Tips on Tipping in Las Vegas: Opinion

Tipping can be a touchy subject for a lot of people. Your viewpoint on tips depends on a lot of things, namely where you’re from, your age, your own work history, etc. It’s a practice that is far more common in the United States than places like Australia or China, and in America, especially in big cities and popular tourist destinations. In some cities, though, like Las Vegas, tipping is almost expected.

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       image via http://www.learningvideo.com

Some make the argument that tipping shouldn’t be required, because it allows companies to justify offering a lower wage to their employees. Tipping is practiced in service-based jobs, like with bartenders, waiters, and taxi drivers, where salaries usually hover around the minimum-wage mark. When a customer or a guest tips someone in these positions, it allows them to supplement their income in a meaningful way. However, until the issue of a living wage is finally settled, tipping will remain a part of our culture. But no matter your feelings on the practice, tipping should be regarded a personal choice, and an act of generosity.

Service-based jobs on the Strip that might warrant a tip:

  • Servers
  • Bartenders
  • Casino hosts
  • Valet
  • Bellhops
  • Uber/taxi drivers
  • Maids
  • Shoe shiners
  • Front Desk agents
  • Anyone who goes above and beyond what you might consider their standard job duties to help you.

Of course, this is not prescriptive. You can tip anyone you like, and anyone you feel deserves a little something extra for a job well done. It’s a common practice to tip your dealer if you’re playing at one of the tables as well, even though they aren’t really “serving” you. My only point is that you don’t need to tip everyone you meet. For example, you don’t need to tip a cashier for giving you directions or for being pleasant during your encounter with them. That is part of their job, and their job is not considered “service-based”.

Non “service-based” jobs on the Strip (where tipping is either not allowed or not encouraged):

  • Cashiers
  • Electricians
  • Cashiers
  • Janitors
  • Pit bosses
  • Security
  • Pool attendants

There are some instances where employees in these positions are expressly forbidden from taking a tip. For example, when I was a teenager, I worked at one of the hotels on the Strip. I won’t say which one, but I can tell you it was one with a pool. When I was hired, I was told that retail employees were not allowed to take tips from customers. If we were to receive a tip, it had to go into the drawer and be accounted for in our cash-out at the end of the day. My primary post was at a retail shop by said pool, and I noticed that the pool attendants were “encouraging” a 20$ minimum tip to locate chairs during the busiest parts of the pool season (FYI they were hiding chairs in empty cabanas).

All in all, good service warrants a tip.  If you decide you want a leave a few dollars behind for your bellhop or for the extra-helpful waitress, keep in mind the following:

  • Tip in cash if you can. Some places require tips to be pooled and split among staff, and if you include them on a credit/debit transaction, they are counted among a particular employee’s wages. So if you feel someone has gone above and beyond to help you during your stay, tipping them in cash gives them a better chance of being able to keep it.
  • If you’re going to tip, the minimum rate is 15%. You are free to do as you please, of course, but if your intent is to communicate that you appreciate the service, 15% is considered bare minimum. 20% is better. What I’m really saying is – don’t leave a dollar behind on a 50-dollar tab. And really don’t leave it in quarters. Or pennies. That’s almost worse than leaving no tip at all.

What are your thoughts on tipping?

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