Generally speaking, casino dealers are allowed to gamble, but not in the casino they work at. Depending on company policies, casino dealers may not be allowed to gamble unless they travel to a different city or state.
Because of the nature of the business, casinos have a set of rules designed to protect players, employees, and obviously the business itself.
If there were no rules in terms of how casino employees can or cannot spend their free time outside of work, then the company’s reputation, or image, could be affected in a negative way.
Can casino dealers gamble where they work?
As a dealer who’s worked in a few different casinos, and who’s met dealers from other casinos as well — the answer to this question has always been no. In general, dealers cannot gamble where they work.
That being said, it all depends on the casino. In some cases, casino employees (who don’t deal table games) may be allowed to gamble where they work.
But it does seem to be the exception, and not the rule. I would be surprised to see a casino where, say, blackjack dealers are allowed to play blackjack on their days off.
This is to protect the company’s image and to prevent cheating, although I’m sure there are other reasons as well.
If you were a customer, how would you react if you saw one of the dealers play at the casino they’re employed at?
Besides looking unprofessional, it could easily lead to you (the customer) and the dealer socializing and potentially playing together.
This is a no-no because all dealers must be impartial and treat customers as customers, not friends.
And depending on the rules, socialization outside of work — that is, a dealer and a customer meeting somewhere else — could be illegal.
As for cheating, dealers who already know all the rules and procedures of their casino would definitely be a threat, a much bigger threat compared to a customer who’s just walked in.
Now, why would an employee cheat and potentially lose their job, and risk being prosecuted, just to steal a few chips?
Not very sensible, right? But it does happen, and casinos need to protect the business. Banning dealers from playing at their venue is one of the easiest ways to do so.
If you work in a casino, can your family gamble there?
Again, this totally depends on where you work, so it’s recommended to check in advance.
From what I’ve seen and heard as a dealer, typically a family member would be allowed to play but the dealer must let management know.
The main reason is that a dealer could instruct a family member to play a certain way, so the house edge is lowered, or to simply cheat at one of the games they deal.
Now, could this happen with anyone, not just a family member?
Yes. But it’d be much easier if it was, say, the dealer’s brother.
Should casino dealers be allowed to gamble?
Let’s have a look at all the possible reasons a dealer should (or shouldn’t) be allowed to gamble despite their job.
One one hand, dealers would benefit from playing in other casinos because…
- That makes it easier to learn the games. Especially for a trainee dealer. Each casino game has a lot of rules and sub-rules, and the fastest way to learn them all, in some cases, is not by dealing, but by playing.
- They could learn from their competitors. And if they work as supervisors, or managers, they could make suggestions or implement new offers and promotions based on what they saw in other casinos.
- They would better understand the player’s psychology. And the player’s behavior. For example, a dealer may find out that some player mistakes are more common than others — by gambling at a real table with their own money. Or, they would learn to control their emotions when playing and that would probably improve their dealing as well.
On the other hand, sometimes it’s best not to gamble as a dealer because…
- You don’t want the competitors to earn more money. Let’s say there are three casinos in your city, and you work at one of them. Because you’re not allowed to play where you work, you may end up gambling in the other ones, thus giving money to the competitors.
- It may ruin or negatively affect the company’s image. When we go out with our friends, we’re not the person we are at work. If the players were to see a dealer get drunk, or behave in any way that could look offensive, that could hurt the company’s reputation. Of course, this could happen anywhere. But you don’t want it to happen in a place where players tend to gather.
- What if there is a dispute with other players? For example, what if a dealer plays a poker tournament in a different casino, and wins a player’s chips — and that player is also a customer at the casino they work at? Nothing to worry about, you may think, but if there was a dispute, or a heated argument, that would be bad news.
- Dealers may know how to exploit vulnerabilities. Specifically, vulnerabilities of casino games. Although you wouldn’t expect a casino employee to try and cheat, it does happen, and it could be harder to spot them simply because they know a lot of things the average player isn’t aware of.