Your Ultimate Guide To Casino Dealers In 2023
They're the operators who make or break gamblers on the spin of a wheel and a turn of the cards.
Good ones are seen but not heard. Handling a million things at once, professionally dealing with disgruntled punters whilst counting out chips in a milli-second.
While not for everyone, the life of a casino dealer is one packed with late nights, poor basic pay and drunk punters.
Right? Well, sure, there's the downside. But then there's the flexible working hours, the travel opportunities, and the tips.
From land-based casinos and cruise ships to online Live Casino Dealer studios where croupiers deal out blackjack hands or spin real roulette wheels that can be bet on via online casino sites; there are arguably more opportunities to become a dealer than ever before.
Let's take a closer look at how feasible it is to make it with a casino dealer job.
How Much Money Do Casino Dealers Make?
Let's take two scenarios: the UK and the USA.
Entry-level croupiers in London usually start on around £17,000 pa, a salary that can rise to £20,000 within two years. Tips, which are legal in UK casinos, add on welcomed extra income, and it's not uncommon for good dealers to earn an extra £4-500 a month in tips. In London, dealers can earn an extra 30 percent in the form of tips.
Outside London, in the regional casinos salaries start around £12-15,000 pa depending on experience. Again, tips are extra but won't come near those of their London colleagues.
It is possible for a London croupier to become an Inspector within five years if they show aptitude, in which case the amount of money you can make with the job can reach around £28,000 plus tips. Outside London this will be about 30% less, but then living costs are also less.
United States of America
In the US, casino dealers make around $23,000 on average, with half of dealers reporting income slightly less than that. According to 2016 figures from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, dealer salaries in Nevada averaged around $17,440, with dealers in Pennsylvania earning much higher, around $26,690.
How Do I Become a Casino Dealer?
Becoming a casino dealer requires some work on your part. Extensive training is required, either from a casino run program itself or through a school offering various courses about the different aspects of casino life.
In areas where casinos are prevalent, gaming programs are usually easily found and typically run for six weeks. Here, a student dealer will learn all the crucial aspects of the trade including the procedures and rules followed for various games. They will also learn both the regulations and local laws that govern them for the particular area they are in. Bear in mind, these change from city to city and state to state, so a refresher course may be needed at some point.
Once you have completed your dealer program, you will end up auditioning for a job at a local casino. Here, not only will your technical skills be scrutinized, but your personality might play a big part in landing you a job.
Tip: Personality plays an important factor in the casino environment as many establishments want someone that is not only friendly and courteous, but extremely outgoing too. Don’t forget, you need to be able to do simple math very quickly as well.
What's Good & Bad About Being a Dealer?
- Good salary and tips
- Potential for promotion through the casino ranks
- Free food and uniforms
- Four weeks paid holiday per year
- Opportunities to travel and see the world
- Disturbance in sleep patterns
- Starting salaries can be low unless you progress rapidly
- Dealing the same games can become monotonous
- Incredibly anti-social hours at times
What Qualifications Do You Need?
According to Anne Loughlin, who has worked as a dealer around the world, from England to Jamaica & Cannes to the Cayman Islands, there are no actual qualifications required to become a dealer.
"Candidates just need basic numeracy skills while a good attitude is essential," she says. "They also need to have an ability to work well within a team, and of course previous experience of customer service is very useful.
"[In the UK] There is an NVQ in Gaming available but this is by no means necessary; most people in the industry have not gone down this route, as learning is primarily done ‘on the job’."
What Do Casinos Look For in Prospective Dealers?
A great attitude and friendly personality is essential, as is an ability to work well within a team and think on one's feet. Good grooming, hygiene and an attractive appearance are also highly valued as the job is customer-facing.
Contrary to popular opinion it is not at all necessary to be a maths genius, as the skills required to add up and pay out bets are taught by formula, for example a trainee croupier would learn ‘picture bets’, recognizing what a bet pays out by the pattern it makes on the table. However hard work is required as each trainee must learn their 8, 17 and 35 times tables!
These are incredibly valuable. Croupiers are like entertainers - you need to keep gamblers involved and engaged while also handling all the action effortlessly. As a large amount of players will end up losing, it's important for the croupier to make the experience fun for the punter.
Bad losers will blame "poor" dealers for a losing bet and it can be easy to be thrown off concentration. Experienced gamblers will look out for weak dealers who can be easily confused and lose focus. Therefore, a calm approach to resolutions is important, just as it is when dealing with what may be a genuine mistake.
A value well-regarded by casino employers. Records must be squeaky clean, with no prior criminal convictions. Financial backgrounds may also be checked.
Did You Know?
- Until 2007, UK dealers weren't allowed to accept tips, but waitresses were.
- Dealers were also banned from visiting other casinos. With new laws in place, that ban has now been lifted.
- The majority of croupiers end up in relationships with other casino workers due to the unusual work patterns.
- Croupiers usually only need to learn one game to get a first job on the ladder. From there they can learn on the job as they go.
- Croupiers on cruise ships can earn higher salaries as their income is often tax-free. Tips may also be higher.
What's the Best Country to be a Dealer In?
It depends on the individual and desired lifestyle. High wages and tips are achievable in London, as they are in Las Vegas, but the appropriate documents are needed to work overseas.
Casinos exist in exotic locations worldwide now, both land-based and on-board cruise ships, but salary packages vary wildly.
Dealers can also work for private parties or specialist companies who hire out dealers to weddings and corporate functions.
Casino Schools or on the Job Training?
I don’t think many schools are a ‘scam’ but, undoubtedly, some are better than others.
Basic ‘entry level’ croupier skills are taught at various schools around the UK. Check organizations like the Nevada's Casino Gaming School (http://www.learntodeal.com/category/courses-pricing).
Prices can vary, but a typical 80-hour training course for potential roulette or blackjack dealers can come in around $300-400.
It's good to check carefully the training school's experience credentials, and also the ratio of students to trainers used. If you have more than seven students to one teacher, the teaching situation isn't optimal.
Some casinos run in-house training schools which are usually of a very high standard, although they may be hard to get accepted onto.
Students will learn all facets of the games, including handling and counting out chips.
"British training schools have a good reputation overall, but a would-be croupier needs to speak to previous students from that school, or ask for recommendations from existing croupiers."
What are the Typical Dealer Working Hours?
Almost all casinos are 24 hours now, certainly all of those in London and surrounding areas, which means that all dealers must work shift patterns to include night shifts and weekend shifts, including Bank Holidays.
For those based in the USA it is a similar situation, with most casinos open continuously. However, there are some casinos that will shut, albeit only for a few hours at a time.
Croupiers may be given fixed days off or casinos may employ a ‘rolling rota’ so that everyone enjoys occasional weekends off.
Information on Becoming a Casino Dealer