“Bar fleas” not wanted; new technology makes it more difficult to get free drinks at casinos
Apart from high slot payouts and a good buffet, free drinks at a casino are a sure way to keep ‘em coming back for more. Soon, however, your favorite casino could be implementing new technology that will let staff know if your level of play qualifies you for your next complimentary round.
Las Vegas casinos are tightening their belts; it started with parking, with MGM Resorts International (NYSE: MGM) leading the way with its $90 million parking initiative announced in April last year. Followed by Caesars Entertainment Corp. (NASDAQ: CZR) and Wynn Resorts (NASDAQ WYNN), implementing their own new parking policies not long after. Now casino operators are taking a hard look at another perk that has lured gamblers for decades to complimentary drinks.
Thanks to a Las Vegas-based company, Ardent Progressive Systems & Games, which specializes in Slot Accounting and Player Tracking Systems, High Definition Premium Games and Complimentary Validation Hardware, drink monitoring systems could be the norm, not just in Las Vegas but in Vegas-style casinos all around the U.S. that offer gamblers complimentary drinks.
The comp validations system consists of blue, green and red LED’s pointed at bartenders notifying them for comps. According to information obtained from Ardent’s website, the “standard suggested operating procedures” for its complementary validation system are:
- Blue Light On – Guest has inserted a total of $$ (bills/tickets) into the machine and is qualified for a complimentary beverage.
- Blue Light Off – Guest has inserted less than $$ (bills/and tickets) into the machine and does not qualify for complimentary beverage.
- Green Light On – Guest has achieved required minimum level of play and is qualified to received continued complimentary beverages up to $XX per beverage
- Green Light Off – Guest has not achieved required minimum level of play and is not qualified for complimentary beverages.
- Red Light On – Guest has achieved 10 times required minimum level of play and is qualified for premium beverages up to $XX per beverage.
- Red Light on and Flashing – Guest has fallen out of qualification for complimentary beverages.
The website further states that the “new comp validation system completely eliminate bar fleas that don’t deserve beverage comps 24X7”.
According to an article published by The Wall Street Journal on April 18, 2017, once again MGM Resorts International is leading the way and is piloting a program at its MGM Grand located on The Strip, where a voucher prints when a patron has spent enough playing bar-top video poker. The goal was, according to Alan Feldman, Executive Vice President at the Las Vegas-based MGM Resorts, to allow bar staff to be free from having to account for who was and wasn’t playing and instead focus on hospitality.
WQAD News 8 reports that the technology’s creator, Albert Tabola, said, “It gets rid of the people that want to hang around and play a quarter and try to basically, I don’t want to use the word scam, but basically take advantage of the system.”
Tabola went on to tell WQAD that the system is already being used by Caesars Entertainment in their hotels and have reportedly seen a savings of 35 percent on comped drink costs since instituting the technology. According to the news agency, Tabola says that consistent players won’t be affected and will still receive comped drinks; only people who want something for nothing will be affected. He is reportedly working on getting local casinos on board.