The promotion in question was at Maryland Live! Casino, located in Arundel Mills, just south of Baltimore and close to Baltimore-Washington International Airport (BWI). It made perfect sense, being on the way to and from BAcon in Washington D.C.
The premise was simple, if you lose $100 on your first visit, you’ll be reimbursed $100 in free slot play or promotional chips. Details are below.
This was a relatively well-off casino, with excellent ambience and electric atmosphere. The floor and gaming area was clean and well-kept, located next to a large mall (Arundel Mills). Both days I went (Thursday & Sunday afternoon) the tables had $15, $25, and $50 minimums.
Initial Maryland Live! Promotion Experience
I clarified the promotion with two associates before I signed up, to ensure that if I lost $100 on Thursday, I would be able to receive and redeem the full $100 free play on Sunday. They agreed and said I’d get the email within 72 hours, to which I confirmed that I would be able to play the full $100 on Sunday.
My actual gaming experience was probably the worst I have ever had – terrible slot machine, with two of the same type winning and winning next to me, while mine drained my $100 like no other. I lost in five minutes, and indeed – I spent more time waiting for the machine to open up, than actually playing. Best paybacks in Maryland? I doubt that highly.
Sure enough, within 72 hours I got the email – yet, as you can see, the second one could not be redeemed until another two weeks. I would not be anywhere near the area and had no plans to come back, so I was concerned.
Return to Maryland Live!
I came back, went to the Live! Rewards center, to speak with an associate, a manager, and his manager, who were equally stubborn and obstinate. Repeating that there’s nothing they can do, they were unable to help. I reiterated the principle that, had their associates been trained properly and provided me the correct information, I would have made the decision not to gamble, or only gamble up to $50 instead and be able to get that back on Sunday. It makes no sense for me to drive six hours for $50 free play, I said, so this promotion failed spectacularly for me. Because of their error, I was out $100 (net to $80) and felt swindled.
Even as I was talking with the managers making my case, both associates on either side of me did not tell new signups that they would have to wait between redemptions. For those who live nearby, it’s not an issue, but I can see others come back in three days and also have the same issues as I did.
The manager only said to go to the Security desk (equally unhelpful, but that’s another story) and fill out a comment card.
Additionally, both the rewards line and cashier line were long. Given the popularity, I would have expected more associates to handle the demand.
Regardless, I was only able to redeem $50 in either free play or promotional chips. I chose the chips, which was a terrible idea.
The Flop – Promotional Chips
$50 in promo chips were issued, and I headed to a blackjack table with $15 minimum. Using basic strategy, you can expect roughly a 1-2% house edge.
However, their policy on promotional chips was significantly different from any casino I’ve ever been to (and I have been to many others).
If you win, they pay you your winning wager, and take your promotional chips.
If you lose, they take your promotional chips.
Thus, in the long run, the expected value is roughly 48-49% of your free play. (I converted my chips at 40%, due to my aggression for an extra hand. Compare that to slots, at anywhere from 50-70%, 80%, 90%, even 95+% with video poker? I felt taken advantage of, and left the table with a poor impression.
Raise the Stakes
I filled out said comment card, and left incensed. I am working on learning to let things go, but I felt it more of a customer service issue to ensure other customers not be similarly duped. The next day, I sent an email to their general email, as well as relationship managers, Facebook account, and any other connections I was able to find on their website.
Good response time – giving me a phone call within 2 hours (from relationship marketing) promising the remaining $50 free play whenever I return. While there was good followup, better training and service is necessary to avoid such issues, rather than fixing them afterwards.
I most likely will not be coming back (except to redeem the Free Play), and given its proximity to Horseshoe Baltimore and the upcoming MGM National Harbor, there are better alternatives. Horseshoe is additionally a Total Rewards property, thus provides transferability of credits to Las Vegas, Atlantic City, and others as well.
What do you think of my perspective? Have any questions? Want to see more or different sections? Let me know in the comments, or reach me directly at TheHotelion@gmail.com! Like my posts? See more here, on TravelUpdate! Follow me on Facebook (The Hotelion) or on Twitter and Instagram: @TheHotelion