Here’s How Much Money You Need to Spend at the Casino to Get Free Stuff

Casino giveaways have been part of the business since the very beginning.

Casinos are the loss leader market’s rock stars, and have long been the home of the $1.99 prime rib dinner and free hot dog buffet. There is no magic number or dollar amount that will result in free parking, a loss rebate, free bets, or a free hotel room. Every casino does things a little differently, and the giveaway business has different levels.

The answer to the question of how much you have to bet to get comps is a little more complicated.

What’s a Comp?

The term comp is an abbreviation for “complimentary,” which refers to freebies provided by the casino to customers. They can be as simple as a free cocktail or an offer of free parking.

Incentives for big-money whales to come play, rewards for big spending at high-limit tables, or special offers for loyal customers.

The amount and quality of a comp are determined by which games a customer plays, how much they bet, how long they play, and how long they’ve been a regular guest over the years.

Casino Comp Levels

Most loyalty programs are tiered, which means that as players spend more money, they advance through the tiers and the comps they can earn become more valuable.

The comp’d cocktail is at the bottom of the scale, and it’s basically given to anyone who spends any amount of money gambling. There’s no way to judge the quality of those drinks because they’re free, but it’s a nice gesture on your casino host’s part. One rung higher, you’ll have access to free parking (not valet), a lounge, free meals, and so on.

When you start putting down a little more money, the casino ups the comps, including free valet parking, free hotel stays, access to high roller lounges and restaurants, and so on. A player may be comped as RFB in some cases, which means that their room, food, and beverage are all taken care of.

At the high end, the sky is the limit for comps.

Casinos will sometimes pay for airfare in addition to RFB, as well as limo rides, show tickets, concierge service, and the entire red carpet package. It’s not uncommon for casinos to offer their highest-paying customers loss rebates, in which their losses are recouped by a certain amount from the house.

Use of a private jet, private suite, or private anything is another big dangle from the casino hosts.

Casinos will sometimes pay for airfare in addition to RFB, as well as limo rides, show tickets, concierge service, and the entire red carpet package. It’s not uncommon for casinos to offer their highest-paying customers loss rebates, in which their losses are recouped by a certain amount from the house.

How are Comps Determined?

While high-level casino employees such as hosts and floor bosses are authorized to issue comps, most players earn them by using player cards and having their play automatically tracked, usually by a computerized system overseen by human operators.

As players swipe their cards and gamble, the system keeps track of how much action they’re putting out, on what games, and for how long. A tiered system is usually in place so that lower-level players can earn some rewards while the casino’s best customers can get freebies that are more in line with their financial status.

Though each casino loyalty program calculates things slightly differently, I can say that casinos typically require players to play for a certain amount of time at a certain level of activity in order to earn different levels of comps. Average Daily Theoretical Loss is the industry term for this.

Also known as the “theo.”

The theoretical amount of money a player stands to lose based on the house edge of the games they’re playing is referred to as their theo. This figure is used by the casino to determine comp tiers and payout rates.

Examples of Casino Comps

Some casino comp systems are clearer than others. It’s a good idea to look into some of these specific systems to get a better understanding of how casino comps work.

With 40 member properties worldwide, Caesar Rewards is one of the largest loyalty systems in the industry. This system tracks your play and spending at Caesar Rewards properties and is completely free to use. It also provides members with exclusive discounts on dining, show tickets, shopping, and hotel rates. Tier Credits and Reward Credits are the two types of rewards points offered by Caesar Rewards.

Tier Credits contribute to your overall Tier Score, which determines your status for the calendar year (January 1st to December 31st). Gold, Platinum, Diamond, and Seven Stars are the basic tiers.

Reward Credits are similar to Caesar’s currency in terms of obtaining player benefits. These points can be redeemed for immediate cash back or as points toward a room, meal, or entertainment at any Caesars property. The system is straightforward: every Tier Credit you earn earns you a Reward Credit. By placing bets, you can earn Tier Credits.
Caesars Rewards is a little tight-lipped about their exact conversion rate from bets to reward points. I was able to locate a few specific numbers. According to the rules, every $5 wagered on slots earns you one Reward Credit. For every $10 wagered on video poker, you receive one Reward Credit. Caesars does not disclose their formula for table games such as blackjack and craps, but it is likely to be similar to the formula for machine games as described.

How Much Do You Have to Spend to Get Comps?

In case you haven’t figured it out by now, the casinos don’t really want to tell you how much to spend to get access to their freebies.


You don’t have to spend a lot of money to get the lowest level of comps. If you order one, casinos will give you one for free almost immediately after you start playing. If you play for an hour or so at most casinos, you’ll have done well enough to have your paid self-parking fee waived.

However, the gap between those low-level giveaways and even the very next tier of rewards is pretty wide.

If you’re a slots player, and you join the Caesar Rewards program, you’ll need to put $25,000 in action through the slots to get to the second tier. That’s about 41 hours of play at $1 per spin. If you play video poker, the number is bigger. You’ll need to put $50,000 into the machines to get boosted to the second tier. That’s 40,000 plays at $1.25 per round or about 50 hours of play at the typical speed. To get to the Seven Stars tier as a slot player, you’d need about 1,230 hours of slot play. That’s more than 51 full days of playing slot machines. Remember, all that play has to be during the same calendar year for you to earn the rewards.

Clearly, to get the best offers from the casino, you’ve got to have a lot of money at risk and be a regular enough customer to rack up either hours of play or tens of thousands of dollars in bankroll losses.

Earning free stuff from the casino is expensive.


Some players take advantage of casino comps by playing at full tables to reduce losses, selecting the best video poker odds possible, and doing everything they can to minimize losses and maximize giveaway earnings.

Though casino loyalty programs have tightened to a point where this kind of bonus-maxing requires something like a full-time job to pull off, you’ll still find advantage grinders out there subsisting on comp’d French fries and watery Sprites.

There’s no reason you shouldn’t join a casino’s loyalty program if you’re going to gamble there anyway. Just don’t expect too much in the way of cool free stuff until you’re gambling big money in high-risk situations.