1. Welcome to VegasMessageBoard
    It appears you are visiting our community as a guest.
    In order to view full-size images, participate in discussions, vote in polls, etc, you will need to Log in or Register.

How did casinos provide comps before players club cards?

Discussion in 'Comps' started by lithium78, Feb 4, 2014.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. lithium78

    lithium78 High-Roller

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2013
    Messages:
    899
    Location:
    New Jersey
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    4
    Here's a question for all you gamers who have been playing since before everything was made electronic: How did casinos determine comps before players club cards were introduced? How did they keep track of everything and know what to give individual players as comps?
     
  2. Viva Las Vegas

    Viva Las Vegas Ramblin' Gamblin' Man

    Joined:
    May 31, 2008
    Messages:
    2,594
    Location:
    Chicago
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    46
    The Pit tracked buy-ins and play at table games writing on index cards.

    Never played VP until recently, but I believe the slot buy ins were also tracked by pen and paper.

    [YOUTUBE]LgEApN9ap0A[/YOUTUBE]
     
  3. TIMSPEED

    TIMSPEED !địt mẹ!

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2013
    Messages:
    4,570
    Location:
    Modesto, CA
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    001
    Yup...and the funny part is, that's JANugget in Reno...and they pretty much still did comps that same way up until they sold the place in December 2013...
     
    Palace Tower Suite!
  4. TRN

    TRN High-Roller

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2011
    Messages:
    700
    Location:
    Cleveland, OH
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    23
    There were a lot of discretionary comps, issued by the pit bosses to players that caught their attention for playing a lot of money or a long time (or both). Free meals were common.
     
  5. lithium78

    lithium78 High-Roller

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2013
    Messages:
    899
    Location:
    New Jersey
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    4
    Very interesting video. I've never seen "Hard Eight" before but I notice it's on Netflix streaming. I think I know what I'll be watching while I'm snowed in here.
     
  6. DonD

    DonD Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2004
    Messages:
    9,139
    Location:
    So Cal 91748
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    300
    Pit bosses use to carry a comp pad in their pocket. At times I've been way over comped and he would write on the ticket, "Player refused to identify himself." Also during that time there wasn't a money limit on comps. It was food + beverage (FB.)
     
  7. CaptainJack

    CaptainJack Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2009
    Messages:
    468
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    24
    There was even an in-between period when players clubs were just for machines...if you got a table games rating card, it was just a piece of plastic without a magnetic strip. It just had your players card number on it. At many places your table games rating and your machine ratings were separate numbers. It used to be very easy to play for an hour and lean over to the pit and ask for a meal comp. They'd pull out their pad, check off buffet or coffee shop, how many guests, and whether or not it included alcohol. That's it. Even better, if you didn't use a comp, it was pretty easy to find a floorperson on your next trip who would just adjust the dates for you. After all, you earned it sometime.

    My favorite though were the Horseshoe properties back when the Binion family owned them. Play one hand and ask the pit for a buffet comp...you were never denied.
     
  8. UKFanatic

    UKFanatic The Arbiter of Taste Caviar Kid

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2010
    Messages:
    6,839
    Location:
    Tennessee
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    50
    Reading this reminded me that at the GoldStrike in Tunica, my friends and I used to get buffet comps issued on pieces of paper, even though we had Players Club cards. I think they continued that system at GS right up until it became Mlife.
     
  9. Morpheus7272

    Morpheus7272 Low-Roller

    Joined:
    May 27, 2003
    Messages:
    413
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    34
    Back in the day...

    I seem to remember reading that, before player's cards, slot machines were equipped to issue a ticket (like those that the games at Dave and Buster's spit out) when some predetermined "unit" bet level was reached. The tickets could be saved, accumulated, and turned in for free meals, etc.
     
  10. Smo

    Smo Mr. Las Vegas

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2012
    Messages:
    1,069
    Location:
    6 Hours from Vegas
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    42
    Was playing BJ at Trashy Castle during their grand opening. Winning lots and played for awhile. Pit manager comes over to me, we talk a bit, and then asks me if I'm hungry. He pulls out a pad of generic comps. Writes down free buffet, a dollar value, and the current date. He hands it to me and says, "Here, go eat, lunch is on us today!"

    As mentioned , comps back then and before were given out depending on your play. Not sure how they tracked them, but I remember that I didn't have a players card for sure!
     
  11. dankyone

    dankyone VIP Whale

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2011
    Messages:
    1,449
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    105
    That was the whole problem from the hotel's point of view--they WEREN'T tracked, and food comps were given out like candy to anyone the pit observed betting large amounts, regardless of how long he played. The system was easily gamed, no real theo had to be generated to get food comps, and "the squeaky wheel got the grease."

    But before everyone says that sounds better, remember there were no comps for machine play AT ALL, and food comps for better restaurants were only for higher stakes table players.
     
  12. mcevene

    mcevene Tourist

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2013
    Messages:
    23
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    328
    desert inn late 60's

    Company had a convention and we received the least expensive room for three nights at the desert inn. Wife played slots (I watched in disbelief _ as I did not gamble back then) she decided (she decided) as it was a once in a lifetime chance at that time to ever stay in such a nice place. Said she was going to take our entire budget for the trip and use it on first night. If we lost we were going to tell my boss she got sick and leave the next day. She played she got a rack (young people don't know what that is in vegas terms)
    of coins ($100) an won $500 (a lot back then) as the coins spit out of the machine I stacked the racks - the pit boss who worked that section came over and on a piece of paper with hotel logo and the word printed that said comp and a place of his signature and time/date and wrote dinner buffet - she cashed out. then to my dismay and shock she got another rack ($100) and won - same guy came over and wrote on ticket, breakfeast roomservice and then another one that said lunch buffet. She won more and got a ticket that said dinner at the steak house and on back of ticket he wrote - two appterices, two main courses, two deserts and one bottle of house wine. we left with $650
    and when we check out the same guy came over and gave us his business card and on back it said - 3 nights anyday - buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner at the steak house. Worst win I ever had - wife was hooked and still is and I still don't gamble
     
  13. dmr

    dmr Registered Abuser

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2011
    Messages:
    4,647
    Location:
    Somewhere in Middle America
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    70
    Back in the 1970s and 1980s you could say that everyone got "casino rate" since the room rates were ridiculously low. I think we paid $9.99 in the 70s for those "dorm rooms" out back at the Stardust. I remember at the time comparing it to staying at a HoJo up in Connecticut which was $19.95-ish.

    I and my ex were never rated table players, but we got on the Stardust mailing list and they would occasionally send us free room offers, usually right before the holidays or in the heat of August. Usually they were 2 days, but additional days were so reasonable it was not even worth worrying about it.

    I think it was the early 90s when Stardust rolled out their slot club. I was one of the very first members, and the slot card was kind of like a plastic punch card with square holes in it. They were very generous with free rooms in the period when they were tearing down the fifth "stalag" out back and building the mega-tower. When they opened the new mega-tower they did have some freebee offers for slot club members to get you hooked on it. :)
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2014
  14. Malibugolfer

    Malibugolfer High-Roller

    Joined:
    May 25, 2011
    Messages:
    785
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    100
    Back in the 1980's, before Mirage, a longtime friend and neighbor and his brother created the first casino loyalty card product.
    If memory serves it was "Players Club International" and he had working deals in Atlantic City and Vegas. I think Park Place (who owned some of the now CET places) was part of his card program.
    The casinos took the idea from him. Google Ed Fishman.
     
  15. lithium78

    lithium78 High-Roller

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2013
    Messages:
    899
    Location:
    New Jersey
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    4
    I'm guessing that it probably wasn't as big of a deal to get a free buffet back then because you didn't have stuff like the buffets at the Wynn or Bellagio or Aria. Now I bet that takes a much bigger chunk out of a casino's profits, especially with gaming revenue on the decline these days.
     
  16. CaptainJack

    CaptainJack Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2009
    Messages:
    468
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    24
    I remember the commercials with Telly Savalas. Even better was the SNL spoof "Players With Yourself Club."

    "Two-ply tissues...who loves ya baby? ...YOU DO!"
     
  17. zignerlv

    zignerlv Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2006
    Messages:
    436
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    40
    For slots/VP it was relatively easy to exploit the lack of automated tracking.

    For one example, when the Rio was new, they had a slot card but it was only used to track buy ins. When you bought coin you gave the person your card which they scanned and recorded the buy in amount. Hard to remember the actual figure, but the buy in for a comp for 2 at their then new and best in LV buffet was about $200-300 buy in. I would buy dollar coins for about half the requirement, play some (15 minutes), cash it in, and then buy some more coin, and ask for the comp.

    This method was also not fair to the lucky player who bought in small and then quickly got on a winning streak and had no need to buy in more. I fully understand if you played hours and the slot personnel saw you there all that time you could still get a comp, but that was dependent on them seeing you. If you did the buy in requirement, you didn't have to worry about that.
     
  18. JustaMom

    JustaMom Newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2013
    Messages:
    3
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    8
    I remember when we would scour the Golden Nugget for tickets that were spit out of the machines, up and down the aisles haha Makes me laugh now, thinking the security above must have been shaking their heads Anyway, would turn those tickets in for show tickets, meals, even towards rooms :)
     
  19. MNVegasgal

    MNVegasgal Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2003
    Messages:
    416
    Location:
    Twin Cities, MN
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    40
    Way back in the day (Late 80's early 90's) the Westward gave you a stamp card.. and when you bought a roll of quarters they stamped it. We would buy a roll.. dump it into our plastic coin cup.. play a little - cash it in, and start all over. When you got your card full of stamps.. you were rewarded a comp. My first hotel mailer for a free room was from the Westward Ho.. our room was in the back .. where you could pull a car right up to the door. 5 of us stayed in that room.. and there was plenty of space. Loved walking next door to Slots of Fun for the free popcorn. Wow.. that was back in the day.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.