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Most online casinos insult you with popups and spam, and they give you the hard sell even if you just want to try their free-play games.  Fortunately there's Bovada, which is the opposite.  That's the primary reason they're the only online casino I accept advertising from.

  • No registration required.  Most casinos let you play for free with fake money, but there's a catch: They make you register an account first.   That's not just a hassle: after you register you can expect them to badger you by email trying to get you to deposit real money.  But Bovada lets you play right away without forcing you to register an account.  Just close any registration boxes that appear, and then you can play without registering.  Here, try it.
  • Plays right in your browser.  If you'd rather not download the casino software to your hard disk, you don't have to.  The games play right in your web browser.  Nice.
  • Works on Macs.  The play-in-browser games are MacOS compatible!  Before Bovada, Mac users were pretty much out of luck for gambling online, even for free-play.  Not any more.

Bovada's not perfect, but there's no better site serving most of the U.S.

Visit Bovada

Gambling problem?

  1. Call the 800-522-4700 hotline or get online help
  2. See these horror stories.
  3. Know that Parkinson's drugs encourage gambling.

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Gambling problem?

  1. Call the 800-522-4700 hotline or get online help
  2. See these horror stories.
  3. Know that Parkinson's drugs encourage gambling.

How much do casino dealers make?

Short answer:  About $50,000 a year, including tips.

Last update: September 2021

Casinos usually pay dealers only minimum wage, or barely more.  The real money is in the tips.  Wages and tips together is about $50,000 a year on average, but it's way lower at the cheaper casinos and way higher at the ritzier ones.  Here's how total dealer income stacks up:

Casino Dealer Earnings


$41/hr • $6.9k/mo • $82k/yr Dealer, luxury casino (e.g. Wynn/MGM)
$34/hr • $5.7k/mo • $68k/yr Dealer, nice casino (e.g. Caesars Palace)
$32/hr • $5.3k/mo • $64k/yr All jobs for Bachelor's Degree, median
$26/hr • $4.3k/mo • $52k/yr Dealer, Vegas median, and non-LV casinos
$22/hr • $3.6k/mo • $43k/yr All jobs for Associate Degree, median
$19/hr • $3.1k/mo • $37k/yr All jobs for High School diploma, median
$14/hr • $2.3k/mo • $27k/yr All jobs for no High School diploma, median
$11/hr • $1.8k/mo. • $22k/yr Low-roller/Locals casinos (e.g., El Cortez, Gold Coast)
Estimates/averages, based on sources below

So, at most places, it's a decent middle-class job.  All the more so when you consider that it's one of the highest-paying jobs available to those without a college degree.  Dealers typically complete vocational training lasting 7 to 30 weeks.  That's comparable to Certified Nurses Aides, whose median pay is only $14/hour, a fraction of what the typical dealer makes.

On the flip side, dealer jobs come with some unique downsides.  Dealers work in a smoky environment day in and day out.  They might have to work the graveyard shift.  They deal with horribly rude players who blame the dealer for the player's losses.  They have to stand the entire shift.  There's little job advancement:  Most dealers can't graduate to anything besides a supervisor, and supervisors often don't make any more money than dealers because they don't get tips.  Here's one dealer's rundown on the challenges of the work environment.  On the other hand, some dealers are quite happy with the job.

Whatever you think a dealer should make, that tells you how much to tip.  Assuming a dealer makes $8/hour before tips and averages three customers at the table who will tip the same amount as you, here's how generous to be:

How much to tip the dealer
If you think the dealer
should make this much...
...then tip this much
$80,000/yr • $6.7k/mo $11/hr.
$70,000/yr • $5.8k/mo $9/hr.
$60,000/yr • $5.0k/mo $7/hr.
$50,000/yr • $4.2k/mo $6/hr.
$40,000/yr • $3.3k/mo $4/hr.
$30,000/yr • $2.5k/mo $2/hr.

See the table for cocktail waitresses.

Wynn tip controversy

In 2006, Wynn decided that its dealers had to share their tips with supervisors.  They did that because dealers were making more than supervisors (because Wynn attracts high rollers who tip big), so it was hard to get anyone to be a supervisor.  The forced tip-sharing took supervisors' total pay from about $65k to $90-95k, and dealers' pay from $75-100k to $65k-90k.

Wynn could have paid the supervisors more, but that would have been money out of Wynn's pocket, and Wynn felt that dealers had some room to share because they're among the highest-paid dealers in the world.  Of course the dealers didn't see it that way, and sued.

By 2018, nothing was settled, but Steve Wynn had been ousted as CEO because of sexual misconduct allegations, and the new CEO moved to end the dispute.  He stopped the policy of forced tip-sharing, raised dealer pay from $7.25 to $8.25/hr., and raised supervisor pay by 33% to $37.50 an hour.  However, dealers persisted in their lawsuit, trying to recover their lost tips from 2006-18.

In 2021, Wynn agreed to pay $5.6 million to current and former dealers to settle the dispute.  That's around $4170 per dealer, but some dealers claim that they lost as much as $100,000 in tips.  In any event, the saga is now over.

Note:  Different sources give different figures for Wynn dealer and supervisor pay.

Sources:  Las Vegas Sun (2009), Casino.org (2018, 2021)


Sources

All of the figures above and below have been converted to 2019 dollars, except in the "Wynn tip controversy" section.  The dates below are the dates of the source data, where the figures were lower before I adjusted them to 2019.

Median wage before tips.  Bureau of Labor Statistics (2017), Casino.org (2018) • Wynn base pay not raised for a decade: LVRJ (2018)

Vegas casinos.  Wynn (2006, 2019), MGM Grand (undated), Caesar's Palace (2018).

Non-Vegas casinos.  Dealer posts from NC (2012-16) and Northern MI (2015).

Low-roller / Locals casinos.  In 2002, I read in the defunct Dealer's News newsletter that El Cortez dealers made a paltry $21/day in tips (2002 dollars).   That plus inflation plus minimum wage gives the figure in the table above.  I can believe the figure reported in Dealer's News, because often when I've played in locals/low-roller places, I'm the only one tipping.  Once at the now-defunct Western Casino, when I tipped the dealer was confused as to what I was doing, because she'd never received a tip before.


Practice gambling with play money

Before you throw down your hard-earned cash in a casino, PRACTICE FIRST!  Learn the games with play money where it doesn't cost you anything if you lose.  Seriously.

You can play Bovada's games (below) right away without registering for an account.  Most every other online casino makes you give up your email address just to play the fake-money games — ugh.  That's the mean reason Bovada is the only online casino that gets advertising space on my site.  I hope other casinos will eventually start treating their visitors like human beings rather than walking wallets, but until they do, there's Bovada.  One click and you're in.

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