How Much Is Free Play Actually Worth?

 How Much Is Free Play Actually Worth?

Over the last few years, casinos have been transforming rewards programs so that instead of cash for rewards points or vouchers for cash via direct mail, many now give free play. That led a reader to ask via email just what that free play is worth.

“When it was cash back, I’d sometimes just let it accumulate until I was ready to leave, and then have that for pocket money on my way out the door,” he wrote.

With free play, you have to play the credits once before you can cash out. With $20 in free play, you need to make $20 in wagers, then you can cash out whatever is left. The value of that free play depends on the game you play. If you load $20 in free play onto a penny slot machine that pays 88 percent and make the required $20 worth of wagers, then on the average you’ll wind up with $17.60. If you load $20 in free play onto a 9-6 Jacks or Better video poker game that returns 99.5 percent with expert play, then on the average you’d wind up with $19.90 if you play at expert level.

That doesn’t mean you’ll get back $17.60 every time you play that penny slot or $19.90 every time you play 9-6 Jacks or Better. I once started with $20 in free play on a Double Bonus Poker machine and drew four Aces for a $200 payoff. I’ve also left with far less than the face value of the voucher. But if you’re looking for an average value, remember that the game you play makes a difference.

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