Community Ombudsman: Top off your trip to the casino with a tipWritten by Brandi Barhite | Community Ombudsman | firstname.lastname@example.org
One of Toledo’s newest attractions deals a new hand of tipping etiquette to learn.
Didn’t know that? Me either – until Feb. 17 when my mother-in-law won $1,300 at Hollywood Casino Toledo.
The “big win” came while we were waiting for two family members to join us for lunch at the Epic Buffet. When my husband’s mom sat down at a slot machine, she put in $5 and pressed the button once. The light came on, signaling the slot attendant. She had won!
While we celebrated, the slot attendant delivered the money and tax paperwork. We continued to celebrate as we went into the buffet (she paid) and sat down to eat. In between a bite, my mother-in-law suddenly froze and said, “Oh no! I forgot to tip the slot attendant.”
Everyone at the table was surprised. Not surprised she had forgotten, but surprised a tip was customary.
My husband and I dutifully tracked down the attendant and gave her a tip, and in the process learned that many people don’t know about tipping in casinos. And those who do, might not want to tip if they spent more money than they won.
Slot manager Brian Hopkins said slot attendants appreciate tips because gratuities are a large part of their earnings as their base pay is around minimum wage.
“Traditionally in developed markets, slot attendants can receive a tip of 10 percent and above on jackpot payouts. All other guest services that the slot attendant performs are the discretion of the guest to give a tip,” Hopkins said in an email.
But he confirmed what I suspected: Tipping etiquette is not widely known among those who aren’t regulars at casinos, especially in Northwest Ohio where the gaming industry is newer.
While on the subject of tips, don’t forget the dealers, who are paid similar to servers in restaurants. Again, their tips are a large percentage of their earnings.
Neal Perry, director of table games, said a tip is appropriate for any dealer who makes guests feel welcome and comfortable while they are playing and answers all of their questions while at the table.
“Traditionally, players tip the dealers while they are playing by putting a chip just to the right of the betting area or next to their bet. Some players like to tip at the end of their play,” Perry said via email.
“For dealers, it really depends on the amount the customer is betting. We would never tell anybody how much to tip. The better the service, the higher the amount just like a restaurant.”
And for those who might be unsure, it’s a good idea to observe.
“Seasoned gamblers understand how tipping in a casino works,” Perry said. “Folks who are new to gambling usually learn from watching others at the table.”