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.
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.
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.