Tipping in Europe vs America
As the city of Las Vegas appears to have a single purpose, which is to encourage visitors to spend, then it's only natural that the expectation to tip should be so strong. Failing to understand the correct tipping etiquette might lead others to see you as a bad tipper. Or even a tightwad. In Europe, we have an expectation of good service irrespective of tipping and so the idea of giving extra is almost alien. However, in the US tipping is synonymous with enjoying a positive customer service experience. So much so, that understanding the nature of tipping can make or break what should be a great trip. If this is your first trip to the city that never sleeps, then we provide a concise guide to the culture of gratuities in the casino’s bars and restaurants of Sin City.
Reasons You Should Tip
In Europe, tipping is usually left to the customer’s own personal discretion. However, across the Atlantic, it is a completely different ball game. Though it's not a legal requirement to tip, it’s certainly an expectation. Yet tipping is much more than simply a cultural norm, a token of appreciation, or recognition of good service. In the US, it’s taken very seriously and it's all down to one basic reason. Namely; the minimum wage.
For many Americans, Europeans have an almost socialist outlook on how much employers should pay their employees. Europeans enjoy a minimum wage that is also a liveable wage. Across the pond, the minimum wage is just that, minimal. Working in the service industry in Europe you should expect to receive around $8.85 per hour without any tips. In the US, you could be earning as little as $2 per hour. The rest of your income relies heavily on gratuities to make up a living wage. Without delving into the ethics of such practices, one thing is clear. Tips are essential.
If you’re working in the casino industry, you are going to be in contact with potentially hundreds of customers a day. Whether working tables, greeting players, serving meals, or handling questions and complaints, you're certainly going to be busy. At the end of the day, whether you agree with tipping or not, it's important to understand that paying extra will be an integral part of your trip. This means whatever budget you have put aside for your Las Vegas vacation, you will need to add an extra chunk of cash that will need to be spent in order to show your appreciation for the customer care you will receive.
A Ballpark Figure for Tipping in Vegas
This may come as a shock, but the expectation is that you should pony up between 15% to 20% extra in tips. By the way, this doesn't just apply to the casinos of Las Vegas, but across the whole service industry in the US. We suggest that you stick with this number whether at the gaming table in the casino, in the restaurant or at the bar. Keep in mind that these figures are the minimum and if you receive outstanding service then you'll be expected to leave more. In casino slang, those who leave the biggest tips and known as a "George." As you can imagine, it's much better to be called this rather than the opposite, which is a "Stiff."
Do Different Services Require Different Amounts?
When visiting any brick-and-mortar casino, you’re going to come into contact with a huge variety of staff who all rely on tips to make up their measly wages. Although the 15% to 20% rule should stand you in good stead with waiters, casino hosts, and bartenders, there are other staff to consider. Below we've listed various jobs, along with the tips they will be expecting.
Because the casino hosts have responsibility for giving out rewards and comps, you need to be careful about tipping them as it could be seen as a bribe. It's important that you check the casino’s policies first. However, if it is possible to tip the host, then we suggest you do so at the end of your stay. Rather than tipping with cash, it's better to leave gift certificates.
Dealers are tipped both as you play and when you leave the table. The standard rate is between 2% to 5% of your winnings. We suggest that you don't hold back, especially if you had a good time. Then tip generously. When it comes to the poker table, you should tip dealers a minimum of $1 a chip. Nevertheless, we leave it up to you to judge the size of your tips depending on the size of the pot.
When it comes to room service, you'll find that the higher the price at the establishment you're staying at, then the fewer service charges would have been added to the bill. We suggest you always tip between 10% and 20%.
You have to make a judgement call here and consider the overall cost of a buffet, as well as the level of attention you received in order to guide you when it comes to tipping. Due to the nature of it being a buffet, as opposed to a restaurant, then you will not tip the same amount. We suggest around 10% per meal or between $2 and $5 per person.
If you're using the spa, then keep an eye on the bill as many casino and hotel spas will automatically have a 20% surcharge for each spa visit. If they don't, then feel free to fall back on our 15 to 20% rule. Once again, this should be the minimum. If you receive great service, then don't be afraid to be more generous.
Drinks Runner/Drinks Service
When you're sitting at the games table or in front of a slot machine, you should tip $1 per drink whenever a cocktail waitress brings you a free beverage. Of course, you don't have to stick with this and you can apply the 15% to 20% rule or even tip more if you feel the service is especially attentive.
Depending on how many bags you have, and how heavy are, we normally suggest between $2 to $3 per bag.
What if the Bill Includes the Service Charge?
Sometimes it can be confusing as to whether you should tip on top of mandatory service charges, which can often be found on drinks bills as extra fees. Today it's quite common that many restaurants would include the service charge in the bill, especially if it’s a busy time of the year. If the bill states that the gratuity is already included, then there's no need to add any extra tip. Having said this, if you feel that the service went an extra mile then you can always add a little something on top.
How About Tipping for Bad Service?
So what happens if the service has been poor? For example, it was slow or just a horrible experience? If you feel that the service falls below the standard at which you would be happy to tip, then you should certainly speak up about it. Don’t be afraid to speak to the restaurant or bar manager, or the casino floor manager in the case of dealers or croupiers falling below a respectable level of customer care. Keep in mind it's bad form to simply leave without explaining why you haven't left a tip. If you don't want to make a scene, and yet want to let them know you’re less than happy, then there's no harm in knocking 10% off the tip in order that the establishment gets the message.
Can You Tip The Dealer With Chips?
It's a common movie trope that we see casino players tipping the dealer with chips as they leave the table. Though this does sometimes happen in real life, it's not technically acceptable. That's because, even when the chips are in your possession, they are the casino’s property. In other words, they're not yours to give away in the first place.
If you're going to Vegas to gamble, then whichever way you look at it, it's going to be an expensive endeavour. We suggest that you always have enough cash on you to be able to tip when necessary, and even generously when the customer service is deserving. As an aside, you should avoid using the ATMs that are situated within the casino resorts for getting hold of cash, as their commission fees are eye-wateringly high.
Now you can see, the added expenses of playing in a real land-based casino is a bit of a bummer. However, the online Plaza Casino can be enjoyed without having the hassle of having to calculate the tipping charges on top of every bill. Not only can you benefit from playing your favourite mobile casino games, from anywhere and at any time, but also you can rest easy that your gambling bankroll doesn’t have to pay for any hidden extras.