This article in the Las Vegas Sun entitled "Gamblers’ best bets for free drinks, meals in Clark County are Laughlin, that other Strip" shows in hard numbers the facts.
If you want to get comped steer clear of the Las Vegas strip.
Locals' casinos and apparently Laughlin are generous with the perks. Could be that they're number two and they have to try harder.
As a local, I can pretty much get a free meal any old day, but boy do they cost me.
I used to figure walking in a casino would cost me about $50 at my rate of play. I've had to up that amount to $100. A free buffet and a few drinks does little to eleviate the sting of the losses.
Still, for the casual gambler, it's definitely worth looking beyond the Vegas Strip for a good time.