Guidelines for tipping in Las Vegas
Because about a third of the resident population of Las Vegas are service providers in the tourist industry, there is no scarcity of people to tip. From the day you arrive until the day you depart, you will be interacting with porters, cabbies, valet-parking attendants, bellhops, waiters, maître d’s, dealers, bartenders, keno runners, housekeeping personnel, room service, and others.
Tipping is an issue that makes some travelers very uncomfortable. How much? When? To whom? Not leaving a tip when one is customary makes you feel inexperienced. Not knowing how much to tip makes you feel vulnerable and out of control. Is the tip you normally leave at home appropriate in Las Vegas?
The most important thing to bear in mind is that a tip is not automatic, nor is it an obligation. A tip is a reward for good service. Bad service may negate a tip for you. Here are our guidelines for tipping in Las Vegas:
|PORTERS A dollar a bag|
|CAB DRIVERS A lot depends on service and courtesy. For good service tip $5 or 15–20% of the total fare. If you are asking the cabbie to take you only a block or two, the fare will be small, but your tip should be large ($5) to make up for his wait in line and to partially compensate him for missing a better-paying fare. Add an extra dollar for a lot of luggage handling.|
|VALET PARKING Two dollars is correct if the valet is courteous and demonstrates some hustle. A dollar will do if the service is just OK. Only pay when you take your car out, not when you leave it. Because valet attendants pool their tips, both of the individuals who assist you (coming and going) will be taken care of. If the valet service is jammed, hand over a $10 or $20 to the person who takes your claim ticket and tell him you’d like the car brought up right away. You’ll be moved to the head of the line.|
|BELLMEN When a bellhop greets you at your car with a rolling cart and handles all of your bags, $5 is about right. The more luggage you carry yourself, of course, the less you should tip. Sometimes bellhops who handle only a small bag or two will put on a real performance when showing you your room. We had a bellhop in one hotel walk into our room, crank up the air-conditioner, turn on the TV, open the blinds, flick on the lights, flush the commode, and test the water pressure in the tub. Give us a break. We tipped the same as if he had simply opened the door and put our luggage in the room.|
|WAITERS Whether in a coffee shop, a gourmet room, or ordering from room service, the standard gratuity for acceptable service is 15–20% of the total tab, before sales tax. At a self-serve buffet or brunch, it is customary to leave $3–$5 for the folks who bring your drinks and bus your dishes.|
|COCKTAIL WAITERS AND BARTENDERS Tip by the round. For two people, $1 a round; for more than two people, $2 a round. For a large group, use your judgment: Is everyone drinking beer or is the order long and complicated? In casinos where drinks are sometimes on the house, it is considered good form to tip the server $1 per round.|
|DEALERS AND SLOT ATTENDANTS If you are winning, it is a nice gesture to tip the dealer or place a small bet for him. How much depends on your winnings and on your level of play. With slot attendants, tip when they perform a specific service or you hit a jackpot. In general, unless other services are also rendered, it is not customary to tip change makers or cashiers.|
|KENO RUNNERS Tip if you have a winner or if the runner provides exceptional service. How much to tip will vary with your winnings and level of play.|
|SHOWROOM MAÎTRE D’S, CAPTAINS, AND SERVERS There is more to this than you might expect. If you are planning to take in a show, see our suggestions for tipping in Part 2, Entertainment and Nightlife (see pages 206–207).|
|HOTEL MAIDS On checking out, leave $3–$5 for each day you stayed (more if you’re really messy), providing the service was good.|
For more great tips on how to make your your Las Vegas a great experience check out the Unofficial Guide to Las Vegas.
Picture by Sam Pullara from San Francisco, CA, USA (Flickr) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons