This subject of tipping is especially problematic for me, because I’m so frugal. All my life I’ve saved money by paying the lowest possible price for anything and everything. So you canJean Scott is known as the "Queen of Comps" and encourages smarter casino gambling. She appears on network and cable TV, especially on the Travel Channel. Her down-to-earth practical suggestions will save you both time and money in your quest to make your trip to the casino more fun and more profitable. Jean's website is www.queenofcomps.com understand my problem with tipping. And who says you HAVE to tip? So never to tip would seem like the frugal thing to do.
On the other hand, being frugal isn’t the same thing as being cheap or stingy. Therefore, I do tip when I feel it’s customary, useful, and appropriate.
I know a few people who never tip, inside or outside of a casino. I also know people who tip away all their winnings in a casino - perhaps because tipping makes them feel important or loved.
This brings up my first point. Everyone has a personal opinion about tipping and there is no right or wrong. We’re all influenced by how we were raised and what we were taught about money. Ultimately, each of us makes a decision about tipping, influenced by many factors.
One factor is basic personality. My husband, for example, is a naturally generous person, while my generosity is sometimes tempered by my frugal nature. I probably don’t tip enough at times and Brad sometimes tips too much. In that way, and many others, we balance each other.
People’s tipping patterns also depend on external factors. People who have worked in tipping positions, no matter how long ago, are apt not only to be generous, but also empathetic with service people.
Tipping in a casino is more complicated and unfamiliar than in restaurants, valet parking, and taxis. People often ask me to give them some guidelines. They say they have no idea what to do in a casino when they hit a $1000 jackpot on a slot machine.
So here are my tipping ideas. First, always remember tipping is voluntary. It’s your decision what to tip. Employee hints, blatant or subtle, should be firmly ignored along with profuse congratulations on small hand-pays, the sudden appearance of many employees when a big jackpot is being paid, and the particularly irritating practice of being paid the last $100 of any payoff in $20 bills. However, you should always keep in mind that employees always HOPE for big tips; after all, they are human. Don’t judge them too harshly—but also, don’t feel pressured by them. You’re a gambler, not a participant in a popularity contest.
Plan your tipping strategy in advance. Many people use a percentage system for tipping on large jackpots, from 5% to 2%, but most commonly 1%. They tip $10 for a $1,000 jackpot; $40 for $4,000, etc. Brad and I tend to tip on a graduated percentage system, starting at 1% for $1,000, but decreasing the percentage as the jackpot climbs, with $20 (5%) for a $4,000 payout and a maximum of $100 for higher ones.
As for tipping on mini-jackpots and hand-pay amounts, there seems to be no real consensus. Some stick to their percentage schedule. Others give a token dollar or two on any service. Many do not tip at all for these.
Many people tip higher when they’re winning and lower when they’re losing. I don’t feel particularly benevolent when I’m losing heavily—you’d have to be a saint to feel generous when you’re down a couple thousand!
Some say they tip less (or not at all) if service is extremely slow. But often the employees in charge of hand-pays are not at fault; it’s management’s problem for understaffing. And I definitely will not tip anyone who treats me rudely or has a bad attitude. Conversely, we often tip extra for special service or particularly friendly attention.
Amount of time spent in casinos is also a factor. A person who gambles infrequently may tip more generously. The frequent casino player may decide to tip on a more restricted schedule. A video poker player whose main purpose in a casino is to achieve a profit will figure tips into the total return of any play.Finally, remember there’s something you can give casino employees who serve you—something that’s valuable to them and doesn’t cost you any money. You can treat them with respect and honor their dignity, no matter what their job level. A cheerful “thank you” and a genuine smile makes any tip seem bigger!
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