Introduction to Casino Host
A fan recently sent me voicemail. Not knowing what a casino host could “do for them”, I was asked, “Are there specific things I can request? Or other things I should know?” Here are my answers.
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Working with the Casino Staff
Whenever entering a casino, slots enthusiasts interact with most of its staff including:
- Valet attendants
- Beverage servers
- Cage cashiers
- Table dealers
- Reward promotion counter staff
- Slot operators
- Floor managers
- Casino executives
Slots enthusiasts in the top-tier meet casino staff in all these positions. I encourage players to treat each of them well. Frankly, it is not long before a casino’s crew begins to feel like family. It is indeed a community.
Casinos have a staff of individuals known as hosts, whose job it is to assist gamblers with amenities or issues they might be having. These hosts do everything from designing and budgeting holiday decorations across the casino to providing complimentary meals.
Mistreating Your Casino Host as an Adversary
With my own eyes, I’ve seen casino patrons “negotiating” with casino hosts for comps, which I found a bit horrifying to observe. For example, once I was in the host office of a casino on The Strip in Las Vegas.
I was there for one of my free yearly trips, patiently waiting for the next host to become available. While standing there, I listened to a patron at another host station complaining about their $200 gambling expense. This patron very much wanted that $200 loss returned to them.
That host responded, repeatedly, that while he understood and even appreciated the patron’s concern, there was no acceptable justification for doing so. I’m paraphrasing, of course. The host used far more words, and certainly more polite words than I just did.
Once it became apparent that the host wasn’t going to provide a refund, the patron switched tactics to requesting a meeting with the senior executive host, perhaps hoping for an appeal.
Again, the host expressed that they understood and appreciated the patron’s concern but that, again very politely, it was not going to happen. I mentioned this sad incident later in the day to the senior executive host. They’d called to ask how my trip was proceeding, and if there was anything they could do.
An antagonistic relationship with a casino host doesn’t work well, at least for me. I don’t see how it could work well for most anyone else either. When might extreme behavior be needed?
The casino staff live and breathe working with their patrons and are highly skilled at “winning” any negotiations. They are certainly more experienced than I am at this kind of manipulation. However, it is very, very common for casinos hosts to be on the receiving end of this kind of mistreatment.
I prefer to understand what it is that the hosts can provide, and then ask for what I’d like from what is possible. Understand that food is easy to comp, for instance.
However, tickets to local sporting events are of limited quantity. Even with plenty of notice in advance, special events like baseball’s Opening Day are especially problematic.
The casino may not have even gotten any tickets in the first place – maybe. Even so, keep in mind that it is sometimes possible to attend many sporting events due to last-minute cancellations. I’ve had some success at getting comps by being ready and flexible.
It’s essential to have a good relationship with your host, if a specific host has been assigned. Some racinos, for instance, make hosts equally available to all their patrons.
But when a specific host is designated for a high-tier player, not only should the host and player have good “chemistry,” but the host also needs to understand the interests of the player.
Does the player like football and not baseball, vice versa, or both? Do they have a preference of specific cuisines, to help the host make dining arrangements with the best local restaurants providing such food? What kind of music does the player like, so they can be sure to set aside specific concert tickets?
Think of the host as an agent, your personal assistant. Hosts need to know preferences. Why? Because they can aggressively represent your interests. Hosts regularly get together to divvy up any available comps made available by local vendors. You want your host to ready to serve your wants and needs.
Switching Hosts Happens
If a player doesn’t have a good relationship with their host, they can ask for another host. My first senior executive host told me that, at any given time, each hosted around 300 customers. Of course, some of these were one-time visitors to the casinos, but other hosted players were regulars.
My second senior executive host was responsible for three times that, yet we have a great relationship. Why? Because I’ve taken my own advice and made clear what I was and was not interested in. Remember, a senior executive host needs to be a match.
If a player has a host, it’s likely going to be temporary. If for no other reason, attrition happens to casino employees. Over time, casino hosts will:
- Leave employment at a casino
- Be promoted out of the host role
- Choose to try a new role
I’ve had a different host every year, once by deliberate request with agreement from my host and twice due to the host no longer being available. Change happens. However, the casino is always very careful to provide a high level of continuity when switching hosts. Each time this happens, you’re:
- Informed of the change
- Introduced to the new host
- The host-patron relationship begins again
The new host usually has the notes from the prior host regarding each players areas of interest. This knowledge transfer makes the transition far less of an inconvenience.
Summary of Casino Host
Advancing in your casino’s players’ club eventually results in automatically being assigned a casino host. Make the most of having one. After all, you’ve earned it!
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