Understanding the practice of tipping can be complicated, as it doesn’t only differ from country to country, but also changes from industry to industry. To help you understand how and when you should tip when visiting a casino, we’ve put together this tipping guide.
Tipping cultures around the world
Before we dive into the ins and outs of tipping at your gambling establishment of choice, it’s important to understand the tipping culture of the region you are in, as it can vary dramatically from place to place. For example, here’s how tipping differs in the restaurant industry for six different countries:
- China – Tipping is not expected in China, and might even be seen as rude. However, it is commonly practiced at venues that serve Western customers.
- Italy – In the past Italy didn’t have a tipping culture, instead opting to include a service charge as part of the bill. However, that is changing, perhaps because of the growing number of tourists.
- Singapore – Singapore does not have a tipping culture, but there is an unspoken expectation that foreigners will tip since they have more money. This doesn’t apply to airport restaurants, as specific laws prevent airport staff from accepting tips.
- The Netherlands – The Netherlands introduced legislation to include tips into the base cost of any service, but tips of 5 to 10% are still welcome for good and exceptional service.
- The United Kingdom – A service charge is often included in the bill, but otherwise 10% is considered the norm.
- The United States – It’s normal for restaurant visitors to pay an extra 15 to 30% for a tip, depending on the venue and the clientele it usually serves.
These are just a few examples of how different tipping can be, so keep this in mind when visiting a casino outside of the country you grew up in.
Tipping at a casino
If you’re visiting a gambling establishment in a region that has a tipping culture, here’s some general advice on how to tip the employees that work there.
Table games croupiers or dealers
Games like blackjack, roulette, and craps are run by croupiers, or, as they are more commonly referred to, dealers. How they host the game and the impact this can have on your experience can differ dramatically from person to person. Some choose to engage in some friendly banter or light conversation, while others prefer to only share information that players need in order to play the game. As with any other service, you can choose to tip based on your experience with the dealer in a particular game.
Some players also choose to tip when the odds work in their favour, usually only after they’re done playing, or when the dealer is about to change. If you decide to tip using chips, don’t place them directly in the dealer’s hand, as this practice is frowned upon at many casinos. Instead, place them on the table and make sure the dealer knows the chips are for them.
In regard to how much you tip, you can pay a fixed amount for each round that you play, or you can share a percentage of your winnings. Usually, a player will offer a fixed value for smaller winnings, but once they start winning larger amounts, they might decide to increase their tip to a percentage of their takings.
Players can tip the dealer by placing bets on their behalf. However, it’s important to note that this isn’t allowed in the UK, and different countries have different etiquette around this. For example, in some countries, blackjack players can place a chip just outside the betting circle when they want to place a bet for the dealer. In these instances, players can also place a bet as normal and let the dealer know that the bet is on their behalf.
Many casinos require you to exchange your money for chips at a cashier, but some may offer the services of a chip runner. Once a player is seated at a table game, a chip runner will ask if they need any chips. If they do, they will go to the cashier to exchange their money for chips on their behalf. If they do take them up on their offer, it’s common practice to give them a small tip.
Slot machine attendants
If you’ve ever spent any time at the slots, you’ll have likely seen or interacted with a slot machine attendant. Their main role is to assist you with change for the slot machines (which can also be done at a change machine) or to handle a payout if it’s too large for the machine to pay you directly. They are also your first port of call should you have a problem with a slot machine.
Some players are happy to tip a low fixed amount when the attendant helps them with change or with claiming a small or moderate amount of winnings. If the jackpot is higher and requires more effort on the attendant’s behalf, then players are more likely to give them a small percentage of their takings.
Bartenders, waiters, and waitresses
Even if they’re all supplying you with delicious drinks, your interaction with the in-house bartenders and waiters or waitresses is very different.
Bartenders will prepare a drink for you that you specifically order. At a bar, especially a busy one, a tip can go a long way in ensuring that the bartender’s service is not only quick but that your drink is also well-prepared.
You can choose to tip a fixed amount, or a percentage of your order, depending on whether your drinks order is a small or large one. If you do order a lot of drinks, 10 to 20% of the final bill is considered an acceptable tip. Also, some bars will allow you to open a tab, so you can enjoy yourself and then pay for all your drinks at the end of your visit.
Unlike your engagement with a bartender, waiters and waitresses are usually seen on the casino floor with complimentary drinks, which they offer to players at the slots and table games. If a player chooses to take one, they usually tip a little bit less since they didn’t order that specific drink.
Cage staff, or cashiers, are often the last employees that you’ll interact with before calling it a night. There are many different opinions on whether you should tip them or not, so whether you decide to tip them is up to you. People who don’t tip the cashiers sometimes ask whether you would tip your cashier at the supermarket, or the teller when you made a withdrawal at the bank? Others who do tip often do so because they believe all staff should be rewarded if they offer a good service.
Valets and other hotel or resort staff
Depending on the venue, you may have the option to use a valet service. If you do, a tip is expected but it’s up to you whether you should pay one tip when you’re leaving, or whether you should pay half the tip when handing over your keys and the other half when getting them back.
If you are helped by other staff at the hotel or resort, such as a porter or housekeeper, it’s common practice to also offer them a small tip for their efforts.
Tips are a voluntary tool for rewarding good service
Outside of any specific circumstances where tipping may be illegal or actively discouraged, it’s good to remember that tipping is something you can do to reward someone who made an effort to ensure you had a good experience. However, if your experience is below par, there is no obligation for you to leave a tip.
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While it’s undoubtedly important to understand the tipping etiquette at a real-world casino, sometimes you just want to play without needing to worry about these little details.
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