Tipping at a Casino: How, When and Why to Tip Casino Hosts

One of the most interesting and difficult to answer questions we get asked is about how tipping at a casino works. We love being asked, though, because it means that there are good folk out there making sure that they understand the right casino etiquette. This is particularly important in some countries where tips are required for people to make a livable wage. However, the answer isn't simply just to tip every casino customer service operator in every establishment the same – in some countries, casino host tipping is illegal or considered bribery. This guide aims to clarify all the casino tipping best practice so you can enjoy the gaming with peace of mind that you're not offending anyone.
A bearded man gasping while looking at a jar full of money.
Published on: 8 January 2020

Casino Tipping by Location

To make this guide as useful as possible, we’ve broken the casino host tipping best practice advice into a number of categories. First, we will describe the different overarching rules based on geography, so you can see easily if your location expects you to be tipping casino hosts or not.

Then, we’ll divide it down into the various types of casino games and the tipping expectations for each type of game. As you can imagine, this section will only be relevant to users in the ‘Do Tip’ locations, but it’s certainly interesting to read through the rules either way.

UK Casino Tipping: Do

Gamblers in the UK should expect to spend between 10-15% of their gambling budget on tips for dealers, hosts and wait staff. This is a relatively recent change to the expectations on UK-based gamblers, as until 2005 it was illegal for any casino host tipping to take place.

An amendment published in the Gambling Act 2005 made casino tipping legal, as long as the cash is collected and distributed in a ‘tronc’ – a tipping pool for all employees.

Meanwhile, those playing in any UK live online casinos are not expected to tip the online dealers. In fact, some developers of live casino software namely Evolution Gaming – explicitly ban players from making tips.

However, if the opportunity to tip in a live online casino game is available and you have received exceptional service – or won a significant amount of money – a tip could be a nice way to show your appreciation.

United States: Tips Expected

As with much of the USA’s ridiculous service industry, casino hosts are severely underpaid and require tips from patrons in order to make a liveable wage. Gamblers should tip casino hosts 15 – 20% of their buy-in, and you should also budget to tip wait staff, hotel staff, valets, and those making change for players.

This rule is enforced across any American land-based casinos, regardless of the state in which you are playing. Of course, the legality of gambling in the country is also state based, so there could be more important laws to consider before tipping etiquette is considered.

Australia: Don’t Tip

As will all service industry professionals in Australia, casino hosts in the country’s grand gambling establishments are paid a high wage and do not expect or require tips from patrons to make a living wage. While it is not illegal to tip, it is not expected in any restaurants, bars or casinos.

In fact, tipping in a casino host in Australia is somewhat frowned upon, as it can be considered to be bribery. Some of Australia’s land-based casinos do not allow patrons to tip individual staff, requiring all gratuities to be shared in a pool or be handed directly to management, raising suspicion that large tips are actually payoffs.

Monaco Gratuity Etiquette: Do

In Monaco, patrons are expected to tip 10% to dealers at table games such as blackjack, roulette and craps. However, this is only true at some establishments. Some locations have eschewed tipping in favor for an entry fee charged at the door.

Mainland Europe: Don’t Tip

For mainland Europe, tipping casino hosts is not expected. In countries like Spain, tipping would raise eyebrows and get you a lot of weird looks, it’s just that uncommon. In Western Europe, small tips are possible, especially on hitting a big win. However, culturally, leaving a tip larger than 5% would likely see casino hosts considering you a showoff. Casino tipping etiquette changes as you travel east, and the extra cash is more welcomed.

A croupier dealing a hand of blackjack.

Tipping Etiquette for Games

Interestingly, there are different rules for casino tipping etiquette based on the different games you can play. Table games like blackjack, baccarat and roulette which require a live dealer to personally host your experience are clearly deserving of a gratuity. Many gamblers consider tipping their dealers to be good luck, and tossing a dealer some cash after a big win at a poker table is common.

However, playing video poker or slots, where there is often less personal interaction, may also require some tipping. For example, if you send a casino attendant to make change for you, you should tip them. If you win a large jackpot or a hand pay sum, an attendant or two will be required to come and personally hand you the cash prizes. They will also bring you any tax forms that your location requires.

General Tipping Advice

Not all actions deserve to be tipped, and you shouldn’t just go handing out cash for everyone and everything. You know who to tip based on the advice above, but here is a handy list of when a tip would be expected in Las Vegas, the most extreme example we can give. Anything more than this would be considered unnecessary.

When to tip:

  • When asking for a host to make change for you
  • When you win a large sum
  • If you need an attendant for any reason
  • If a Pit Boss comps you a free meal, drink or room
  • When a dealer finishes a shift at your table
  • If a waitress brings you a drink (even if it is free)
  • If a bellhop carries your bags

How to Tip Casino Hosts

Okay, maybe now you know how much money you should be expected to tip each time you gamble all over the world, but how do you hand over the money without it being awkward? There are various options for when to tip and how to indicate who the tip is for.

You can hand a dealer their total tip when you sit at a table, which has the benefit of getting it out of the way first thing. If you are in the UK, and aim to gamble £100, you can simply hand the £5 – £10 to the dealer immediately.

One problem with this method is that you can’t factor in whether or not that dealer will be working your table for the entire time you are there. To counter this, you may hand them a tip right as their shift changes.

If you’re more the type to consider tipping casino hosts throughout your experience, then you can tell the dealer how much cash to keep when exchanging cash for chips. You can also hand them back chips as a tip if they pay you winnings.

Some dealers prefer to receive their tips in the form of wagers. To tip a dealer with a bet in their name, simply place a second chip on top of your own wager, slightly offset, and tell the dealer it is for them. They will receive the winnings from the bet, but not the bet money itself.

If you’re still not sure, the best thing to do is ask the dealer directly. No professional dealer will ever make fun of a player for wanting to hand them money. Ask them what they prefer and how they prefer to receive it. Now that you know the correct expected values, you will know they are telling the truth.

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