A Different Sort of Promotion

Bonnie and I took a trip to Reno and played at the ROW, the threesome of connected casinos (Eldorado, Silver Legacy, and Circus Circus) that are now part of the Caesars system. I’d played there previously but this was Bonnie’s first trip.

When we swiped our cards at the kiosk at the start of our visit, we discovered that we each received 20,000 bonus drawing tickets for a drawing coming up in several weeks, and a 20x ticket multiplier for all of our play that day. Every day we were there, we got another 20x multiplier. When we departed Reno, we each had several hundred thousand drawing tickets. I’ve never had so many drawing tickets in my life!

Turns out we got so many bonus tickets and such large multipliers because we are Seven Stars members. Diamond members get 15x multipliers and 15,000 tickets. Platinum members get 10x and 10,000 tickets. And Gold members get 5x and 1,000 tickets. 

Generally speaking, I only show up at drawings where I have a good chance to win. Lots of tickets generally mean a good chance. And now we both have a lot of tickets. Actually, what I just said isn’t exactly true. It’s not just the chance to win. It’s also the size of the win. A really, really good chance to win $50 wouldn’t be worth getting on an airplane to go and try to win. A moderately good chance to win $100,000 just might be.

So, do we go back for the drawing? 

Most likely not. 

If all players who show up get so many free tickets and there are such big multipliers every day, everybody will have a lot of tickets. If we have 500,000 tickets out of several billion in the virtual drum, that’s really no different percentagewise than having 500 tickets out of several million. If the second situation isn’t a “must attend” event (which it isn’t), the first one isn’t either.

To be sure, our Seven Stars status earns us tickets at a more rapid rate than lower-tier players get. But not that much more. It’s true that you only need one ticket in the drum to win, but the odds favor the players with lots of tickets. As a general rule for me, if everybody is getting free tickets, I’m not interested. No matter how much I play, if tens of thousands of players receive free tickets, I can never earn enough to have an excellent chance of winning.

There are players who will attend as many drawings as possible, no matter how many entries they have. Not me. It takes time and energy to attend drawings. Since Reno is hundreds of miles away from where we live in Las Vegas, it’s easy to see it’s not free for us to get to that drawing. But even for drawings in Las Vegas, it’s time-consuming to attend the drawings. And you can only be in one place at a time.

Turns out this drawing in Reno is a three-night affair. On Thursday, 20 players get $500 each. Since they say the number of players winning is guaranteed, I guess that means if not all 20 prizes are claimed within a certain time limit, they’ll keep drawing until they are. Friday night another 20 players get $500 each. Saturday night, 60 players win $500, and one of those 60 wins a $50,000 Mercedes Benz in addition to their $500. (I might be misstating the rules. I don’t have the exact rules in front of me. Still, this blog is about the thought process involved in deciding whether to attend a drawing rather than this particular drawing.)

Bonnie told me we didn’t need a new car, which is true, but I tried to explain that this wouldn’t be a problem. The odds of winning the car are very small, and even if we do, they usually have a cash option instead of forcing you to take the car. And even if they don’t have that option written into the rules, it’s not that difficult to sell a car. It’s better to win a $50,000 car than to not win a $50,000 car.

Bottom line for us is that while these drawings create a small amount of equity, in and of themselves, they wouldn’t be valuable enough to make a special trip. If there were other significant reasons to spend three days in Reno over that time period (which there might be, depending . . .), then yes, we’ll have enough equity to be present when the drawings take place.