Playing slot machines at a landbased casino is not all about winning or losing, it is also about enjoying your stay there. This would be mission impossible if players did not comply with certain rules of conduct.
We know what you are thinking – etiquette is important but only at the tables. While it is true slot machines offer a less socially interactive experience, it is still important for you to adhere to etiquette.
This will prevent you from interfering with fellow players’ interests and make your spinning sessions all the more enjoyable and hassle-free.
In this article, we lay down eight etiquette rules that all reel spinners should abide by when playing landbased slot machines. Stick to these tips and you will not end up being frowned upon by fellow players and floor personnel.
Etiquette Rules when Playing in Landbased Casinos
1If You Sit at a Slot Machine, Play It
In landbased casinos, there is usually a single seat at each slot machine. You should not occupy a seat unless you intend to play the respective game. This practice is frowned upon by members of the floor personnel because it prevents the machine from generating profit for the house. More importantly, it hinders other customers from trying their luck at the slot and possibly bagging a nice payout.
The same applies if you visit the floor with friends and one of them is playing a slot game while you are not. Instead of taking the seat at the unoccupied machine next to your friend’s, we recommend you stand behind them.
This will be a clear signal for other casino visitors that you have no intention of playing the neighboring slot. If your legs grow weary, the best course of action would be to relax at the casino’s lobby bar or buffet.
2Don't Be Stingy, Tip the Floor Attendants and Cocktail Servers
Some casino floor rookies assume tipping is a practice adopted only at the live tables. However, slot players are also recommended to hand out gratuities on certain occasions. Small slot wins are automatically credited to the player’s current balance but this is not the case when one hits a bigger jackpot.
Large wins are normally hand-paid by a floor attendant. While tipping the person who pays you is by no means obligatory, it is recommended. Like table dealers, slot floor attendants often work for minimum wages and are more than grateful when you tip.
The question arises how much of your big win should you give away. Well, it all depends on how generous you are feeling and how much you have won.
But what if you score an even larger win? Such special occasions sometimes call for the involvement of several members of the floor personnel, a supervisor, a floor manager, and a security guard. Who should you tip in one such case?
The exact amount is again open to question. Who to tip depends on the policies of the respective gambling operator. Some establishments prohibit members of the security staff from accepting gratuities. It is best to ask in advance if this is allowed.
If it is, you can divide the amount you initially intended to give as a tip between the security guard and the slot attendant. Managers are not reliant on gratuities because they receive larger salaries than other members of the floor personnel. This fact alone prevents the majority of big winners from offering tips for their service.
It is not unheard of for a spinner to give a $50 tip when scoring a $1,500 or $2,000 jackpot, but we have seen players who contribute only $20, $10 or even $5 after a big win. It is all a matter of individual decision.
3Play One Machine at a Time During Busy Hours
There is nothing wrong with betting on multiple slots during off-peak hours when the casino floor is not as saturated with visitors. With that in mind, we would like to warn you it is a breach of etiquette to occupy several machines at the same time during busy hours.
Floor attendance is particularly high during weekends and holidays. It would be selfish to deny other slot mavens the chance to have fun. You better stick to playing a single machine when the floor is crowded.
Some establishments even put up plaques that warn visitors playing multiple slots simultaneously is against their policy. Look around before you start mindlessly hitting the spin button on one game after another. If you see players are waiting in line, give them a chance to join the action and restrict your play to a single machine.
4Clearly Indicate Your Breaks and Keep Them Short
If you enjoy playing longer sessions that last several hours, it is only natural for you to take short breaks to answer nature’s calls, speak on the phone or grab a bite. As you have noticed, we used the collocation “short breaks” and for a very good reason.
It is OK for a spinner to leave their machine for a period of 5 to 15 minutes but any timeframe longer than that is in stark violation of slot etiquette.
Holding a game while you are on a lunch break is out of the question. You better give someone else the chance to play your slot while you take care of your personal business.
With that said, you should also clearly indicate you are holding the machine while on a short break. If you fail to do so, you have no reason to get grumpy with a clueless fellow spinner who has accidentally taken your seat.
Back in the day, when slots were fed coins only, a player would place their coin cup in clear sight on the machine to show others it is not vacant.
Modern machines, however, can gulp down paper money. They print you a ticket with your balance at the end of a spinning session. This calls for the use of a different signal.
The modern machines manufactured by some vendors utilize a waiting-period feature. This deactivates the game so that it remains “locked” for up to 20 minutes.
If this feature is unavailable where you play, you can indicate you are on a short break by leaning your chair against the machine.
Other reasonable options include leaving a piece of clothing on the chair or some other personal item like a pack of cigarettes or your player card. Just make sure you do not leave any valuable items. You risk not finding them upon your return no matter how swift it is.
Provided that a friendly person is playing the machine next to yours, you can ask them to reserve your seat until you come back. Just be sure you return shortly.
Otherwise, your neighbor might end their betting session and leave your machine unattended. Another alternative is to ask a floor attendant to keep your seat for you in exchange for a small tip.
5Keep Your Cool During Losing Streaks
Streaks are an inseparable part of gambling. This goes both for winning and losing streaks, but it is the latter that sting, causing some players to behave far from appropriately. We get it that nobody likes to lose but this is inevitable when you play against the house.
Do your best to keep your temper in check during long dry spells. These are all part of the gameplay. You have no right to throw tantrums and accusations toward the floor staff. Anger will only cause you to act against your better judgment. There is no room for such emotions in gambling.
When you see that luck is smiling upon the player betting on the machine next to yours, do not sulk. Be a good sport and keep the atmosphere friendly. If you find it impossible to stomach losses, you should not have set your foot in a casino in the first place.
6Show Some Courtesy to Non-Smokers
Smoking is allowed within some landbased casinos but there are always exceptions, depending on local legislation. One example is the United Kingdom where legislators outlawed smoking indoors in recreational establishments like restaurants, dance clubs, bars, and casinos.
Make sure you acquaint yourself with the local rules if you are keen both on cigarettes and slots. Even if smoking is not strictly prohibited by law, you should show some courtesy toward non-smokers, especially if they occupy the machines on either of your sides.
Transgressions on behalf of smokers may lead to complaints, and on some occasions, to direct confrontations. The least you can do is not to blow cigarette smoke in the faces of your fellow spinners.
It would be best to navigate to the floor areas that are specifically designated for smokers. Request an ashtray from a server or a floor attendant even if the players around you do smoke. This way, you will not disturb their gaming sessions by reaching across them to flick your cigarette.
7Be Respectful to Fellow Spinners and Members of the Floor Staff
Confrontations between fellow players occur more frequently at the tables where people tend to argue over correct playing decisions. In games like blackjack, it is not unheard of players ganging on a person because they “have caused the entire table to lose with that silly move”.
Slots are a less social type of game but this is not to say reel spinners are immune to disputes. When confrontations occur, they are usually over personal space, nudges on a crowded floor, and spilled beverages.
Try to keep things civilized when another casino visitor pushes you involuntarily. If you have a problem with a fellow spinner, do your best to approach the issue politely and respectfully.
Verbal or physical confrontations will spoil everyone’s experience, including yours. If things escalate out of your control, find a floor attendant and ask them to assist you in resolving the dispute.
On a side note, leave forgotten player cards on top of the machines you find them in. This makes it easier for the person who owns the player card to spot it, sparing them the hassles of having to apply for a new one.
The same goes for your behavior toward members of the floor personnel. Slot attendants and waitresses are human after all. You should treat them as such. You will need their assistance sooner or later, be it with applying for a player card or with a malfunctioning machine. We guarantee you will receive a better service if you approach the personnel politely and with respect.
8Don't Pressure Players into Ending Their Spinning Sessions
When the floor is overcrowded during peak hours, you might end up waiting in line to play your favorite slot machine. Do not pressure the person who currently plays it into ending their gaming session so you can sit down.
Try another machine nearby until yours gets vacated. If you do insist on playing that particular slot, you better respect the other spinner’s personal space and keep your distance.
It is deemed rude to stand right next to a person waiting for them to get up. Another option would be to approach the person and kindly ask them to let you known when they are about to quit.
Similarly, you should not play the same slot for hours if you notice a fellow spinner is itching to test their luck on this game. Denying them the chance to try it is plain selfish.
Unlike table games with complex etiquette like craps, roulette, and blackjack, the rules of conduct for slot machines are easy to remember and follow. Civility, good manners, and respect for other people’s personal space will get you a long way, not to mention they will greatly add to your enjoyment of playing the slots in the authentic environment of a landbased casino.