A system and method for differentiating customers according to their worth to the casino. Customer information is accumulated at each affiliated casino through one or more LAN-based management systems, updated to a central patron database (CPDB) that is coupled to each casino LAN through a WAN, and made available to each affiliated casino property as needed. Customer accounts are automatically activated and provided with data from the CPDB when a customer from one casino property first visits an affiliated casino property. Customer accounts are updated with status information based on the customer's worth to the casino. Customer accounts are updated with new activity data whenever a management system associated with the casino receives customer data from input devices, such as card readers, workstations, and dumb terminals, located at various venues throughout the casino. Customers are awarded points, based on their tracked activity at all affiliated casino properties. Customers also have theoretical win profiles. Customer status may be based on accumulated points or the theoretical win profile. When the customer is recognized at a gaming machine, or any location having a suitable card reader, the customer's status is determined in the customer account. For a special status customer, a physical instrumentality is activated for the benefit of the customer, such as a telephone, light, lockable cabinet, or the like. Distinguished services may also be provided once the special status customer is recognized.