Rules and Etiquette in Canadian Casinos
Canada has 10 provinces and 3 territories which regulate gambling individually since gambling was legalized in 1969 with the introduction of regulated lotteries.
There are many gambling centers and casinos operated by licensed private operators, government gaming commissions and the aboriginal people of the First Nations with most or all of the profits used for charitable and community support projects.
The legal age for gambling in Canada is generally 19 years old and the guest must show a valid government issue ID with a photograph to prove eligibility. Alberta, Manitoba and Quebec permit gambling from the age of 18.
There are many types of legalized gambling options in Canada including video lottery terminals, Bingo halls, casinos, slot machine centers and racetracks. Specific gambling limitations are always posted at the entrance to the establishment that a person wishes to visit.
Most casinos have a non-smoking rule on the premises and this is indicated at the entrance to the casino. However smoking areas are indicated outside the facility for the convenience of smokers.
Casino Dress Code
Casinos in Canada generally require guests to be dressed casually but not to enter the venue wearing beach wear and caps. Most casinos have a coat check facility for the convenience of guests.
Casinos in Canada are not permitted to give players complimentary alcoholic beverages and in British Columbia alcoholic beverages cannot be served on the gaming floor but in restaurants and lounges in the facility. Drunkeness at the tables in a casino is frowned upon and should be avoided.
Rules of Casino Play
Every casino has brochures readily available with rules of play and many casinos will allow the dealers to explain the rules. However dealers do not want to be asked for advice on how to play a game in case the player loses.
Most casinos will offer learning sessions at some time during the day so that dealers are not interrupted during busy games. Players must not hold up a game by expecting pity for a bad hand from the dealer or blame a dealer for bad luck. The dealer is doing a job and providing a service to the customers with all guests treated equally at all times.
Players are expected to wait until the end of a hand to ask for chips to join a game. When cards are dealt face down players must take the cards with one hand only or expect a sharp rebuke and when cards are dealt face up they must not be touched at all.
It is important not to bend the cards or place drinks on them. Players must not touch their bet once a hand has been dealt but must wait until the end of the hand.
Many casino games require players to use hand signals as well as speaking. The hand signals should be learnt before commencing a game especially in Blackjack which requires multiple hand signs. It is impolite and unacceptable to make derogatory comments to other players at the table or to use abusive language.
When a player loses a hand it is polite to place the cards face up next to the bet and not to throw cards down in anger. Players who display rage at losing a game are better off choosing another form of entertainment as nobody can win every time. The decision of the supervisor in any dispute is always final in most casinos.
The bet limits tend to be between $5 and $500 at a table game with the bet limits posted at the table for every player to see. High limit tables are clearly indicated and will often be located in a separate high limit lounge.
Slot machines generally have a betting limit of between 1cent and $5 however there are also slot machines with much higher betting limits and these will often be in a separate area indicating the higher betting limit.
Most casinos color code the chips that are bought at the tables or the cashier’s desk. Usually white or blue chips are $1, red chips are $5, green chips $25 and black chips $100.
The chips can be given to the dealer at the table game to be exchanged for higher denominations before cashing out.
Slot Player Etiquette
Playing on the slots requires consideration for other players even though it is a solitary activity. When the player requires a bathroom break it is customary to leave a personal item on the seat to indicate that the machine is taken and this should be respected.
If a slots attendant holds the machine for a guest it is usual to tip the attendant. Playing on multiple machines at once cannot be done when the casino is busy and often there will be a sign up advising players to use one machine at a time during peak times.
If a player forgets his or her Player’s Card in the slot machine it is customary to place it on the top of the machine so that the guest can come back for it rather than stand in line to have a new card issued.
The gambling industry is part of the service industry making tipping an important part of casino etiquette and should be considered as important as learning the rules of each casino game and adhering to the rules consistently.
Casinos usually allow their gaming floor staff to accept tips from guests and it is to be expected that most casino staff rely on tips to make up what is normally a minimum wage salary. Players in North America should budget around 15% to 20% of their gambling funds for tipping in the casino.
It is expected that slots assistants and cashiers as well as hospitality staff be tipped at least $1 each time that a guest requires assistance or a service such as changing money, buying chips and help at the slot machine.
Guests who make a big win on the slots are expected to give 0.5% to 1% of the win to the slot assistant as a tip. Guests who play table games with live dealers need to use their discretion about the amount to tip the dealer based on the length of time spent at the table and the number of wins.
Casino Guests should avoid handing chips to a dealer as a tip but place them on a table away from their betting area saying that they are for their dealer. Bets for the dealer are usually accepted in Canadian Casinos but the player’s intention should be clearly voiced so there is no confusion.
A player who wins $100 at poker should give between $1 and $5 as a tip to the dealer and this overall principal should be applied in all table games when big wins occur.
Ultimately tipping is purely at the discretion of the casino player and reflects the feeling of well being and enjoyment that each individual experiences whilst visiting a casino.
Friendly, efficient service is in the protocol of every casino and should be rewarded just as poor service should not be. If a guest decides not to tip as a result of dissatisfaction it is a perfectly acceptable way of showing displeasure. It is totally unacceptable for dealers to solicit tips from guests.