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Gratuities for Casino Personnel

Gratuity, that's the polite word for tipping. If it's true that money talks, nowhere does it talk louder than in the gaming world, where so many people receive the majority of their income from tips. In addition to cocktail waitresses, bartenders, valet parking attendants, and the like who work for tips, there also are the keno runners and the blackjack, dice, roulette, and poker dealers to mention only a few whose income is principally derived from the generosity of the public.

Tips are often referred to as tokes in the casino industry. They have become such a major source of income that the IRS constantly checks to make sure that casino employees in positions where toke incomes predominate are routinely and accurately reporting all such earnings.

While tokes are a way of life in the gaming business, I do not want to give the impression that unless you bend over backwards with gratitude you should expect poor service and lousy behavior from casino personnel. It is their job to earn your gratitude through providing warm, friendly, and helpful service. Do not under any circumstances reward poor performance. Never let any employee hustle or pressure you for a tip, that's rule number one.

Slot players may receive the services of several casino employees. For example, it is customary in many, but not all casinos to offer slot customers complimentary cocktails and other beverages. Usually a cocktail waitress or slot host or hostess will offer to take your order for a cocktail, soft drink, or coffee, and will return to your machine a few minutes later with your beverage. Although there is no charge for your drinks while you are playing slots, please keep in mind that it is the beverage itself that is complimentary, not the service of the person bringing the drink. It definitely would be in order to tip this person each time you are served a drink. How much to tip is entirely up to you, of course, and should be in accord with how politely and pleasantly the individual provided this service.

As a slot player, you will probably need the service of some of the slot department personnel from time to time. In most casinos, you do not have to leave your machine when you need to buy change because you can press a button on the front of the machine to summon a change person to come to you.

The change person also should be able to answer questions about your machine and in general should make you feel welcome and comfortable. If you hit a jackpot, it is likely that your change person will be one of the people who will pay you. We are talking about jackpots that are paid by an attendant, not jackpots paid by the machine itself. If your change person has been courteous and helpful in previously selling you change and is deserving in your opinion, you may hand him or her a tip at the time your jackpot is paid. Again, as before, the amount of the tip is entirely up to you.

If you have had any other transactions with slot department employees such as booth cashiers, slot mechanics, or floor people who were especially helpful and polite, you may wish to thank them with a small toke sometime while you are playing. Please remember, however, that you are not expected to tip anyone. It's an absolutely voluntary gesture that you may bestow upon the person who has earned it by making you feel like a guest instead of a customer.

As a final word on the subject, not only should mediocre service not be rewarded, poor service should be reported. If you are greeted by rude or inconsiderate employees, please bring that to the casino's attention. It's one way improvements can be made. You are the slot department's guest, and you deserve the best of treatment. Playing slots should be a leisure-time recreational activity, and the people hired to serve you should help to make your visit fun.


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