In this month’s column
we’re wrapping up our conversation on tipping at Bingo.
I want to thank all the players and workers who took the
time to weigh in on the subject. It is always gratifying
here at the Bingo Bugle when we are able to generate
lively discussion that explores multiple sides of a
gaming issue. I hope you found these letters engaging
and informative. I certainly did! —Aunt Bingo
Dear Aunt Bingo,
As Bingo players here
in Las Vegas for the last 20 plus years, the following
is a breakdown of Bingo costs and tipping.
began here in the ’90s with a choice of $3, $4, $7 and
$9 packets. No extras! This often allowed patrons to
play more than one session per day. Today, Bingo can be
costly—with electronic Bingo at an added fee of $2-$3
depending on the type of electronic chosen and all the
added jackpots, each requiring $l-$2 extra per packet
for validation and the dollar increase of each packet
price. Also, with the increased amount of packets
purchased in the machine and allowed, winning has become
As for tipping, here is a typical
scenario: Player spends $30 for the game. Played and
lost five to six previous games played. Then a $50 win
occurs. Breakdown: $50 win minus $30 cost = $20 net.
With that win, if you give the attendant $1 it’s 5% of
the net win. That’s reality.
The casinos should
compensate their attendants with the profits they make
from Bingo. Bingo for us is our entertainment, and we
tip whatever we can and feel is reasonable. —MD,
Las Vegas, via email
Dear Aunt Bingo,
You were wrong to make the 88-year-old widow, living on
Social Security, feel even worse about her tip after
winning $800. Since she plays at this Bingo hall a lot,
she has probably spent a lot more than she has won. The
agents probably know her and her circumstances. Tipping
is not an obligation; in fact she did not have to tip at
all. Tipping has become a form of extortion and should
not be expected. Other countries do not tip in such
large amounts; some countries do not tip at all.
Tipping is a sore spot with many people. Since most tips
are pooled and divided among all agents, the customer is
contributing to the wealth of some unknown entity who
does not pay the employees enough because their wages
are expected to be paid partly by tips. —A Texas
Player, via email
Dear Aunt Bingo,
am a Bingo agent in Las Vegas and would like to respond
to the $20 tip issue.
First of all, to the person
that said we don’t offer a service to our customers, our
entire job is customer service. We explain the procedure
and our packets, we give advice on the best buy-in for
the customer’s price range, we sell the packets, we
assist on the floor when people need it, we verify their
Bingos and bring them money, and we daub players’ cards
when they have to go to the bathroom. I have also worked
at places where we had to clean up their trash, wash
tables and clean ashtrays between sessions. If that’s
not serving the customer, I don’t know what is.
Bingo agent starts out at minimum wage and on-call until
a full time position becomes available. (This could take
years!) Most rooms have three or four on-call agents
which means the bottom agent may get as few as eight
hours a month. We can’t get another job because we need
to be available for Bingo.
The going rate for a Bingo
tip is 10%. (Waitresses are up to 15-20% now.) That
means if you win $50 a good tip would be $5. We seldom
get that; we are lucky to get 1-3%. If we have a lot of
new players, we often get nothing. Tips are gratuities
and while we rely on them we never expect them and are
grateful for any amount we get. The agent was wrong to
make the winner feel bad about her tip of $20 and
hopefully was reprimanded. Bottom line: If you received
good service its only right to give a tip. A lot of us
in Las Vegas make our living from tips. Imagine how it
would be if players had to go to the cage to get their
own payouts while the game continued.
An added note:
If you are struggling to make ends meet and a $5 tip is
going to break you, maybe you shouldn’t be gambling in
the first place. —Bingo Agent, Las Vegas, via
Dear Aunt Bingo,
I have worked
in the Bingo Department of Las Vegas casinos for most of
my adult life. I don’t have any knowledge about any
other places. Every place that I have worked the Bingo
crew was very grateful for every tip we received whether
big or small.
We realize tipping is optional and
anyone applying pressure on a patron to tip would not be
employed long where I have worked. The Bingo crews make
this look like a fun job and it can be, but you earn
every dollar. We work most of the day on our feet. We
must be exact in our money transactions both in and out.
We perform our duties in a high-pressure environment
while projecting a fun and happy attitude to our
patrons. This is an entertainment business and in LV the
patrons have many places to choose from. We get to know
and love our regular customers and help new people to
figure out what to do so they can enjoy their
experience. The tips we receive enable us to support our
families and maintain our homes. They certainly don’t
make any of us rich.
The bottom line is this…if you
feel good about tipping, please do so and we are
grateful. If you don’t care to tip, don’t. We’ll be glad
you came to our place to play, regardless.
Share your views! Write to Aunt Bingo c/o the Bingo Bugle, P.O. Box 527, Vashon, Washington 98070, or email her at STENGL456@aol.com. Be sure to include your name and address (you can request that your name not be published), as typically she will not include anonymous letters in her columns.