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A recent letter to the editor of the Arizona Gaming Guide lamented the fact that gifts, like “comped” meals and drinks, that were once perceived to be truly “free”, now come with a strings attached. Instead of awarding everyone that registers for the gift of the month when they walk through the door (if you visit any casino you will see those blenders, blankets and massage guns being caried away from some ballroom), they now generally come with the caveat related to earning points that day to receive them. And how do you earn those points? By wagering of course, or spending money on some other casino offerings.
“Skimpflation” has been described as reducing the quality of products but keeping them at the same price. The “earn to win” trend I describe above directly relates to the Skimpflation model. I.e., receive the same value gift you would have normally received for your loyalty, but now you must pay more (with your time or money) to actually earn it.
Hopefully inflation will be tamped down throughout 2023 and casino operators won’t feel the need to squeeze more dollars out of their guests to give them the level of rewards they have come to enjoy. This pay-to-play model is far less effective and can actually have a negative effect on customer loyalty if guests feel like they are being nickeled and dimed. The lifetime value of each loyal customer is far to important to risk by skimping on the awards.