The wheels of Las Vegas are greased with gratuities. There are ample opportunities to tip those charged with making your stay an unforgettable experience. But when and how much should one tip? Here are some guidelines we find useful.
For many, taxi drivers are the first Las Vegas residents they encounter on their visit. Thousands of trips to and from the airport are made each day, and more are made between hotels and Las Vegas’ many sightseeing opportunities. The standard tip for cab drivers is 15 percent. If a driver is especially helpful, perhaps helping with an especially heavy piece of luggage or giving you insider tips on the loosest slots, 20 percent is fair.
Bellmen and Bell Captains
These are the gracious folks who welcome you to your hotel, transporting your belongings to your room so you can have your hands free to drop a few quarters into the slot machines on the way to your room. A tip of $2 per bag, or $5 for three to five bags, is about right.
Valet Parking Attendants
Most Las Vegas hotels offer free self-parking, but free valet parking is an easy alternative to going it alone. A tip of $1-2 is a good guideline for valets (some would say $2 is the new $1 tip for valets). Want your car parked up front, or just in the pick-up area for fast retrieval? We hear $20 on the way in does the trick. Actual results may vary.
Cocktail waitresses are the unsung heroes of the casinos. A friendly, polite waitress who keeps the beverages can make your visit a sheer pleasure. It’s standard to tip $1 per drink. Yes, even if you’re playing on the nickel slots!
Dealers rely on tips, also known as “tokes” in Las Vegas, to pay the bills.
It’s a well-known fact that generously tipping dealers can not only show your appreciation for their assistance, but can also result in benefits not immediately obvious. For example, if you’re playing craps, tipping dealers can result in being bumped up in your level of comps by the pit boss.
You can tip dealers directly, or place a bet for your dealer to increase their possible tip. Despite what some players think, dealers are actually rooting for players, not the house. It’s simple economics. When players win, they tip more.
There’s no limit to what you can tip dealers. An occasional $1 bet with your blackjack hand, or $2 tip on the pass line in craps, goes a long way toward keeping your dealer happy and helpful.
Slot and Bingo Attendants
If you get lucky on your slot machine, it’s a thoughtful touch to tip the attendant. Tips of 5-10 percent of your winnings is a good idea. If you win a big jackpot, don’t be shy about sharing your good fortune.
If you lose, a $1 tip shows you appreciate the attention paid to your bets. If you win, try an appropriate percentage of your winnings (5-10 percent is a good guideline).
Think about it, how would you like having to clean up after you every day? Tip accordingly. Tipping hotel maids can be done at the end of your stay. A $1-3 a day tip is fine. A note of “thank you” is appreciated as well.
Restaurant and Room Service Servers
The word “tip” is said to stand for the phrase, “To insure promptness.” Assuming that’s the case, ensure it by tipping waiters in Las Vegas as you would waiters anywhere else, or 15 to 20 percent of the tab.
One caveat, however. There are lots of great dining deals in Las Vegas. (They’re known as “loss leaders.” You can still get five course meals for $4.99, and it’s bad form to tip a percentage of that deeply discounted bill. Tip on what you’d expect to pay for the meal in your hometown, or at least $2-3 per person in your party.
Food Servers at Buffets
Waiters and waitresses at Las Vegas buffets are always getting stiffed! The perception is often that because they don’t take your order, they don’t need to be tipped. But buffet wait staff is constantly on the run, taking care of drink refills, removing used plates, taking care of special requests. A tip of at least $1-2 per person in your party is about right, and more if the server has been especially helpful.
The Bottom Line
These are general guidelines. If someone is especially helpful during your stay, let them know with the appropriate gratuity. Stories abound in Vegas about cocktail servers or dealers getting $10,000 tips, but this is extremely rare. When it comes to tipping in Las Vegas, let your conscience be your guide (and if you take a tour, let your conscience be your guide when you tip your guide)!