How much do casino dealers make?
Short answer: About $50,000 a year, including tips.
Last update: August, 2019.
Dealers typically start out at minimum wage, and the median wage is only $10/hour. The real money is in the tips. Wages and tips together is typically about $50,000 a year, 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)|
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.
All of the figures above and below have been converted
to 2019 dollars. 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)
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