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You've Got Mail!

Sometimes it pays to get out of bed early in the morning.  Once each week I have all of my mail FedExed to me while on vacation.  With the proper delivery instructions, those Fed-Ex guy can find the remotest Caribbean harbor-village and even the correct boat at the dock. In my package this week was a couple of casino offers, and one was in the form of a Get Well card.  A casino host with a great sense of humor, that I've known for years, sent one along with the words, "You MUST be sick, because we haven't seen you for SO long.  Get well, and come back soon."  It provided a good early morning laugh.  Even if you are like some people who like to rise at the crack of noon, I still have news for you to smile about.

 Las Vegas COMPS are improving.

Contrary to popular belief and recent e-news reports, not ALL casinos have tightened their comp policies.  Yes, Harrah's in trying to pay for their Rio and Showboat acquisitions have clenched their complimentary wallet a lot tighter in the past number of months.  Yes, the Venetian has their pruned their generosity-tree and put the fear of a tyrannical boss into the hearts of their casino-hosts.  Yes, MGM-Mirage has a new slogan for super high-rolling "whales", that goes something like "We can't spell "SUCKER" without "U"; but all is not bleak and morbid in my favorite desert oasis.

 The amount of freebie offers to players is increasing exponentially for a couple of reasons.

Increased competition from California casinos.

A slowing of the economy.

Increased "in-town" competition.

Falling stock-market prices on publicly-traded casino company shares.

A lot less former dot-com bazillionaires are still solvent, and willing to gamble.

Fear of being out-paced or out-smarted by the competition.

As the "big" houses get bigger, and fight for fewer "whales"; the remainder have to fight over the table scraps and tidbits of us smaller players.

Whatever the reasons, there are now abundant opportunities to take advantage of some interesting complimentaries, which are being offered by even the most tight-fisted management teams.

Besides the usual luxury suites, full spa treatments, free shows and the customary gourmet dinner offers; I thought that I would list a couple of the more fascinating ones that we have received in the past little while. 

From Station Casino:

A $700 air-flight allowance, airport limo pick-up, luxury suite, unlimited movie-theater pass, full gourmet meal comps and four tickets for any and all performances by Loretta Lynn, Blue Oyster Cult & Nazareth, Ronnie Milsap, The Doobie Brothers, Patty Loveless, Tricia Yearwood and Diamond Rio.  I usually don't play very much at Palace Station, Boulder Station, Sunset Station, Santa Fe Station, Wild Wild West, or Texas Station, et al.  The reason for that is because I find them fairly crowded even in "off-hours".  These casinos are frequented by a lot of local players, but they also treat "out-of-town" customers quite well.

From Lady Luck Hotel:

They continue to offer the full use of their corporate box for the Thomas & Mack Events Center and Cashman Field.  This is especially useful when big concert tours or the National Finals Rodeo comes to town.  Lady Luck has also added the use of their corporate box at Las Vegas Motor Speedway to their list of tempting comps.  If you too, are a big Nascar Winston Cup, Busch Grand National or Craftsman Truck Series fan, who enjoys All-Access Pit Passes, Corporate Sponsor party invitations, and "Meet the Drivers" luncheons, this is a special treat.

From the Horseshoe Casino:

A one-week all expenses-paid vacation to the original Benny Binion Ranch.  Playing cow-poke for a week on this working ranch is a change of pace from exploding volcanoes and pirate battles.

From Las Vegas Hilton, Stardust, MGM Grand, Bally's and Caesars:

Every casino has a Super Bowl party, but for a good handful of players, these casinos in particular will send you right to the Big Game.   They do the same thing for the Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and Belmont Stakes, NCAA Final Four, Indy 500, NBA Championship, the World Series, and a number of other high profile sporting events like the PGA Masters and the tennis world's U.S. Open.

From Terrible's Casino:

All-Access passes, transportation, accommodation, and private party invitations to any off-road desert races that Terrible Herbst has vehicles entered into.  This includes the Gold Coast Desert Classic, the Baja 500, the Reno-to-Vegas, the Barstow 250, Mesquite 300, Tonopah Classic and the Baja 1000.

From Bellagio, Mandalay Bay, Venetian, Rio, MGM Grand, Mirage, Paris and Aladdin:

It seems that all of the "big" houses are trying to entice players with super-gourmet offerings.  Not only are fully comped feasts being offered, but the newest trend is to have their world-famous chefs prepare special meals for a small, intimate gathering of players for an extraordinary presentation of culinary "oneupsmanship".  So far we've sat down to enjoy what Julian Serrano of Bellagio's Picasso, Joachim Splichal of Venetian's Pinot Brasserie, and Allesandro Stratta of Mirage's Renoir have creatively offered. 

In addition to that, a couple of hotels have started offering gourmet-cooking lessons for either the player or the player's spouse.  The idea of learning from Emeril Lagasse, Wolfgang Puck, Mark Miller, or Charlie Palmer sounds intriguing, especially if your spouse has said that she wanted to go on a vacation to someplace she's never been before…and you showed her where your kitchen is!  Also, a comp like this is really useful if your wife's idea of calling you for dinner includes the words, "Okay honey, get in the car, I'm ready to go to McDonalds."


It seems that interest in boxing is not limited to the cartoon-bad-guy antics of Mike Tyson.  The usual boxing venues like MGM Grand and Mandalay Bay, have been joined by the lesser likes of Sunset Station, Gold Coast and even downtown's Plaza for pugilistic pummeling.

From Caesars Palace:

A couple of tantalizing offers from the Roman Empire.  The first, is an all-expenses, full-week stay at any one of Caesar's four non-gaming resorts in the beautiful Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania.  These are the ones that have the two-story-high champagne-glass see-thru bathtubs in some of their suites. 

The other offer is for a six-day, five-night whirlwind junket that starts with a trip on the supersonic Concorde out of New York direct to Paris.   A connecting flight to Nice, France disembarks onto a waiting helicopter where you are delivered to your final destination of Monte Carlo, Monaco for the upcoming Grand Prix race.  Accommodation at either L'Hermitage or Loew's Casino Hotel is offered for this very tempting fully-paid-for excursion.

I could go on and on about various other perks and comps that are currently being offered, but after thinking about Monte Carlo, everything else is beginning to pale by comparison.  Hmmm, maybe I'll be even happier to wake-up early, and walk out to a hotel balcony overlooking the Grand Prix circuit to watch Ferrari, Mercedes, Jordan and Williams battle it out.  That would definitely put a smile on my face.

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