There’s no two ways around it: if you don’t prepare for a casino visit, you can end up losing a lot of money. Preparing properly and keeping a hold on your finances and on your spending during your visit can save you money and heartache, so before you decide to visit, make sure you do a little prep work.
First, plan exactly how much money you’re allowing yourself to spend. There really isn’t an “average” amount for “normal” customers. People from all walks of life and from all financial levels go to casinos. Some spend $100, some spend $20, some spend $4000, and some spend hundreds of thousands without blinking. Set your own limit, and be sure you’re being
Your spending limit should be how much you can lose. Nothing else. Don’t go into the casino trying to anticipate how much you’re going to win, and don’t go banking on what you think you can do with your money—double it, triple it, whatever. Go in expecting to lose all of it, and you’ll either be right or (often) you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Set this limit, withdraw the amount from your bank account, and leave your cards at home. Casinos have conveniently placed ATMs all over in order to better allow people to get more cash and spend more money, so do your best to remove any temptation from the situation. Even if you have great self-control, it’s easy to get caught up in the thrill of betting.
When you go to the casino, scope a little bit. See what games seem to be paying better, and if you plan well enough, you can do research ahead of time to see what games offer the best odds for you. Go for these games to stretch your money further.
Casinos don’t like it when you loiter and don’t play, so if you’re not planning on spending much or you’re just there to watch your buddies play, order a drink or play a couple slots. Slot machines are a good way to get more out of your money, and they’ll keep casino employees from being unhappy with you. Some casinos will give you drinks if you’re playing consistently, and it’s considered appropriate to tip for them—between $2 and $5 is normal.
Taking these expenses into account is necessary. Aside from your bankroll of bettable money, keep in mind how much you expect to spend on drinks and on tipping.
Doing your research before you go to the casino is vital, but it’s not just research about odds and what games you think you’d do best playing. Research which casinos will be better for your skill level. Some casinos cater to high-rollers and expert players, and if you’re an amateur, you’ll stick out like a sore thumb. Get used to smaller, more local casinos with less people of extreme skill, and you’ll be able to place smaller bets, get to know
some of the staff, and learn the ins and outs of what you like to play, how you like to play, and what gets you the best return for your money.
Winning isn’t the goal for plenty of casino-goers. Having some fun and dropping a little money is the usual modus operandi—but you should be prepared if you do win. Large jackpots —usually over $1,999—will require you to sign tax paperwork, and you will have to pay taxes on those winnings. The sweetness of hitting the jackpot may not be diminished, but still be prepared to be able and willing to fill these forms out. Don’t put up a fuss about it, or the casino will simply take that as refusal to sign the paperwork, which will mean refusal of the winnings.