How Much You Should Be Tipping Cocktail Servers At Casinos

Have you ever been to a concert where the performer concludes their set with the sendoff "Thank you! Tip your waitresses!"? Well, it doesn't really matter whether you receive specific instructions from the night's entertainment or not — tipping your servers isn't optional, especially at a casino offering complimentary drinks.

Many casinos provide free drinks to keep folks at the card tables, and they are hand-delivered by drifting servers who are likely doing a lot more than just serving cocktails. For starters, they're dealing with gambling drunk people, a demographic that isn't exactly famous for being docile or easy to communicate with. Your server deserves that extra ten spot more than the slot machine does. Plus, many servers are paid with the tip credit factored in (aka below minimum wage) so they rely on your tip to receive an income (even if they're having an off night and missed you on the last lap). 

Considering casino servers roam around the floor all night, tipping per drink is appropriate, and as a general rule, $2 per drink is adequate. The "$1 per one drink" rule might be fine for bottles and cans, but not for cocktails. If cocktails aren't your style and you order a pitcher of beer, tip in the ballpark of 30% (i.e. a $6 tip on a $20 pitcher). Casino chips are an acceptable form of currency, and can definitely be used for tipping servers, as can paper cash vouchers from the slots.

Got a pair of ones?

In fitting casino fashion, there are a few house rules around this $2 tipping guidepost. If your buddy spills their drink and your server has to clean it up, toss another dollar or two onto the next tip. If you order a "white Negroni with Beefeater and just a dash of bitters," that extra attention to detail warrants an extra buck. Ultimately, if the end of the night finally rolls around and you had a killer time with exceptional service, leaving a twenty (or depending on the casino, an even larger bill) for your server is a good way to express that appreciation.

If you want to catch your server's eye, it's better to tip bigger up front to communicate that you see your server working hard and appreciate their attentiveness. Tip $10 on the first drink and let them know that you'll be posted at a particular table for a while. They'll do their best to take care of you. Just keep in mind that servers circulate more around games with in-person dealers like poker or roulette than they do solo sports like slots.

Recently, a culturally poisonous phenomenon known as "tip fatigue" has been rearing its ugly head in the food and beverage scene. Don't let it deceive you. Tipping is still very much proper etiquette — and at the end of the day, who wouldn't gladly fork over a few bucks to up the ante on fun for everyone at the craps table?