In 2016 parking and resort fees exploded, MGM took over the Borgata and the Taj closed. There has been a steady and overall decline in gaming odds, comps and casino offers over the years but with fewer rooms available to comp, Atlantic City is rapidly diminishing as a good play for the low roller. Add this to the emphasis on non-gaming revenue and the Millennials’ preference for partying over gaming and I just want to curl up in a ball and cry.
Even from the beginning (12 years ago) I could only justify the price of video poker if it was a net positive experience. The benefits (rooms, food, beverage, fun) had to warrant the financial risk and the time playing. In addition to the play itself giving me countless hours of joy, this niche hobby has also lead to deep and lasting friendships, an appreciation of math and many inexpensive mini vacations, but on the flip side, I’ve put a lot of time and effort into it that may have been spent more productively elsewhere.
The Borgata is the last place where I have offers and I had my Black Label until the end of the year, so I decided to concentrate my play there. Borgata has been upgrading to Black Label if you show an elite status card from any other casino in AC and I have been doing this for years. Although in the last few years I have played more at the Borgata than any other casino, I’ve never actually earned Black Label status there by logging the required play. When the transition from My Borgata to Mlife is complete in June, I can’t imagine that the Borgata is going to continue to offer this way to upgrade, but you never know. If you see a new player offer or upgrade that you qualify for, jump on it immediately.
I was disciplined in 2016. I only played on point multiplier days and although I didn’t have much luck, I did trigger a Borgata mailer with Sunday through Thursday comp rooms. (A mailer is a marketing offer that the casino sends its patrons to try to lure them back to the casino. It typically includes comped hotel rooms, free play, free food and beverage and sometimes gifts. It can arrive by USPS or email.)
The earliest you can book a comped room at the Borgata is 90 days prior to the stay, so I didn’t use any comps or free play (unless accompanied by a big play day) until 90 days out from some dates I wanted at the end of December. (The Borgata will cut you off immediately if you short play or redeem comps without play and it takes quite a bit of good behavior to get back in their good graces.) I made 4 comped room reservations before they cut me off. I had booked more, but just couldn’t work out dates with my companions and the moment I short played, all future reservations became a rate on the calendar. I really enjoyed these visits, where I chose to have no play requirements (because I wasn’t seeding offers for the future or worrying about my rating.) I also took advantage of things that I don’t usually have time for (because I am too busy getting my play in.) I really enjoy the play, but when I don’t indulge in free food, bingo or a comedy show, I am probably too obsessed and could use a little more balance in my life.
I will be writing a series of articles on these fun visits and interspersing them with useful casino knowledge that I’ve learned over the last 12 years.