The "Free" Drinks at Land-Based Casinos
Back in the day in Las Vegas, players got free drinks when they played at the land-based casinos there. Some even got drinks without having to gamble at all. But as time passed, these operators started realizing that the cost of those free drinks was cutting too much into their profits.
After all, the main reason behind the free drinks’ policy was to abuse players and get them tipsy and spending more playing games. Instead, it was the other way round. The players were abusing the casinos by drinking more and gambling less or they’d try to high RTP games like live blackjack instead of going to the good old pokies, which is casinos’ bread and butter.
In this article, we will discuss the different technologies that land-based casinos have used in an attempt to monitor the free drinks that players get. In addition, we will talk about what the future holds for the land-based casinos’ free drinks era. Let’s dive right in.
Introduction of Drink Vouchers
In a bid to reduce the number of free drinks, Mirage started using drink vouchers in 2015. When a player bets a total of $20, he gets a voucher that can be traded for a free drink.
Thus, to get more drinks, players need to place more bets, which is the only way casino operators can enjoy more profit.
Apart from Mirage, Cosmopolitan’s Chandelier Bar also adopted the use of a similar voucher system. However, one of the drawbacks of the system is that a player can transfer vouchers to other players, although this is very uncommon.
As a result, there is no way to restrict free drinks to the actual players that placed the bets.
Caesar's Entertainment Drink Monitoring Machine
Another technology that is used in monitoring free drinks is the drink monitoring machine.
In 2016, Caesar’s Entertainment rolled out drink monitoring machines to ensure that only players who have placed a certain bet amount can claim free drinks.
The machine has two lights — a red light and a green light. When a player plays a minimum bet of $1 a hand at a steady pace, the light stays green, and he gets free drinks steadily.
However, if the light is red, players need to place more bets or play more rounds to get free drinks. The drink monitoring machine makes the work easier for bartenders. They no longer have to guess who deserves a free drink and how often.
The Points System at Park MGM Las Vegas
Another invention for monitoring free drinks at land-based casinos was the introduction of a Points System by Park MGM Las Vegas. The casino offered a free drink to players that wagered at least $20 into a video poker machine.
Afterwards, further free drinks depended on how many session points the player had. At first, the operator only offered a free drink when players had 25 session points.
But many guests were displeased, so the number was later reduced. With the points system, players who want to enjoy more free drinks will have to play more game rounds.
Nonetheless, MGM still allows players who have a club card to use it to get free drinks. However, this depends on the tier level of the card. Those who don’t have a club card will have to pay for their drinks.
Bad News for Low Stakers
The different technologies that land-based casinos have put in place to monitor and reduce the free drinks that players get is bad news for low stakers.
This is because the requirement to get these free drinks revolves around wagering more real money or spending more time betting.
Understandably, land-based casinos want to profit from their primary gambling service. So, we cannot be quick to judge them for adopting these changes.
The Era of Free Drinks Without Limit is over
From what we are seeing in different land-based casinos such as the MGM Resorts casinos in Las Vegas, we can conclude that the era of free drinks without limit is finished.
While comped drinks will always be one of the perks of gambling at land-based casinos, they will be monitored more closely in the future.
Some casinos may even scrap free drinks from their list. As for those who will offer free drinks, they will ensure that every player earns them.
By applying drink monitoring technologies, operators will be able to ensure that seats at games are available to those who actually want to play. Thus, players who only have an interest in getting free drinks without betting will be discouraged to visit such casinos
Another good thing about adopting drink monitoring technology is that it helps ensure that casino bartenders are not over serving customers. On average, players should be getting a maximum of three drinks per hour. This will help them enjoy gambling better and avoid getting drunk quickly.
As an advantage for online casinos, they can save millions that would have gone towards catering for the comp drinks.