Ever wondered how much casino dealers make? Perhaps at some point in your life, you have contemplated working at a casino but didn’t know if you could make a living from working as a table games dealer in the gambling mecca that is Vegas. If so, you’ve visited the right place. Here is what we have found out about a casino dealer’s salary.
Casino Dealers’ Salary: What You Need to Know
First off, let’s determine how the salary of gambling dealers is formed. Each casino dealer has a base salary and tips. Most of the time, the base salary isn’t that high, but this is when the tips come into action.
Although rules vary from one casino to the other vary, in general tips are cumulatively gathered from all tables. This means that each dealer doesn’t get to keep his “part” of the tips, but they are rather collected and distributed evenly across all working dealers.
This method is introduced due to the nature of the dealers’ work. Oftentimes, dealers work 60-80 minutes, and then another dealer often referred to as a “breaker,” steps in for 20 minutes while the initial dealer is having a break.
However, carrying boxes with tips around is not beneficial for the dealers as, in the meantime, they might be losing more tips, which is one of the main reasons why all tips are collected and distributed evenly.
Another reason is that some dealers do earn more but also contribute more, while others, who may have had a bad day or are still beginners, may get fewer tips. Here are three examples of how the gambling dealer’s salary is formed:
- Each dealer receives his hourly wage based on the hours worked.
- Each dealer receives an equal amount of the earned combined tips by all dealers based on the time he worked.
- Dealers get their base salary while retaining any individual tips given to them. However, these tips are subject to taxation and must be declared.
In other words, if a dealer earns $10 an hour and works for 80 hours for two weeks he or she will earn $800. If the tips for this period are $16 more per hour, then the dealer will earn $16 + $10 per hour, which amounts to a gross total of $2,080 (before tax) for the two weeks.
In case you were wondering, a card dealer’s salary is actually subject to tax, and so are their tips. But besides the tips, casino dealers’ salary oftentimes includes a year-end bonus, 401k, and health care benefits. We cannot miss adding that over the holidays, dealers undoubtedly earn more as more people are off work and have the time to play.
Gambling Dealers across the U.S. and How They Are Paid
Now, let’s steer to statistical details in terms of how much casino dealers make. According to the Occupational Employment Statistics report from May 2019, there were 98,890 people employed as gambling dealers across the U.S.
Nevada was undoubtedly the leader with more than 22,580 people employed in a position as a gambling dealer. The hourly wage for casino dealers in Nevada according to the paper was $9.01 with an annual wage of $18,750.
California comes in second place employing 16,050 gambling dealers who earn $13.19 an hour with an annual wage of $27,430.
However, it’s in Washington, according to the statistics, gambling dealers were paid the most. May 2019 Occupational Employment and Wages statistic shows that there were 5,700 gambling dealers in Washington who earned $20.05 per hour and made $41,690 in annual wages.
While the statistics do not show the high wages one might expect, the industry keeps changing. Users online agree that a card dealer’s salary is somewhere between $20,000 and $60,000 a year.
The payable hourly wage and expected tips vary depending on the location of the venue and the experience of each dealer and his or her colleagues. Every now and then you may come across a story online about a dealer in Vegas or California who made $100,000 the month before.
In general, dealers with such high income are positioned in high-stakes games and tournaments taking place in high-end venues. Such dealers do have more than a few years of experience under their belts and they have mastered their profession.
What Can a Newcomer Card Dealer Expect?
Dealing cards is not a difficult task in the physical aspect. Aside from not being able to sit down in some of the venues, the card dealers’ profession is not that difficult. However, card dealers need to be fully concentrated, quick, and must constantly communicate accurately with the players.
And while most casino operators do offer training, there are plenty of online courses. Dealers that want to improve their skills can also sign up for advanced lessons. Card dealers who participated in the World Series of Poker have shared that this was a priceless experience.
Why is it that training and proficiency are so important? The main reason is the tips. Card dealers that are giving their best at each hand and are also constantly concentrated have a higher chance of receiving a good tip. Higher and more tips mean a better card dealer salary. Communication with the players is also a key factor as some players are more talkative while others prefer to have a quiet game.
Experienced or newly recruited card dealers can make a good living. The respectable hourly wages combined with the tips, year-end bonuses, and health care plans, undoubtedly make it a sought-after career.
Proficiency in this line of work can only bring more money to the people who are giving it their all. Similar to how tips are customary in bars and restaurants, don’t forget to tip your casino dealer too! After all, how much casino dealers do make may depend on you tipping them off generously.