Free food, rooms from Valley casinos? How to cash in on 'comps'

SCOTTSDALE - Every year, U.S. casinos give away more than one billion dollars worth of amenities to customers in return for their gambling action. These giveaways, known as comps, range from free parking and drinks to gourmet meals and airfare.

From nickel slots to big money bettors, gamblers are cashing in on casino comps.

A comp, short for complimentary, simply means something that's free and Valley casinos are willing to give you plenty of free stuff.

"Why go to Vegas?" asked Ramon Martinez.

The Director of Public Relations for Casino Arizona and Talking Stick Resort said the first sure bet is to join the casino's Player Rewards Club.

"One of the immediate perks you'll get here at Casino Arizona as a club member is you'll get buy one get one free tickets at the shows in our showroom," Martinez explained.

Player Rewards Club
members are automatically eligible for cold hard cash in frequent drawings as well as other prizes including sports cars and trips. Enjoy free membership, free account review and valuable benefits, including Free Play, dining discounts and access to the exciting amenities at Talking Stick Resort.

"You'll get preferred treatment at lines in the cage at the Players Rewards Club, even at the restaurants that we have VIP lines," said Martinez.

Gila River Casinos, including Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino, Vee Quiva and Lone Butte, also invite guests to visit their Players Club to sign up for a complimentary card which entitles you to many benefits and perks.

The Gila River Casinos Players Club features four tiers -- Emerald, Ruby, Gold and Platinum which include perks and benefits based upon a guest's play. The more points a guest earns, the higher their status will be.

The higher the status, the more benefits and perks that will be received like complimentary food and event tickets, discounts and priority VIP lines. The number of points a guest earns in a year determines their status and benefits. Guests can earn and redeem points at all three of their casinos with one card.

And, if you want a free room, don't be shy about sharing your personal information with a casino.

"It's very important to give your name and address to the casino so you can get these mail offers," said gambling expert and author Jean Scott.

Scott, known as the " Queen of Comps " deals out another secret. "I thought you had to be a high roller to get free rooms - you don't!"
             
Most casinos, according to Scott, dish out their free hotel rooms by sending the offers directly to your front door. And, if you want an upgrade to a luxury suite, you'll want to make sure you meet a casino host to get the next level of comps.

"This person is the one that has the power of the pen that means they can write you out comps," explained Scott.

When you hit the casino floor be sure to ask to speak to a host. Develop a relationship with that person. They will track your level of play and dish out comps accordingly. So be honest with them about how much you plan to gamble.

And remember, don't be afraid to ask for a comp, sometimes a polite request goes a long way.
          
"They come around and offer you freebies," smiled gambler Nancy Wagner. "Like going to the buffet and they'll give you a ticket for two meals so my husband and I can both get free gifts."
     
But be careful not to go bust by playing just for comps.

"If you lose $200 while you're trying to earn a $10 buffet, that is going to be the most bitter tasting meal you ever had in your life," Scott giggled.

So sign up, keep an eye on your mailbox and make friends with your casino host to take advantage of all the comps Valley casinos have to offer.
 
The "Queen of Comps" adds the slow holiday season is the best time to get a free hotel room comp.

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