Hard Rock Rolls Out Painless Drink Voucher System

The first time we ever saw a voucher system for free drinks on a video poker machine, we had a minor meltdown.

That was at Mirage, back in 2015.

Then Caesars Entertainment made a splash when it rolled out drink monitoring to all its casino bars.

We still had sort of a meltdown, but we learned some deep breathing exercises and started asking questions.

Let’s just say we’ve done a 180 since 2015, largely due to understanding more about why drink monitoring systems are necessary and how, surprisingly, they help players.

This knowledge came in handy when we learned Hard Rock casino has implemented drink monitoring in all its casino bars. (Thanks to Lisa H. for the tip!)

Here’s a look at the new message guests see when they sit at a video poker machine at Hard Rock.

Hard Rock drink vouchers

What once gave us palpitations now elicits a “La-dee-dah.” Don’t judge. We used to musical theater.

No meltdown. Either we’re mellowing, or we’re starting to get a clue. You decide, because we’re drunk on comped drinks.

See, drink monitoring accomplishes a lot for casinos.

One, it cuts costs. Gone are the days when players would slip a dollar in a video poker machine and try to drink free all night. These systems assure players are actually playing, which is part of the deal to get drinks for “free.”

That’s the way it’s always been in Las Vegas, by the way, the monitoring was just never automated before.

Two, it takes the drink monitoring burden away from bartenders. Their reaction to drink monitoring systems has evolved much as ours has over the last couple of years, by the way. It’s no fun being a gatekeeper.

Three, drink monitoring systems prevent over-serving. The default in Las Vegas now seems to be players can earn about three free drinks per hour with continuous play. That’s how it works at Hard Rock, too.

So, what do these systems do for players?

One of the best benefits is monitoring systems keep freeloaders from taking up seats where you want to play. You know, to gamble. Which is sort of the point of having video poker at casino bars in the first place. They’re for gamblers.

Also, drink monitoring systems like the voucher system at Hard Rock take much of the mystery out of how much you have to play and at what betting level before you’ve earned more free hooch. You know where you stand.

The message on the machine at Hard Rock makes it clear. You put in $20, you get your first free drink. Then, just make $1 (or more) bets continuously, and you’ll get a steady supply.

By the time we were done at Hard Rock, we had more vouchers than we could actually redeem. We also won $60.

It was yet another reminder why Las Vegas is the best place on Earth.

Hard Rock drink vouchers

If you ever let a drink voucher go unredeemed, you’re doing Vegas wrong.

Some other small print at Hard Rock: The drink vouchers are only good for 12 hours, the vouchers aren’t transferable and the “beverage selection is limited.” They’ll have what you want unless you’re a snooty 60-year-old bottle of Macallan Valerio Adami person.

And, no, we don’t actually know what that is, but you get our point.

So, has Vegas changed in recent years? Yes.

Would we prefer to get free booze anytime, anywhere? Sure.

Are drinking monitoring systems coming to all the slots on Las Vegas casino floors? You bet.

But drink monitoring systems like the ones at Hard Rock or Caesars resorts or Westgate don’t even make the top three of our “Most Bothersome Things About Vegas Casinos” list.

That would be, in no particular order: 1) No plastic straws, 2) paid parking and 3) swapping out the liquor brand we order with a knock-off and lying about it.

By the way, parking at Hard Rock (soon to be Virgin Hotel Las Vegas) is free. Plus, they poured our Captain Morgan from a bottle and even included straws without our having to ask.

Man, alive, we love this town.

22 thoughts on “Hard Rock Rolls Out Painless Drink Voucher System

  1. David Reed Ashby

    Based on that coupon, you have to get up from your machine to ‘cash in’ the ticket. Assuming this is not an in bar machine.

    Reply
  2. William Wingo

    “One of the best benefits is monitoring systems keep freeloaders from taking up seats where you want to play. You know, to gamble. Which is sort of the point of having video poker at casino bars in the first place. They’re for gamblers.

    Also, drink monitoring systems like the voucher system at Hard Rock take much of the mystery out of how much you have to play and at what betting level before you’ve earned more free hooch. You know where you stand.”

    As Jeff Goldblum said in “The Big Chill” (1983), “Try to get through a week without a rationalization.”

    We stayed at the Hard Rock once, years ago. The main restaurant was good, but the the Blackjack was unplayable and the Video Poker schedules were terrible. Super-Fun 21 and 8/5 JoB everywhere. The drinks were free, but we haven’t been back since. I guess our “departure threshold” was already exceeded, even then.

    Maybe we’ll see you in Laughlin.

    Reply
    1. George rizzo

      Is it still called the Hard Rock? I thought the name was changing to Virgin Resorts / Richard Branson? There’s a lot of changes being made in Vegas hopefully the free drinks if you’re playing will always stay around

      Reply
  3. Guy Smiley

    Speaking of drinking, sounds like someones been sipping the Kool Aid. This is not good for Vegas, period. Like 6-5 blackjack, I will take my play elsewhere.

    Reply
  4. Boulder Steve

    This monitoring system would not affect me but I still don”t like it. I know its not rational but most of what I do in Vegas is not. People should pay more attention to the paytables at the bar when playing VP. Bad odds are going to cost you a lot more than a few drinks.

    Reply
    1. Mike L

      No. Remember, these are the same companies that said we demanded resort fees and parking fees.

      You are merely a mobile ATM to them.

      Reply
  5. Admiral Nelson

    Odd to read that a casino bar actually serves legit Capt. Morgan to a video poker player. I didn’t think that ever happened these days.

    Reply
  6. CW

    No way am I getting up from a machine to cash in a drink ticket. Many more years ago, Horseshoe in Tunica MS had the ideal drink ordering system right there at the machines. Touch “order drink.” There appears some categories: Soft drink; Wine; Mixed drink” etc. Something like that. Touch one of them and there you see all the options, or scroll to find your desired beverage, hit “select”. If you selected Mixed Drink, there must have been at least 200 or more options to select from, all options including Neat, With Ice, etc. Wine had “White”, after which it listed all the white wines available, same for red, or other. If you picked “other”, the CW would show up almost immediately to ask. Otherwise, it said “Your beverage will arrive soon”, or “Within 5 minutes” something like that. Delivery was fast! Haven’t seen that anywhere else. Don’t recall any notice of a minimum amt of play, was never an issue for me.

    Reply
    1. Christine

      Palazzo (or Venetian, or both maybe) had something like that for a hot minute. IMO, it was awful and by my next trip 6 or 8 months later, it was gone.

      Reply
  7. FYMYAWF

    Maybe it’s because I’m new to video poker, and don’t yet have the normal Vegas veteran reaction of NO NO NO THIS IS NEW IT MUST BE BAD ALL NEW THINGS ARE BAD!!, but I rather like the ticket system.

    Where I’ve played it (Cosmo, MGM, MB mainly) the system has kept me in liquor almost non-stop and especially at Chandelier at Cosmo, you are comped whatever the hell drink you want, or at least I was able to do shots of Belvedere no Q’s asked.

    Remains to be seen how/if this would work for slots – the cocktail waitresses would really have to be on their toes to make it happen but at least on VP I have no complaints.

    Reply
  8. Coach Kitty

    I’d rather there was no drink monitoring system, but I was so pleased with the comps I received at the Chandelier Bar at the Cosmo that I’m willing to play 6/5 BP to drink there. I can drink more value than my expected loss!

    I was really upset when I found out there was a drink monitoring system at the El Cortez, but again, the odds are better there and I can drink more than my expected loss.

    Reply
  9. Christine

    I’m not sure it helps prevent over-serving. Maybe it is just me but I played at Comso for about 2 hours ($1.25 max, DDB, pretty average speed player) and I was deeeeeeee-runk most days I was there! I had more tickets than I probably should have been using

    Reply

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