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What exactly are gaming comps?

The economist Milton Friedman once said: “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.” The comps offered by casinos – both online and land-based – make a similar point, handing out special treats to reward gamblers for their loyalty.

From free hotel rooms to lavish dinners, these bonuses are what power business at casinos across the world. But how do you make sure you can get them? Here we look at all things comps – how they work, when they’re given, and how you can make sure you’re getting the best ones available.

What is a comp?


A ‘comp’ is a term used to describe complimentary bonuses afforded to regular betters or new customers.

Gambling is an industry that is unique unto itself, with a set of rules and etiquette that often sets it apart from the world around it. The use of the word ‘comps’ is the perfect example of the insider mentality that gambling looks to foster. Casinos are eager to draw in customers by making their pursuits feel as though they are exclusive – that way they can attract more customers.

To some of the highest rollers in the world, a comp can take the form of an unlimited fund to spend in designer clothes shops, restaurants or entertainment facilities. For regular betters, comps represent things such as free spins, buy-ins or similar incentives, both in land-based venues and online.

Understanding how the system works


One of the ways comps foster loyalty with their patrons is by offering them seemingly lucrative deals in shops that they own. A $35 spending spree may seem like a lavish reward for playing your favourite casino games, but when you consider you might be staking significant sums of money, it doesn’t seem like as much of an outlay.

Outside of the high-rollers, comps are offered to encourage you to bet. For example, if you bet £10 on sports betting in the UK, you will usually be offered a free bet twice that of your initial stake.

To benefit from comps, you need to know how the points system works.

Comps are calculated by estimating how much they can theoretically win from a player – or how much money a player is expected to lose. They base this on the total stake a player makes, multiply that by the house edge and take a fraction of that total to create your comp.

Usually, this starts by getting hold of a Player’s Card and inserting it into slot machines you’re playing so the house knows how much money you’ve spent – and therefore how much bonus you’re entitled to. At table games, you should give the pit boss a heads-up that you’re actually there, so they can record how long you’re playing for.

Which games will earn you more comps

The comp system also takes into account the games you’re playing. In terms of the types of games that offer the most comps, go for games that require less skill. These games – blackjack and slots for example – will score you the most points. If you’re playing slots it doesn’t make much difference – if any – how long you’re at the machine. It’s more important how much money you’re playing with.

House edge is a big factor that determines how generous the comps are in each particular game – so for example, video poker players will often earn half the comps other players earn due to the house’s slimmer advantage compared with other games.

You should take your time. Time spent equals more comps earned, so it’s a good idea to be seen to be playing as long as possible – stretching out your bankroll as far as it’ll go. By making your initial bets larger than those that follow, you’ll be earmarked as a potential high roller – and start receiving bonuses and free play vouchers much quicker than you otherwise would.

That’s kind of it – just make sure everyone knows how long you’ve been gambling, and how much you’re spending. If you’re a loyal customer, that’ll be recognised in the level of comps you get.

Comps at online casinos


If you want to make the most of comps, you should also sign up with a trusted online casino. For example, 888casino have a points system in place that ensures their customers are rewarded with comps should they earn them, the great thing about the comps at this online casino, is the fact that they convert to real cash. The more you play, the more you earn in comps. Online casinos can provide comps more readily and if you want to be quid’s in, you should follow these top tips:

  • Add your email. Signing up for email communications from online casinos can hugely benefit your betting success. The majority of online providers will send customers regular offers to entice them to wager money, and if you’re a smart better, you can take advantage of beneficial comps.
  • Spot special days. Many casinos experience a lull on certain days of the week, and as such they will offer players certain comps to encourage them to bet. Sundays are notoriously low grossing days, for example, and as such the comps tend to be more generous on these days.
  • Watch out for special promotions. Welcome bonuses and double-your-money offers are not too difficult to find, as well as daily deals. You can also get live play comps while you’re playing for a certain length of time. Again, these are worked out by game skill level, the amount you’ve wagered and the length of time you’re gambling for.

Casinos will differ on what kind of comp they offer and when – but one thing’s for sure, only the most reputable operators can guarantee the best comps as well as the most engaging games. To get started, check out a leading online casino and follow the tips we’ve put forward here.


If you’re reading this article, then chances are you’re not a gambling high-roller – you’d probably be sat by a pool on a Panamanian Caribbean island if you were. If you’re not a high-roller, you need to look at small ways to take advantage of comps. This involves understanding how casinos come up with them.

Betting is a complex business, but if you’re savvy with your gambling, you can make a lot of extra money from betting companies that are desperate to entice new customers and foster loyalty. You don’t have to be the biggest better in the world, rather you have to bet small and regularly – to gain the trust of the operator.

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