How Much Does It Pay To Work At A Casino

Posted : admin On 10.03.2021

Average Hollywood Casino hourly pay ranges from approximately $8.79 per hour for Bartender to $23.16 per hour for Casino Dealer. The average Hollywood Casino salary ranges from approximately $18,572 per year for Housekeeper to $67,632 per year for Security Officer. Pay: $10 – $12/hr. What they do: Casino cashiers conduct different transactions. The average hourly rate for Security Guard - Casino ranges from $12 to $18 with the average hourly pay of $14. The total hourly cash compensation, which includes base and short-term incentives, can vary anywhere from $12 to $18 with the average total hourly cash compensation of $14. The average Cage Cashier - Casino salary in the United States is $33,221 as of February 26, 2021, but the range typically falls between $27,611 and $42,150. Salary ranges can vary widely depending on many important factors, including education, certifications, additional skills, the number of years you have spent in your profession.

As of Feb 12, 2021, the average annual pay for a Casino Dealer in the United States is $39,777 a year. Just in case you need a simple salary calculator, that works out to be approximately $19.12 an hour. This is the equivalent of $765/week or $3,315/month.

The word “comp” is short for “complimentary.” In the gambling industry, comps are free stuff you get from casinos and other gambling companies to incentivize you to gamble with them. Generally, you get more comps based on how much you’re gambling.

When discussing comps, it helps to understand the expression “action.” Being “in action” just means that you have money riding on a bet of any kind.

But “action” also refers to the amount of money you have wagered. It can refer to the amount of money you wager over a period of time, too.

For example, if you’re playing slot machines and betting $1 every time you spin the reels, you’re putting $1 into action every time you spin. If you make 600 spins per hour, then you’ve put $600/hour into action.

Based on the odds behind the game and the payout odds, casinos can estimate the long-term expected losses based on your hourly action. They can then calculate a percentage of that to return to you in the form of comps.

When you’re dealing with traditional land casinos, if you bring much action to the casino at all, you’ll be assigned a casino host. This is the person at the casino responsible for keeping you happy so that you don’t take your action elsewhere. Comps are the main tool a host uses to keep you happy.

Of course, not everyone has a host. You can also get comps almost automatically by signing up for the players’ club and inserting the card into the machines as you play. Pit bosses also have the authority to reward you with comps when you’re playing table games. In fact, the simplest and most common type of comp is the free drink. As long as you look like you’re playing a slot machine, a cocktail waitress will bring you free drinks all night. (She’ll be more attentive if you tip her well, though.)

This post explains the different kinds of gambling comps and what they mean to you as a gambler.

The Different Kinds of Comps Available

Comps are awarded in a hierarchy based on your value to the casino. The most basic comp is the free drink. Casinos have multiple motivations for gving you free drinks.

For one thing, a gambler who’s inebriated has lower inhibitions. He’s more likely to gamble more money longer. And the #1 factor affecting how much profit a casino makes from a gambler is the amount of time he spends playing.

That’s because casino games have an innate mathematical edge. This edge doesn’t have a huge effect in the short term, because in the short term, anything can happen. But the law of large numbers suggests that the more bets you make, the closer your actual results become to the theoretical results.

Here’s an example:

The mathematical expectation at blackjack is for you to lose roughly 1% of each bet you make on average over time. (This assumes you’re using basic strategy while you play.) That means the casino expects you to lose an average of $1 every time you place a $100 bet.

In the short run, that’s impossible. If you place a single bet at blackjack—which is the ultimate example of the short term—it’s impossible to lose $1 on a single $100 bet. You’ll lose $100, win $100, or win $150 most of the time. If you double down or split, you might win more–$200, $300, or even $400 wins are possible. You might also face a “push,” which is a tie. Your bet is returned, but you don’t win any money… that’s a loss or win of $0.

None of those outcomes come even close to a loss of $1.

That $1 loss is an average over time–over a huge number of bets. If you make 10,000 bets at $100 each, you’re likely to lose close to $10,000. Even with that many bets, it’s possible to deviate wildly from the mathematical expectation.

If you’re the casino, you want to get into the large number range as soon and as often as possible. This ensures your profit. The way to do this is to get players to make lots of bets for lots of money.

And providing free alcohol helps with that. In fact, it’s a small price to pay for the extra action they see.

You can expect more than just free drinks, though. Free food is a small step up from free drinks. At a casino of any respectable size, you’ll find multiple restaurants on site. The 2nd most common type of comp is free food at one of the on-site restaurants.

The free food comp is usually awarded in the form of a coupon. You might have to put more money into action than you think to be awarded free food, but it sometimes depends on the generosity of the pit boss. It can also depend on what kind of rapport you have with the casino staff.

I once got into a spirited conversation with the cardroom manager at Planet Hollywood Casino in Las Vegas. They had a hot dog joint there called Pinks—I guess it’s popular on the West Coast. Anyway, I was trying to convince the cardroom manager that he should buy everyone at the table hot dogs.

Apparently, at the limits I play, you don’t get free hot dogs.

If you qualify for free food and free drinks, you’re not far from qualifying for free lodging, too. Most casinos are also hotels, but even casinos which don’t have attached hotels will get you lodging nearby—if you’re gambling enough.

You can also get upgraded to a nicer room by virtue of the action you bring the casino. (You might also be able to get upgraded to a suite or a nicer room by tipping the desk person $20 when you check in, but that’s not really related to comps.)

In fact, these 3 comps—room, food, and beverage—are so common that they have an abbreviation for it. Bettors who qualify for all 3 are called “RFB” customers.

Notice something about all these comps, too. You’re getting comps that seem to have a certain value. A drink is probably $5 at the bar at a casino. A meal is usually $15 or $20. A room can vary wildly in price, but is often at least $50, $100, or more.

But those are the retail prices for these comps. The casino doesn’t pay $5 when they mix you a drink. Their cost for that shot of Crown on the rocks is probably closer to $1. The meal at the buffet that the public pays $15 for probably only cost the restaurant $5 to make.

And a hotel room that’s sitting empty generates no money for the casino at all, so they might as well give it away. In fact, the Winstar in Oklahoma has such low occupancy rates during the week that almost anybody can get a comped room. You don’t have to bring them much action at all, really.

Those are just the standard comps for regular down-to-earth players like you and me. High rollers, or “whales,” as the industry calls them, are eligible for all kinds of free stuff. Many of these comps are customized based on what the host knows about the gambler’s interests.

It’s not unusual for a casino to pay for airfare and transportation to and from the airport for a big player. In fact, that’s expected for any high roller.

But entertainment is another popular comp. If you like golf, shows, or sporting events, you can usually get a “free” ride from the casino to go to those outings, too.

Rebates are common, too, even if you’re not a high roller. For low rollers, rebates are often awarded in the form of coupons or free play. High rollers can receive cash or a check as part of their rebate.

The comps program is part of the casino’s marketing plan. Most casinos make heavy use of direct mail to entice gamblers to return to their casino and play. If you’re a member of the players’ club at the casino, you’ll inevitably receive standard comps in the mail.

Based on your interests and betting tendencies, you’ll also get free offers for other perks in the mail, too.

Even low rollers can get free transport to and from the casino. I see buses taking groups of gamblers to the Winstar all the time. Many of the people riding those buses pay nothing for the ride, although they lose enough money at the casino to more than make up for that cost.

But calling these comps “free” is inaccurate. You pay for these comps in the form of gambling losses, even when you’re winning.

How Gambling Companies Do the Math That Makes Their Comps Program Profitable

Other than the free drinks and occasional free coupons sent in the mail, most casinos award comps based on your actual time spent playing. They account for how many bets per hour you make and at what amount when deciding how much to award you and when.


But comps aren’t based on how much you actually lose. Instead, casinos calculate your comps based on your theoretical expected loss. This is a function of the house edge for the games you’re playing, the time you spend playing, and how many bets per hour you’re making.

Over the long run—and casinos serve thousands of customers per day—the casino has an excellent idea of how much your play is worth. If you’re on a winning streak, you still get comps based on your action. The calculations are based on your expected losses, not your actual losses.

Here’s how the casino calculates this:

You play slots exclusively, but you bet $3 per spin. You’re an average player, so you’re making 600 spins per hour. That’s $1800 per hour you’re putting into action.

If the casino knows you like the machines with a 95% payback percentage, they figure that in the long run they’re going to make 5% of your hourly action—or $90 per hour. (5% of $1800 is $90.)

If you spend an average of 4 hours a day playing slots, the casino assumes you’re going to lose $360 a day while you’re there.

They then award you comps based on a percentage of that $360 per day.

How Much Does It Pay To Work At A Casino

How Can You Best Take Advantage of the Casinos’ Comps Programs?

If you’ve heard of the books The Frugal Gambler by Jean Scott or Comp City by Max Rubin, you probably already know a little bit about becoming a “comp hustler” or “comp wizard.” These are players who learn to maximize the amount of comps they receive in exchange for their action.

One way to maximize the comps you get for the money you lose is to play a game with a tiny house edge. If you can play blackjack with perfect basic strategy, you can get the edge in the game down to 0.5%. The average player loses about 4% at blackjack, because the average player doesn’t know perfect basic strategy.

When the casinos calculate your expected loss at the blackjack table, they assume you’re an average player losing 3% or 4%. Since you’re only expected to lose 0.5%, you’re getting comps based on a theoretical loss that’s actually overstated by a factor of between 5 and 10.

Another way to maximize the comps you get is to bet big when you’re being rated by the dealer and the pit boss. “Rating” players is how they estimate your hourly action. Fooling the pit boss is harder than you think.

I was playing blackjack in Kansas City for between $10 and $100 per hand, depending on the count. They rated me as a $10/hand player, even though I was betting more than that on a lot of hands. I complained, but I’m sure they realized I was counting. The last thing they were going to do is rate me higher when they knew I was counting cards.

(I was also a little drunk, so I didn’t notice immediately when they started shuffling the deck after every hand. Counting cards does you no good if the dealers shuffle after every hand.)

Taking lots of breaks can result in fewer hands per hour than the casino estimates, which reduces your expected hourly loss by a lot. If you’re at a blackjack table dealing 60 hands per hour, you could realistically only play 45 hands per hour by taking frequent bathroom breaks.

What effect does that have on your expected hourly loss?

It reduces it by another 25% or so. Instead of losing $10/hour, you might only be losing $7.50/hour. The casino might be estimating that you’ll be losing an average of $40/hour and base your comps on that.

How Much Does It Pay To Work At A Casinos

Expert video poker play can also result in smaller expected losses per hour. In fact, with certain video poker games, the combinations of comps with the tiny house edge can result in an overall positive expected value for the player. That’s an advantage gambling technique, but it’s not one you can realistically make a living at. The edge is too small, and games with those pay tables are usually only available for small stakes. You’d be lucky to make minimum wage playing video poker for comps.

How much of your expected losses can you expect back in comps?

It varies, but the casino calculates that they can afford to give you back 40% of your expected loss in the form of comps. You’ll more often see 20% through the players’ program if you’re a low roller, but you can even increase that amount by taking advantage of coupons and “happy hour” type promotions where you get 2X or 3X your standard comp rate.

How Do Online Casino Bonuses Work? Isn’t That Another Form of Comp?

Online casinos can’t serve you drinks or free food. They can’t really provide you with a free room for the night, either. And since you’re playing from home, they’re unlikely to offer you free show tickets, either.

Instead, online casinos offer you sign up bonuses and ongoing deposit bonuses. These amount to free amounts of money awarded to your account just for making a deposit—either as a new player or as an existing player.

Bonus hustlers used to take advantage of these offers to generate almost guaranteed profits. A friend of mine once bought a jukebox by taking advantage of casino bonuses at a dozen different casinos and cashing out his winnings.

Online casinos have responded to this by instituting wagering requirements that make it almost mathematically impossible to come out ahead when taking advantage of a bonus. They also watch player behavior closely, and if that behavior resembles that of known bonus hustlers, the casino might refuse to pay you based on “bonus abuse.”


The concept of wagering requirement seems more complicated than it is. Here’s how it works:

You sign up at a casino that offers you a 200% matching bonus on your first deposit of $1000. You deposit $1000, input your bonus code, and the casino adds $2000 to your balance.

You now have $3000 to play with.

But the casino requires you to wager this amount 35 times before cashing out. They also restrict your play to slot machines. You can play blackjack, too, but only 10% of your blackjack wagers count toward fulfilling your wagering requirements.

And you can’t cash out before fulfilling these wagering requirements.

Let’s assume you want to play the slots. A good ballpark estimate for the house edge on a slot machine game is 6%, but who knows? (The casino does, but you don’t.)

To wager $3000 35 times means you must put $105,000 into action.

The expected loss on that much action is 6% multiplied by $105,000, which is $6300.

Since you started with $3000, the mathematical expectation is for you to go broke before fulfilling your wagering requirements.

On the other hand, if you play blackjack, the house edge is only 0.5%. But since the casino only counts 10% of those wagers toward your wagering requirements, you need to make $1,050,000 in wagers before cashing out.

0.5% of $1,050,000 is still over $5000.

Again, that’s more than your starting bankroll, so it’s unlikely that you’ll have money left over after fulfilling your wagering requirement.

You can, of course, get lucky and win more than you’re expected to. I claimed a bonus at an online casino once for $1000, and I hit a $6000 jackpot on my 5th spin of the reels on a slot machine game.

I was able to fulfill my wagering requirements and still have $2000 in profits.

But that’s because I got lucky—not because I took advantage of a mathematical edge given me by the bonus.

In fact, had I eschewed the signup bonus, I could have cashed out the entire $6000. I wouldn’t have been required to finish fulfilling the wagering requirements.


Casino and gambling comps are really cool, but they’re also a tool that casinos use to get you to lose more money than you’d otherwise lose. Understanding how those comps work is the first step in making sure you don’t get taken advantage of.

Some people learn how to take advantage of the comps system in such a way that they gamble practically for free. It’s even theoretically possible to come out ahead because of the comps program. That’s too much work for most people, but it’s nice to know that it’s possible.

The bottom line about comps is that the casino doesn’t have your best interest at heart. They want your money.

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If you’re entertaining dreams of owning your own casino one day, you’ll need anywhere from a few thousand dollars to a few billion.

The casino business is so lucrative that every time a new casino opens as “the most expensive casino ever built,” investors pop champagne bottles and raise a toast. It wasn’t always that way. Only a few decades ago, casino operators built on slim budgets.

Steve Wynn gambled big in the late ‘80s when he opened The Mirage in Las Vegas. Wynn and his backers invested an unheard-of $630 million in the new casino. At the time, industry analysts calculated the casino would have to turn an average daily profit of at least $1 million to meet its financial obligations.

The Mirage was supposed to pay for itself over seven years. Wynn paid off the debt in less than two years. That works out to more than $4 million profit per day.

In 2019 dollars, that isn’t so bad. If a casino has only 1,000 gaming machines, it can turn a $5 million daily profit just by retaining an average $1000 per machine.

According to a 2015 Las Vegas Sun article, about 40 million people visited Las Vegas on an annual basis at that time. That works out to nearly 110,000 visitors to Las Vegas daily. There are just over 100 casinos in Las Vegas.

In 2017, it was then reported that annual visitors had climbed to more than 42 million.

If each visitor loses only an average of $100 per day, Las Vegas is raking in $11 million in casino earnings every day. The reality is much more startling.

In 2013, the University of Nevada, Las Vegas published a study on the daily revenues of the 23 big casinos on the Strip. To be included in the study, a casino had to produce gaming revenue at least $72 million a year. The average for each of the big 23 turned out to be over $230 million per year.

That’s a far cry since The Mirage opened in 1989, but competition has changed the city’s gaming industry. Here is a deeper look at what it costs to build a casino.

Location, Location, Location

If you want to build a casino for as little as possible, buy cheap land. Where that wicket becomes sticky is in finding the right land. Not only do you need favorable laws allowing gambling and zoning for casinos, but you also need at least a good nearby highway.

Las Vegas is a hub for three Interstate highways and several US highways. The city is also home to McCarran International Airport. About 40 million passengers pass through the airport every year.

Considering AmTrak carries passengers to the city as well, tourists visit the city by car, bus, train, and plane.

If you decide to build your own casino, lacking the transportation channels that Las Vegas boasts means your location will attract fewer annual visitors. This probably explains why few cities dominate the casino industry. The casinos need both good zoning and access to transportation to attract visitors.

How Much Does It Pay To Work At A Casino Website

Hence, you should expect to pay a lot of money for the land.


Size Counts In Every Way

The Mirage currently boasts about 2,000 slot machine games. While that sounds like a lot, the WinStar World Casino in Thackerville, OK has about six times the floor space as The Mirage. The WinStar opened in 2003, making it 14 years younger than The Mirage.

According to their website in 2019, the WinStar holds about 8400 slot machines. They also have a 55-table poker room, all squeezed into 400,000 feet of floor space. If you want to compete with the WinStar, you’ll need a lot of floor space and thousands of more games.

Amazingly, Thackerville only has one Intestate highway passing through it. The nearest international airport is in Dallas, TX. WinStar is competing on size and landscape.

The casino is owned and operated by the Chickasaw Nation, who had plenty of available land for development. That’s an advantage over the average commercial developer. By owning the land as part of their reservation, they were able to invest more in creating a high-quality resort.

You Need a Hotel and Restaurant

One reason why good casinos cost so much to build is the bigger casinos contain or are paired with big hotels. By providing their visitors with safe, comfortable accommodations, they ensure those visitors spend more time in their gaming areas.

On-site entertainment and dining venues enhance the hotel and casino experience. The farther away from Vegas and Atlantic City one gets in the United States, the less extravagant the casinos tend to become.

Only a handful of states and cities allow commercial casinos to congregate in their jurisdictions. The demand for suitable land limits the competition.

Biloxi, MS is North America’s third big commercial casino hub.

In Biloxi, venues like Beau Rivage, Treasure Bay, and Hard Rock offer attractive accommodations and gaming areas.

The Beau Rivage may be the best known of the Biloxi casinos. They only offer about 1800 slot games. Owned by MGM Resorts, Beau Rivage promotes its hotel, entertainment, dining, and nightlife venues equally with the casino.

These are not afterthoughts. They are part and parcel major pieces of the whole package.

According to, the average cost of a hotel in the United States is just over $22 million. A hotel comparable to the resorts at WinStar or Beau Rivage will easily set you back in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

Factor in the Cost of Games

Assuming the hypothetical new casino brings in a lot of slot machines, how much do they cost?

The website rounds up a list of price ranges for popular slot machines. Expect to pay at least several thousand dollars per basic game. The enhanced games may run $30,000 or more for the consoles.

Assuming you pay $20,000 for a brand new game and begin with a small investment of 500 machines, expect to finance about $10 million just for the slot machines.

If you can bring enough people in, the games should pay for themselves in only a few months. That’s not so bad.

However, the games will need to be maintained. A new casino must include the cost of hiring qualified staff or for paying authorized service contracts.

Plant Operations Are Expensive

Whether you’re building a roadside casino with 100 machines or planning a massive resort with more than a handful of casino games, the buildings will need electricity, water, heating and air systems, sewage, and maintenance areas.

How Much Do You Get Paid To Work In A Casino

A large resort has a plant facility with workshops, storage rooms, receiving areas, and more. Even a small casino needs a place to service machines and receive products and services.

Assuming a modest 200-room hotel is built on the property, it will have its own plant facility. Ditto for a small restaurant.

This new casino will need tools and equipment no one thinks about when pushing buttons and counting cards. There are lighting systems, sound systems, security systems, communication systems, and staff offices.

Employees will need dressing rooms and lockers, or at least their own break room.

Administration will need at least one office, maybe two if there is a dedicated full-time security team.

The cashiers will need a counting room and vault.

All these facilities must be built out, equipped, and brought online. This is all before you hire your first employee.


If the idea of building a new casino seems crazy, it is. This is an industry for billionaires and rich investment fund managers to play in. It’s not for the faint-hearted or small business person.

How Much Does It Pay To Work At A Casino Without

It’s true there are hundreds of small casinos that do just fine. With only a few dozen to a few hundred games, they cater to local customers. They don’t need big highways, trains, and airports.

How Much Does It Pay To Work At A Casino Near Me

Even so, the cost of setting up a small commercial will run into the millions of dollars. Most communities won’t accept commercial casinos. Most states don’t license them. The Native American tribes may contract with casino management companies but only the big ones.

In short, it costs a lot of money to open a casino. Buying one is out of the question for most people. Donald Trump is believed to have lost about $1 billion in investors’ money by trying to buy his way into Atlantic City.

Short of inheriting a small fortune or casino, this kind of development is one game well beyond the reach of typical investors and small business owners.