An Unusual Requirement – Gambling With An Edge


I received an offer from a Vegas casino for a 7-day NCL cruise. The offer stated that I had to take a room for two nights to get the cruise.

I called to sign up for the offer. I told the lady I spoke with that I’d take the room if I had to, but we were local, didn’t need the room, and probably wouldn’t stay there. But if it was required . . .

She told me I’d regret it if I actually failed to use the room. Housekeeping would check to see if I was actually using the room, and if I wasn’t, I’d both be charged for the room this time and not receive any future offers from this casino. If I checked out early because of an “emergency,” it would trigger the same response from the casino.

Oh really?

From here, my mind went two ways at once.

First, I doubted that this really was the policy. The casino could certainly require a room to be taken. They could demand a certain amount of play to activate the offer and/or qualify for similar events in the future. But penalizing players for declared emergencies (whether actual or not) seemed extreme. If I called up the front desk and said my daughter was in a traffic accident in Kansas and I had to leave immediately so I wouldn’t be staying the second night, are they really going to charge me extra and forbid me from getting future offers?

To be sure, it’s simple to make up such an emergency on the spot, and players sometimes do, but will a casino actually assume that all of these emergencies are fake and punish everybody? That both seems unlikely (some emergencies are legit — and very serious) and a very harsh way for a casino to operate.

Even though I was skeptical, what do I do about it? Do I make a big scene with my host or somebody else? Will making a big stink help me or hurt me in the long run? If I’m close to being unwelcome at the casino, might this be enough to get me booted?

My second thought, happening at approximately the same time as the first one, was to assume that the policy was in effect as stated. Given it’s true, how do I “beat the system?” That is, how do I give them what they want without actually physically staying in the room?

I decided Bonnie’s and my first step would be to try to refuse housekeeping services. This shouldn’t be a problem. Casinos are understaffed all over, including housekeeping. Many casinos offer you some sort of a bonus if you don’t use housekeeping. If we don’t get housekeeping services, they can’t check to see if we’re there.

Assuming we can do this, now it was simple. We could “use” the bed and the bathroom, change the thermostat from the default setting, and skootch around some of the furniture. When housekeeping arrived after our second night there, they could note that the room had obviously been occupied. All the boxes could be checked. They’re happy and we’re happy.

If, when we got there, they told us that we had to use housekeeping, I’d come up with some sort of Plan B. But I figured this was so unlikely there was no reason to stress about it beforehand.

I decided to take the second approach and just beat the system quietly. Sort of what smart players do all the time in casinos.

We were in the room for 15 minutes, left, and have received offers subsequently. We didn’t look at it as a hassle. We looked at it as doing what we had to do in order to get the cruise.

Was this a silly game? Of course. Sometimes silly games are required. Did we think the casino policy was shortsighted? That too, but this casino didn’t ask for our opinion and probably doesn’t care what we think about it.    


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