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Casino Rewards Programs: How They Stack Up

Thursday, January 03, 2013

 

With Bay State residents pouring millions of dollars into casinos each year, GoLocalWorcester set out to determine which gambling venues give players the most bang for their buck.

A Closer Look At The Connecticut Casinos

Customers hoping to climb the rungs of club membership at Mohegan Sun in Montville, Connecticut begin with the Player’s Club. Here, players accumulate points and depending on one’s play, can earn special hotel room rates, complimentary tickets for Connecticut Sun basketball games, private entertainment events, invites to sweepstakes, a 5 percent discount with points at any Essentials shop and Mohegan Sun Mobil gas station and convenience store, and more.

If a player earns 800 points every six months, they are upgraded to the Wolf Club where they enjoy the same perks, plus access to the Feather lounge, Arrowhead Lounge, and Sachem Lounge, as well as access to the VIP lounge Sunday through Friday.

The third rung of the Mohegan Sun food chain is the Sagamore Club, where members enjoy all the same benefits as the Wolf Club, plus access to the VIP lounge seven days a week, complimentary hotel stays Sunday through Thursday, and a few other perks.

Then there’s the Sachem Club. A level so exclusive it cannot even be found on the casino’s website, card members are allowed to visit a specific lounge on the 33rd floor and are given special parking spots.

Eleven miles away in Mashantucket, Connecticut, Foxwoods Resort Casino has its own set of rewards designed to help lure customers in the door. With five levels of reward membership, gamblers start out with a “Wild Card” and can work their way all the way up to a “Royal” card, where customers can enjoy VIP and priority registration, club lounge access seven days a week, exclusive parties, preferred parking, complimentary museum and spa tickets, and much more.

Let’s Talk Slots

With table games yet to be implemented in Rhode Island, gamblers take to the slot machines and test their luck electronically. Considered to be one of the most addictive forms of gambling, slot parlor regulars can be quick to accumulate reward points. At Newport Grand, points can be redeemed for food, beverage and dining options, as well as brand-name merchandise like electronics, kitchen appliances, sporting goods, entertainment, jewelry, and show tickets.

Lincoln’s Twin River is in the process of adding table games to their establishment. But in the meantime, customers are racking up rewards like free tickets to entertaining events, food and bonus play credits, merchandise, invitations to special events, and more.

A Dying Breed?

While these rewards may seem enticing, Director of UMass-Dartmouth’s Center for Policy Analysis Clyde Barrow says the rewards programs aren’t what they once were.

“We’ve seen the Connecticut casinos cutting back on rewards programs,” said Barrow. “Most likely because of declining revenues.”

Barrow says the casinos have seen employee layoffs and a decline in overall business. He attributes some of the trend to a stagnant economy, but also to the new competition posed by casinos located in New York.

The shrinking rewards programs might be indicative of a larger, national trend.

“I’ve personally noticed rewards programs diminishing over the last few years,” said Bill Stedman, President of Casino Consultants, a firm based out of Great Falls, Montana. “They seem to be cutting back in venues all over the country that I’ve been in.”

To Stedman, a 20-year veteran of the gaming industry, it’s a direct result of dwindling profits and a lack of resources.

“Everybody’s watching the bottom line,” said Stedman. "Casinos promote these rewards programs now as much as they ever have, but what players get is actually significantly less.”
 

 

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