Slots Rewards Programs

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Before 1984, the technology did not exist to reward slot players based upon their “loyalty” to a casino. Then, International Game Technology (IGT) acquired Electronic Data Technologies (EDT), gaining the patent for a computerized method of tracking slot player behavior.

The program centered on a plastic ID card with a magnetic strip, rather like a credit card. When the card was inserted in a slot machine, it would allow a casino to record not only what games were played but also how much money was wagered, how many spins were played, how long the player remained at each machine and how much was won or lost.

Certainly it was in the player’s best interest to have such actions tracked. The technology allowed IGT and its casino customers to identify “frequent slot players,” and the resultant data could be used to indicate who was worthy of receiving “comps” (complimentary services) and other rewards. So began the move toward all of the casino “rewards” programs and slot clubs that have followed.

Nowadays, joining a casino’s slots program or club is a necessity prior to play. It is the only way to get the credit one deserves for wagering. Membership makes it possible to “win without winning,” getting cash and prizes just for showing up.

Because casinos compete with each other for new business, they are more than happy to provide customers with plenty of rewards. Membership is free. The only requirement is proof of identity as a legal adult with a place of residence. And all they want in return is loyal play that can be tracked and quantified.

Upon joining, each new member of a slots rewards program is issued a personalised card. The front of the card shows the player’s name and member ID number. A few clubs take photographs to embed the player’s image on the card as well. On the reverse side of the card is the magnetic strip that stores data.

Whenever the player sits down to play at a slot machine, the plastic card must be inserted into a special “tracking slot,” much like using a debit card at an ATM. If the card is inserted properly, a personal greeting will appear on an LED display, welcoming the player by name and displaying the member’s account status.

The vast majority of slots rewards programs are based upon a “points” accumulation system. So-called “loyalty points” or reward points are awarded for slot play at a fixed rate, such as one point per pound wagered. The points are stored in the player’s account until certain thresholds are reached, and then they can be exchanged for prizes, cash or comps. The value of each point depends on how the rewards program is structured, such as £1 for every 100, 200, or 500 points.

In addition to being valuable for rewards, the points that are earned are used to determine the player’s “status” within the slots program. Members who play often for long periods of time and who wager heavily are highly sought after by casinos. They are assigned higher tiers of membership than those who play infrequently for small amounts. A typical set of tiers might be Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. Many clubs offer VIP levels, such as Diamond or Palladium, for their very best customers, who are referred to as “High Rollers.”

The higher the status the more rewards are available. Benefits range from extra bonus points and free bonus cash to free entries in prize drawings, free meals and rooms, invitations to VIP events, excursions and cruises. All of these come in addition to the ability to redeem points.

Slots rewards programs also have special promotions for members. Bonus points are often awarded upon joining as well as for providing an email address or playing on specified days of the week. One common promotion is “point multipliers,” such as triple points for slot play during promotion periods or on certain machines.

Slot players are responsible for seeing that their membership cards are used during play and properly inserted in the machines in order to receive points for every credit played. Players should also keep abreast of special offers to get the very most out their slot play.

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