People have said AP is dead compared to the "old days". I don't think it's better or worse, it's just different now.
I do think it's probably much worse for solo lower level VP and slot grinders.
The good casino promos here in Vegas have declined dramatically over the years.
Lower-level slots declined from 2009-2013 (and were much better before 2009 from what I've heard), but then 2014-2017 have much improved. Four 2016 games have taken the lower-level slot grinders by storm (I've hit jackpots on two of the four. Five-figure payouts are possible, but very rare.).
I didn't know squat about slots/VP in 1990-2007, and only played tables. Started playing VP in 2007 (when I put $1 in a machine at the Mirage, and hit Aces for $160). Didn't learn about bonus slots until 2009 (End of the "Indiana Jones" and "Star Wars" era. Beginning of UX).
The level of competition in slots in Vegas in 2017 is insanely high compared to 2009.
In the last two years visiting Vegas, the only way I made a decent daily rate ($700/day) was one visit when I drove to small casinos at weird hours in 2015. Only found 9 +EV plays in 40 casinos (not counting UX, 2016 games weren't out yet). There were about 10 even-EV games I played for fun...
In my Vegas visits now, I play more like a typical recreational gambler. I'm there to have fun, and usually lose a few thousand, or maybe break-even. I like to people-watch at the big casinos, and don't usually drive to the small ones.
Since I've been traveling around the US since early 2000s, I started looking for bonus slots in 2010 outside Vegas, and I found many easier situations. No place was as competitive as Vegas-circa-2010 (much less Vegas-circa-2017).
Promotions outside Vegas:
West coast & east coast, there are 10+ casinos offering $5K+/month Free Play (regularly, without any special promotions).
One casino offers close to $10K/week Free Play (Very hard to maintain) - I've never tried for big mailers here.
Near Vegas, Arizona & California are both good.
Some casinos do $50K-100K giveaways every week with free cars.
And $1 million giveaways every year.
Why so much compared to Vegas?
Casinos are farther apart, and competing for business.
More money gambled in Indian casinos over the years (I think it's about 40-50% of total US gambling, last time I read a report).
Indian casinos competing for locals, who have a very good chance of giving the money back.
There is some crackdown on people visiting with Vegas IDs, and on heavy VP players trying to game mailers.
In 2010-2017, it still feels like casinos are finding their way through the balance of "good promotions/mailers" and "marketing that's too AP'able".
Some casinos have dramatically raised their FP offers, after nearby casinos raised theirs.
...so some casinos with bigger offers, are not experienced with them.
Some casinos adjusted their monitoring of big offers 5-10 years ago (e.g., FP offers might be recinded within 1-2 visits, if play is not appropriate), but others are newbies (and it takes them 1-5 years to catch up).
Other casinos reduced the size of their mailers 2X-4X (rare, 90% have been increasing in last 5 years). Or they steadfastly stuck with smaller amounts ($25-50/week max), choosing to compete by having better food or some other benefits.
Last edited by: mamat on Apr 24, 2017