Tipping at American Casinos: A Comprehensive Guide
Tipping at casinos in the United States can be a bit complex. Casinos outsource their salaries to customers, so about 80% of the employees you encounter, from valet attendants when you arrive to cashiers when you cash out, are low-wage workers who rely on tips. But don't worry; we'll guide you on who, why, and when to tip at a casino.
Tipping Upon Arrival
Valet attendants are swift and efficient, saving you a lot of walking time. Not everyone opts for valet parking, but a tip of $1 or $2 when dropping off your car or a few dollars when they pull up your car to the curb is well worth it, especially on rainy or cold nights. Note that most valet departments without parking facilities nearby will retrieve your runner when there's lightning. If you're staying at a hotel, bellmen can save you a lot of time. A few dollars per bag, with a maximum of $10 or $20 for the entire luggage cart, can make your stay much better than lugging your bags up elevators and through hallways to your room. And the sooner you settle in, the sooner you can head to the casino floors.
Tipping Slot Service Staff
Tipping for slot service is relatively straightforward. There's some debate about tipping when attendants come to fix your machine, but if one or two dollars means they'll come back quicker next time, what's the harm? In most jurisdictions in the U.S., any payout over $1,200 will be paid by on-site casino personnel. Tipping here starts at about $20 and can go as high as 3-10% of the jackpot, depending on the customer. For restroom usage or if you need assistance with the machine for any reason, the tip should be based on how long you're away. It can range from a few dollars to $5 or more if you might be away for more than 5-10 minutes. If you're going to be away for a while, simply ask them to lock the machine. You can use the service button to reopen it when you return.
Tipping at Table Games
Tipping at table games can be a bit confusing. Sometimes it's intentional. Most U.S. casino dealers start with an hourly wage of $4.35 to $5.00, and the casino hopes customers will make up the rest. But once money goes into the tip bucket, the casino can't win it, so they sometimes make things tricky when it comes to tipping. There are many different schools of thought on tipping dealers, but it ultimately comes down to whether you're having fun. Dealers are performers first and dealers second. It's not like someone is parking your car or bringing you drinks. Tipping here isn't about the service provided (or at least not directly provided); it's about the entertainment value. Yes, if a dealer gives you a royal flush in Mississippi Stud or rolls dice for 30 minutes at a craps table, you should definitely take care of them. But even then, it should be within the range of whether you're having fun, even if you're losing. Even if you're losing, a dealer should always ensure you leave with a smile. We'll delve into different tipping scenarios in more detail, but ultimately, you're tipping for customer service, and if they provide that service, they should get a little extra money.
Tipping at Blackjack
Tipping at blackjack can be done by placing chips directly in front of the dealer or in front of your own bet. Most people prefer to bet for the dealer because they feel it will make the dealer more likely to support them and give them a chance to win. At lower-limit tables, a few dollars per blackjack can be earned after each round or if you win several hands in a row. For higher-limit games, $5 chips are a better choice. Most blackjack games now have some form of a side bet, and if you hit one of them, around 3-10% is enough. It's not necessary, but if you split bets or double down and bet for the dealer, it's a nice form.
Tipping at Roulette
In roulette, you can tip the dealer's bet to offset the chips you're betting, letting the dealer know it's for them, or you can simply hand over chips. Tell them which number you want to bet on, and the bet is for them. Another common form of tipping in roulette is to hand over some chips when you're finished and colored out, perhaps around 5%. Roulette is a game where some people interact with the dealer more frequently than others. If you're just making outside bets and betting for yourself, you might not need to tip as often. But if you're asking the dealer to place 10 or 12 bets for you before every spin or accumulating chips on corners, splits, and streets, tipping more frequently might ensure more cooperation.