We decided to write about slot machine etiquette after a recent experience that we encountered in a local casino near were we live. Over the years we have seen many different casinos with many different situations . Which one might question regarding the appropriateness of how people act while they are in a casino.We have noticed some very bad behavior of late. It is bothering us so much that we will not be returning to this particular casino. People need to get a life.
In this post we will focus in on etiquette while playing slot machines or waiting to be able to play a particular machine that you might like. We will not be discussing etiquette in general at a casino or etiquette while playing table games. There are some very specific rules for these topics, but that is for another post.
In markets were there is only one casino, the casino floor often becomes very busy. There really is no where else to go nearby. In addition, there are many people who have become regulars, playing at the casino every day for hours on end. We all have our favorite machines that we like to play and these people are no different. In fact they are some times even worse, preferring to play only one machine and sometimes waiting hours to get the machine they want.
The situation we ran into was interesting in that a man wanted a particular machine and made a request to us that if we left the machine, could we let him know so that he could get it. There is absolutely nothing wrong about this request, provided that it is done in a friendly manner and not in anyway intimidating. What he did wrong in our situation was sit on a stool about 5 feet away and stare at us to the point that it made us uncomfortable.
It was as if he was trying to make us leave the machine with his mind. After about 10 minutes there was another tap and he wanted to let us know that he was going to the bar to get a drink and could we hold the machine for him. We had also told him that we would, but we were not leaving the machine for some time. Sitting and staring is definitely bad slot machine etiquette.
Another situation developed later on in the night on another machine we were playing. Someone was literally standing one foot behind us as we played, waiting for our money to run out. They again wanted that machine, but did not know if we were going to put another $20 in the slot machine or leave. I do not want anyone standing too close to me anytime, let alone a stranger in a casino.
We already talked about staring at the person playing. This is a no no, and very uncomfortable. sometimes in this case and the above case were they stand too close, I will just stop playing for awhile and if that does not work , I will turn around and stare at them until they leave.
We have seen two seniors racing to a machine and then fighting over it. This is totally ridiculous and uncalled for. If someone wants a slot machine that bad let them have it. First of all it is not worth it and secondly I think that it is bad karma to fight someone over a machine and besides it is really bad slot machine etiquette.
All of these things usually occur more often on a very busy night when the casino is really crowded and all of the regulars are there as well.
Sometimes you need to go to the bathroom, get a drink , go for a smoke if you smoke or just take a brief break. this is totally normal and expected by other players and the casino. But sometimes people will go to dinner leaving their machine reserved, they will go to the bar and come back 30 minutes later and so on. Generally the casinos do not accept this and will not condone it.
If you suspect this to be happening and you would like the machine, just ask the casino to monitor the slot machine and they will remove the money and reservation token for you. Do not do this on your own. This is equally bad etiquette and just might get you in a spot of trouble.
Players will use coin cups, a napkin or piece of paper on the screen of the slot machine, or leave their jacket on the chair with their slot card in the machine to reserve it. They may leave a small amount of money in the machine as well. Never leave large amounts in a machine and walk away. There are actually people who wander around the casino looking for this type of situation to take advantage of.
Even with all of the above, I often ask the person next to me to keep an eye on the machine and let anyone know who might want to play it that it is reserved. You would be surprised at how many people just do not get it that the machine is reserved when someone’s jacket is on the chair and there is a napkin placed across the scree, even with money in the machine.
During slow times, most casinos will allow you to play multiple machines. If someone requests one of the machines you are playing you should be willing to give it up with out any concern. During busy times when the casino is crowded and there are limited slot machines available, the general rule held by many casinos, is that you should only play the machine you are sitting in front of.
We have seen players make a request of the casino to allow them to play multiple slot machines with casino approval. The best example we ever saw was Chinese couple with their daughter had reserved eight dollar slot machines. They were playing them all as fast as they could go with the maximum in the machines. The casino agreed to this, roped the area off so people could not get too close and even provided guards to tell onlookers to move along since the family really did not want to be watched.
Lot’s of people leave their players cards in the machine. They tend to forget them, however caution should always be used before you sit down and begin playing or remove the players slot card. We always look to see if there are credits still in the machine and will ask players siting near by if they know whether the machine is reserved or not.
If there is any doubt, move on or ask the casino to monitor the slot machine. There is no reason to ruin your day or vacation by getting into a useless confrontation.
Many people smoke, which we just do not understand due to the health issues. That is another subject all together. Many casinos are beginning to not allow smoking in their casino. It is a much cleaner environment for the employees and the slot machines as well. The cleaning and maintenance bill goes way down when you eliminate smoking. The casino will provide smoking areas for patrons to go for a cigarette. This is perfectly acceptable. They will reserve their slot machine using one of the approaches outlined above. They are usually be back in five minutes or less.
If someone is smoking beside you, I often will request the person to hold the cigarette on the side away from me. If the smoke is bad or they do not cooperate, I just move on to another area of the casino. They are applying bad etiquette, but then I am not going to make an issue out of it. After all they are in a smoking area of the casino and have every right to be there. Most smokers are quite cooperative and some will even put their cigarettes out.
Tipping for drinks while playing the slots has always been a given. You should always tip, usually 50 cents for soft drink and a dollar for an alcoholic drink. If you do, then you will have the waitress around you whenever you are ready for another drink. I have seen people not tip at all which in my opinion is the wrong thing to do. These waitresses and waiters work hard and in most cases do not receive anything more than the minimum wage.
We typically do not tip for payouts. Some people do. However now in most cases it is not necessary. The majority of casinos now use ticket in – ticket out machines. Unless you win a jackpot of more than $1200, you will just take your ticket out and away you go. For jackpots larger than $1200, in the US, you must pay taxes and will receive a tax form for this. If you are not a resident of the US, you will pay the taxes on the spot.
In Canada, there are no taxes on lottery winnings or casino winnings, so no taxes to pay when you win a jackpot at the Canadian casinos.