   66,715,937   4,023,704   850,575   572,769   1,872   8,627   4,983,654   147,105   13,301   25,927   (1,787)   99 
 01/11/22   61,732,283   3,876,599   837,274   546,842   3,659   8,528   5,421,565   139,572   12,168   32,486   2,594   100 
 01/05/22   56,310,718   3,737,027   825,106   514,344   1,065   8,428   3,501,427   104,272   8,867   20,966   276   61 
 12/28/21   52,809,291   3,362,755   816,239   493,378   789   8,367   1,693,987   63,185   11,127   7,977   89   56 
 12/21   51,115,304   3,569,570   805,112   485,401   700   8,311   1,063,296   55,734   9,102   5,639   9   110 
 12/14   50,052,008   3,513,836   796,010   479,762   691   8,201   853,262   57,885   8,946   5,008   17   91 
 12/07   49,198,746   3,455,951   787,064   474,754   674   8,110   821,215   66,191   8,575   5,011   23   125 
 11/30   48,377,531   3,389,760   778,489   469,743   651   7,985   563,746   28,426   6,309   3,343   (50)   55 
 11/23   47,813,785   3,361,334   772,180   466,400   701   7,930   667,924   41,145   10,754   4,784   (24)   86 
 11/16   47,145,861   3,320,189   761,426   461,616   725   7,844   604,748   63,164   7,862   4,577   22   85 
 11/09   46,541,113   3,257,025   753,564   457,039   703   7,759   516,764   33,219   8,290   5,539   34   103 
 11/02   46,024,349   3,223,806   745,274   451,500   669   7,656   555,915   38,028   9,226   4,327   45   109 
 10/26   45,468,434   3,185,778   736,048   447,173   624   7,547   488,829   42,265   9,842   4,753   (87)   96 
 10/19   44,979,605   3,143,513   726,206   442,420   711   7,451   578,396   11,963   4,381   136 
 10/12   44,401,209   714,243   438,039   7,315   795,586   14,067   15,710   149 
 10/05   43,605,623   700,176   422,329   7,166   554,194   10,642   3,852   121 
 09/28   43,051,429   689,534   418,477   7,045   817,218   14,463   6,160   165 
 09/21   42,234,211   675,071   412,317   6,880   971,637   14,691   7,466   152 
 09/14   41,262,574   660,380   404,851   6,728   1,176,763   12,919   10,256   145 
 09/07   40,085,811   647,461   394,595   6,583   975,725   10,076   5,237   104 
 08/31   39,110,086   637,385   389,358   6,479   1,113,414   9,385   7,592   173 
 08/24   37,996,672   628,000   381,649   6,306   1,045,491   7,507   8,117   116 
 08/17   36,951,181   620,493   373,649   6,190   959,978   4,715   7,065   150 
 08/10   35,991,203   615,778   366,584   6,040   819,524   3,987   7,652   122 
 08/03   35,171,679   611,791   358,932   5,918   622,832   2,279   7,489   81 
 07/27   34,548,847   609,012   351,443   5,837   652,251   2,394   8,347   79 


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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