Golden Entertainment, owner of Stratosphere, Arizona Charlie’s, PT’s Taverns and other properties, announced a new players club that will combine all its gaming operations.
True Rewards allows cross marketing between casinos, supermarkets and taverns. This has been difficult under the existing Golden Rewards, Ace Play and regional players card systems.
The new club has many perks that tavern players will enjoy. On the other hand, point multipliers are no longer automatic. This will affect higher volume players.
The new program will roll out at casinos at a staggered pace starting this month. Existing players may receive a new card at a participating location when it is live there. In the meantime, the old card still works and points earned will be transferred to True Rewards.
Comparing AcePlay, Golden Rewards and True Rewards
AcePlay is the old players club offered by Stratosphere, Arizona Charlie’s and Aquarius Casino. Golden Rewards is the tavern gaming club that operates under brands like PT’s and Sierra Gold. True Rewards is the new players club for all Golden Entertainment gaming properties.
Points are earned at the same rate between AcePlay and True Rewards at most games. Video poker players earn one point for every $2 wagered. Full pay machines require $4 in coin-in for a point. Slot players receive a point for every $1 in bets. Bars and restaurants award 15 points for every $1 spent.
Under AcePlay, tiers above the base level earn point multipliers. This starts at double and goes up to four times. This goes out the window. Higher volume Arizona Charlie’s players are the most affected by this move, although I predict there will be a individual promotions offered to these customers to make up for that.
The formula for AcePlay tier points was based on the house edge so penny slot players earned tier points much faster than video poker players. The tier points appear to be earned at the same rate as comp points in the True Rewards program.
The list of tiers and benefits are listed below. Note that taverns and supermarkets require more tier points to achieve a level than casinos. Tiers are earned based on play from the previous half-year for locals and full-year for tourists.
Points may be redeemed in one of three ways. Players may convert 500 points into $1 in free play at casinos. This may be done right on the machine. The return is 0.2 percent for slot players and 0.1 percent for most video poker and keno machines. Full pay video poker returns 0.05 percent in free play.
Taverns and supermarkets require 1,000 points in free play for $1. At first glance, this appears better than the Golden Rewards program that required 2,000 points per $1. However, it is the same as players earned one point per dollar wagered at video poker in the old program, as opposed to the $2 coin-in per point now.
Points may be redeemed for comps at a rate of 300 points per $1. This is the same as AcePlay. Tavern players had a separate account for food and beverage comps under Golden Rewards. Cash back now requires 1,000 points per $1. This is an increase from 600 points under AcePlay. Cash back was not available in the Golden Rewards program.
Cross-marketing biggest advantage under True Rewards
One issue I saw when Golden Entertainment acquired Stratosphere and its sister casinos is that the tavern customers were not getting cross-marketed by the full-service casinos. That changed in December. I received an offer for a free room at Stratosphere based on a small amount of play at a PT’s months before it. I did not redeem it.
The old AcePlay club also had problems cross-marketing casinos within its brands. I played at Arizona Charlie’s Boulder and received free play offers from there but not from the other two AcePlay casinos closer to my home. The free play was not transferable to other properties like it would be under Boyd Gaming and Station Casinos locals casinos. It is reasonable to conclude that will not be a problem in the future.
The new players club combines both segments. It gives the ability for Golden Entertainment to attract its tavern customers to its casinos. This may help lure them away from competitors and combine all the action under one brand. I find this to be a major plus for Golden Entertainment.
Best video poker games at Golden Entertainment casinos
The taverns generally offer video poker in the 97 to 98 percent range. Most machines at Stratosphere mirror this. VPFree2 notes that the best video poker game there is 8/6 Bonus Poker Deluxe on the $1 denomination. This returns 98.49 percent. Other games include 30/8/5 Bonus Poker and 9/5 Jacks or Better. The best quarter game at Stratosphere is 7/5 Bonus Poker, which returns 98.01 percent.
Arizona Charlie’s Decatur offers the best video poker in the system, according to VPFree2. Players will find $1 10/7/5 Double Bonus (100.17%) with a progressive in the $1 denomination. Triple Deuces Wild (99.92%) is offered for 10 coins in the nickel denomination. Loose Deuces Wild (99.20%) is spread in quarters. Bonus Poker (99.17%) is spread in nickel, dime, quarter, half-dollar and dollar. This includes multi-hand, Super Times Pay, Multi-Strike and Spin Poker.
Arizona Charlie’s Boulder offers fewer quality video poker games. VPFree2 shows that a 98.91 percent version of Deuces Wild on multi-hand machines is the best available there. Denominations are nickel, dime, quarter, half-dollar and dollar.
Blackjack at Arizona Charlie’s is among the best for low limit games in Las Vegas. Both properties in the market have double deck with double down before and after splitting, as well as re-split aces. The dealer hits soft 17. Shoe games have the same rules. The minimum bet is as low as $5.