High rollers typically have a tough time getting their level of action online. Not anymore.
Whether it’s the massive Crown complex in Melbourne, the palatial halls of Monte Carlo, or theJ. Phillip Vogel is considered a leading authority in online gambling. He has written for most of the major gaming publications worldwide including Casino Player, Strictly Slots, Gambling Online, Bluff, and many more. He is also the author of a series of best-selling gambling books collectively titled The Real Deal. He is the founder of online watchdog site TheOPN.com at www.theopn.com and currently serves as the Editorial Director for Poker Life magazine. heart of American decadence, Las Vegas, there is no casino denizen more celebrated or more rigorously courted than the high roller. These über players, or “whales” as they are commonly called, are the pharaohs of the gambling industry bringing to the tables a veritable treasury for the taking.
And they represent a potential windfall for the house.
Case in point: Thomas Tay. In October 2004, it was reported that the Singapore tycoon lost a staggering $18.2 million during a two-year losing streak while gambling at Australia’s Crown casino. While playing his favorite game—baccarat—Tay made bets that averaged $30,000, with the occasional jump to $100,000. That’s per hand.
Because of the enormous profit whales like Tay represent, casinos have been known to go to epic lengths to appease the appetites of these favored patrons, lavishing them with a staggering level of comfort and privilege. In fact, almost anything is at their disposal. Flights on private jets, tours via ultra-stretch Hummers, palatial suites dripping with classical grandeur, private shopping trips to the area’s most expensive merchants—basically opulence on demand.
It’s a side of the casinos that all but the most affluent player will ever see. Such is the gambling lifestyle of these fabled players. Indeed in the case of Tay, he stayed the bulk of his 25 trips to Melbourne perched at the top of the hotel in his favorite five-star villa—courtesy of Crown, of course.
To the gambler of moderate means and bankroll, such debauchery inspires both awe and envy. “Why” he asks, “is my gambling dollar worth less than his?” It’s not. You just have fewer of them to risk.
While such breathtakingly wagers and extravagant perks are the status quo for high rollers in traditional casino settings, for the new generation of high roller, that is, the Internet high roller, it has long been a task—if not outright impossible—to find a gaming site that’s ready, willing, and most importantly able, to provide the level of action and comfort to which they’re accustomed.
In most cases, online casinos offer no personalized attention—a feature high rollers are entitled to—and extremely low maximum bets in comparison to their land-based counterparts. Here’s an example of a typical online casino’s limits for select games:
Game Minimum Bet Maximum Bet
Limits such as these make it hardly worthwhile for high-end bettors to even bother playing online. As such, it’s always been in the best interest of high rollers to stick with the places that know how to treat them properly: traditional casinos. Or at least, that’s the way it was until sites like mansion.com came along. They have made it their mission to cater to the wants and needs of the world’s biggest bettors. From drastically higher betting limits—ranging from $2,500 to $6,000—to personalized attention via a special “concierge line.” Mansion.com now has a Player Loyalty Club (PLC), an advanced ranking system designed to identify high rollers. This will allow them to single out the “whales” for special “privileged” treatment.
“Players will also receive welcome packages and branded gifts like backgammon, dice, and casino chips upon qualification to each PLC level.”
Finally, proven high rollers will also be able to take advantage of extended limits service, allowing high rollers to push past the currently posted maximum bets in favor of ones that better suit their tastes. “We are planning to offer betting limits specific to the PLC level attained. So each level of PLC will carry their own limits.”Personal attention. Loss rebates. Lifestyle comps. Record limits. Finally, an online casino has gotten it right and I will watch for more online casinos to ‘push the limits’.
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