Reason I like Bovada #4:

It's fair and safe

As always, the best way to avoid losing money by gambling is to not gamble in the first place.  That goes double online, because online gambling is largely unregulated in the U.S.  That means the casinos serving the whole U.S. don't answer to anyone.  If you have a problem with a casino (like they won't pay you), then you're usually out of luck.  I can't count how many players have written to ask me for help because they didn't get paid by some other casino.  (Not that I helped them, it's not what I do—if a dodgy casino won't pay you then you're on your own.)

So if you're intent on gambling online, then the #1 most important thing is to pick a good casino.  The good ones know they make more money with fair games and consistent payouts than the dodgy casinos, because fair play means repeat customers and good word-of-mouth referrals.  It's no coincidence that the most successful online casinos are the ones that focus on their customers.

Many casinos try to find excuses to not pay winning players, especially players who have won big.  Outright cheating (rigged games) is pretty rare, but it happens.  Either way, with the lack of regulation in the U.S., if you have a problem with an online casino, you're usually out of luck.

So all this is another reason why I advertise Bovada, and have done so for over ten years.  They use industry-standard software, it's absolutely fair, and players get their payouts, consistently.  I have a choice in whom I advertise, so I purposefully picked a casino with a good reputation where I'm confident my readers will have a good experience.

To be clear, Bovada's not perfect.  Once they got duped by a bad vendor (Betsoft) who provided progressive slots whose jackpots weren't winnable.  When I discovered this I alerted Bovada, and they pulled all the Betsoft games from the site, but I thought they were slow to do so and didn't offer proper restitution to affected players. (more on this)  Still, even with this incident, their overall history is better than most; as just one example, there are many other casinos still offering Betsoft's questionable games.

Another good thing about Bovada is that they allow me to mediate if one of my readers clicks over to them, plays the games, and has a problem they can't get Bovada to resolve.  My time is valuable and I wouldn't offer that service if I had to do it very often.  I think I've gotten maybe one or two inquiries from affected players in the 14 years I've been advertising Bovada.

Bottom line: I'm confident that Bovada is fair and reasonably safe.  You might have a good experience with another casino...and you might not.  I trust Bovada, and that's why I picked them.

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: 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)

Vegas casinos.  Wynn (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.





Site Contents ©2001-2020 Michael Bluejay.
I believe everything herein to be accurate, but I'm not responsible for errors or omissions.  I'm pretty irresponsible, actually.

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