Technology helps improve the odds
John Grochowski firstname.lastname@example.org May 9, 2012 5:02PM
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Updated: May 9, 2012 7:30PM
There are days in the casino when formulas for issuing free play and other comps somehow seem inadequate.
Maybe the formula says that given the game, the amount you’re wagering and the time spent playing, your average loss should be $80 or so. But you’ve run into some tough luck and lost several hundred dollars instead.
It seems as if there ought to be a way for casinos to give some comfort after losses out of proportion to the odds in the game. And there is. For generations, some operations delegated that duty to casino hosts who were empowered to comp above the formula.
Now, the process can be automated. Bally Technologies, which has developed both slot management and table management systems, has included an application to handle extraordinary losses in its Elite Bonusing suite. The application is called Flex Rewards, and it allows the casino to set parameters for giving perks outside normal levels.
When I spoke to a Bally representative about the application, he used a slot machine with an 8 percent hold as an example. A player who runs $1,000 in wagers through the machine expects an average loss of $80. A player who wins money still is going to be comped on the basis of that theoretical loss. So is a player who loses somewhat more.
What does that $80 mean in terms of rewards? Every casino operator has its own formula, but a reasonable guestimate for a slot player is about $2.50 in free play added to your account, a direct mail voucher for another few dollars, and maybe a buffet comp.
Mostly that balances out. Everyone wins sometimes, and loses more than the average sometimes.
But let’s say a customer loses $400, fast. Flex Rewards can be set to recognize that the player has had a much larger loss than average, and issue an instant reward. No casino is going to reimburse the entire $400 loss, but perhaps it will give the player $50 in extra free play to make the guest feel the casino is taking care of him and ensure return visits.
Those specific amounts are just examples. Perhaps the casino might want to set the parameters to give an extra reward after only $200 in losses within $1,000 in play, and perhaps it might want to make the reward only $10 in free play at $200, or $75 at $400. The application gives the operator the flexibility to use its own judgment as to what will keep the customers happy.
John Grochowski is a local free-lance writer. Look for him on Facebook (http://tinyurl.com/7lzdt44).