Premium players, known as high rollers in the gaming industry, are worth as much as 40% of the gross gaming revenue in Las Vegas. That’s why casinos (online and off) spend so much money and effort hiring marketing professionals, known as casino hosts, to retain and recruit high-level players.
Casino hosts pull double-duty, providing personalized guest services and (in a way) working in sales for their casino. Beyond just issuing casino credits and comps, or offering travels reimbursements to VIP players, a good casino host matches a player to his or her ideal gaming property.
This post covers everything about casino hosts, from their duties and responsibilities to compensation and bonus packages.
The Job of a Casino Host
Casino hosts are salaried employees whose job is to meet the needs of casino guests. The casino host is just that – a host, there to fulfill any requests their players have. Casino hosts dole out complimentary services (known as “comps”) to players based on their spending and overall loyalty. The best casino hosts develop relationships with high-dollar players to keep them coming back and playing, ensuring these guests have a good time and want to come back.
Part marketing professional and part greeter, a good casino host knows the preferences of her customers and does everything in her power to make their stay effortless and enjoyable.
A casino host is there to assist a casino guest. Because hosts are responsible to the casino for their comps and other expenses, it’s the casino host’s job to identify and develop those guests whose bankrolls are worth the effort.
Services Provided by Casino Hosts
Casino hosts are paid by casinos to keep players happy and gambling. To that end, they can procure or provide just about anything a guest can imagine, even (if you believe the rumors) illegal substances. Staying within legal bounds, though, the work of a casino host and a hotel concierge isn’t all that different. Casino hosts can:
- book reservations at restaurants
- get tickets to a show
- arrange for a special room
- offer all number of comps and freebies
Like a concierge, a host’s job depends on her ability to make guests feel welcome and comfortable dropping large amounts of cash.
The ability to dangle the promise of comps and other top-level services is a big part of the casino host’s magic. Casino hosts work subtly as salespeople for the casino. In this case, the products they’re selling are the casino itself and the games of chance on offer. A successful host can entertain a guest enough so that the guest doesn’t realize that the host is encouraging him to gamble more and spend more of his money on casino services.
How Do Gamblers Earn Casino Host Attention?
How do hosts decide which players to form relationships with? All their decisions are guided by numbers.
As much as your host would like you to think that she’s spending time with you because of how good a person you are, that host chose you because of your theoretical loss. A player’s theoretical loss is how much the casino expects you to lose over time. That figure is calculated by comparing the games you play (and their house edge) to your length of play and how much you’re betting per hand.
You don’t necessarily have to be a high-level spender to get attention from a casino host – just a consistent player putting enough cash in a machine or on a gaming table to be worthwhile. For example, if you play blackjack at $25 a hand for an hour, you’re pretty likely to meet a casino host. The same goes for slots fans pushing a couple of grand through the slots in a single sitting – you may not feel like a casino whale, but you’ve just earned the respect of the floor manager.
Casino Host Salary & Bonuses
Now that I’ve outlined the basic responsibilities of the casino host, it’s time to get to the big question: how much do casino hosts make?
Hosts are compensated in two ways –a normal salary and a quarterly or annual bonus. These bonuses are typically based on benchmark goals; amounts of money a host is expected to bring in during a certain period.
Understand that there’s a hierarchy among casino hosts, as in any job. At the bottom of the pile are Junior Hosts, young people learning the job, acting as assistants to the host department. Up one rung are Casino Hosts, who mostly work with low-level qualifying players. Then you have Executive Hosts, Senior Executive Hosts, and at the very top, Player Development Hosts.
According to the popular salary sites Comparably and Glassdoor, the average salary range for casino hosts is wide – $10,000 to $400,000. I guess that this is a function of the wide range of casinos operating in the country, from glorified roadside slot parlors to massive Vegas and Atlantic City resorts. It probably also reflects a variety of requirements. I would imagine the guy making $10,000 a year is only working part-time, for example.
I looked up ten casino host job openings at casinos around the country, and this is what I found:
- The average salary in these casino host job postings is $59,500.
- Casinos hiring hosts are looking for at least 5 years of experience.
- Annual/quarterly bonuses are always mentioned in ads, but a dollar amount isn’t given.
- All ten job postings offered full benefits including health insurance.
Don’t forget, casino hosts also earn tips. I can’t find any reliable information about how much they earn in gratuities from guests, but it does add to their take-home pay.
How to Get a Job as a Casino Host
There’s no special school or training program that produces casino hosts. Work in this field requires exposure to the industry, years of work in various service departments, and personal connections to hiring managers.
A typical path to a job as a casino host goes like this – a young person gets a job in beverage service and spends a year or two working face-to-face customer service. They catch the eye of someone on the hotel side, who hires them and trains them for low-level hotel management. After a year or two of working on that side of the business, a host position opens up at the casino. Since this person is already pretty well-known at the casino, their odds of getting the job are good.
I wrote that little narrative to highlight how insular jobs in casino management can be. Working as a host requires intimate knowledge of a wide array of customer service procedures, all bespoke to the property where they work. It also requires customer service skills above and beyond what a typical cashier would need.
For all those reasons, getting a job as a casino host is much easier if you’ve put in the years grinding it out helping customers. It’s one of the last industries where a person can work their way up from slinging cocktails to running an entire department, all without a college education.
I’ve known casino hosts who started their careers as table game dealers, others who worked in sales or marketing for casinos, and found themselves drawn to the people-first field of hosting. The pathways into the field are varied, but everyone that I’m familiar with starts with some sort of casino or hotel-related job.
Conclusion – How Much Do Casino Hosts Make?
Casino host salaries are competitive, as is access to the highest-value casino guests. The country’s top casino hosts are probably nearly as wealthy as the guests they cater to, earning top salaries and massive bonuses. At the other end of the scale are the work-a-day hosts in smaller venues, who earn a more modest salary, but likely have a lower cost of living to contend with.
Working as a casino host requires experience in the gambling industry as well as superhero personal relations skills, a strong memory, and a head for sales. While it can be lucrative, hosts face long hours, constant competition, and the whims of an ever-shifting economy. Casino hosts can make or break a valuable guest’s stay, and a host’s ability to do that consistently determines her value to her boss, which determines her compensation.