Interview With An Executive Casino Host
If you are new to the gambling world, a Casino Host is basically someone employed by the Casino to take care of and deliver various services to gamblers in order to please them and ensure they become regular patrons.
We often receive a lot of questions about casino hosts: how do I get one? How much gambling is expected to be considered a high roller? How much should I tip my host etc…
We talked to a host who works in a major strip casino and she was kind enough to sit down with us and answer some of your questions regarding the job.
Note that, for privacy reasons due to her job that we can understand, she spoke on condition of anonymity so we will not mention where she works but it is one of the major casinos on the strip.
LasVegasJaunt: In a few words how would you define a Casino Host?
Casino Host: A Casino Host will usually try their best to please patrons of their casino and to fulfill any reasonable requests their customers might have. The casino host has the power to issue complimentary services (or “comps”) to players. Comps can range from complimentary meals, beverages, and show tickets right up to full accommodation in the hotel. A Casino Host develops a relationship with every level of gambler, from first-timers playing quarter slot machines to multimillion-dollar gamblers (a high roller).
LVJ: Could you talk about your professional path that led to your position today? Or more generally how can one become a host? What schooling is needed to become one? What type of training do hosts get?
C.H.: I started working in the casino as a beverage server. Several years later, I moved to the hotel as a manager. I worked very closely with casino hosts managing their guest reservations. After a while, I decided to apply for the host position. I was very well known in the casino and the manager hired me right away. There really isn’t any schooling one can get to prepare for the job. It’s more important to provide great customer service.
LVJ: As a player, how do i get assigned a Casino host? What would be the minimum amount to gamble a day to get noticed by a host?
C.H.: Every casino has their “criteria” to get assigned a casino host. Normally if a person plays slots for several hours a day during their trip, they would get a casino host. The table game amounts really range from casino to casino.
LVJ: As far as how casinos categorize players, is there such a thing as gambling range or minimums that could define a low roller, medium, and high roller?
C.H.: Definitely. A person who plays $5 a hand on blackjack for 30 minutes would not get assigned a host. They would need to play $200 a hand for at least 2 hours to receive a host. Same for slots, if a person puts $20 in a machine they will not receive a host. At my casino a low roller for table games would be a $25 bet on a table for 30 minutes. Medium would be $250 bet for two hours, and high would be $500 a hand for 4 hours. Slots low roller would be $100 spent in 30 minutes. Medium would be $500 spent over several hours and high would be $2,000 spent each gaming day.
LVJ: Could you explain to us what “ADT” refers to and how do you estimate the amount of comps that a player can get?
C.H.: ADT is Average Daily Theoretical. That is a number calculated not on how much money you win or lose, it’s calculated by how much money you cycle through the system. So for instance, if you put $100 in a machine and you win some money, then put more back in, then win some, the computer gives us a number at the end of your session and that number is your average. Each casino is different but hosts can comp up to a certain amount of that number.
LVJ: Regarding the calculation of comps, what are the differences between slots and table games, and how does that affect the amount of comps one player can expect?
C.H.: At my casino for tables we comp based on theo and loss, but it is very hard to earn a high theo on tables. We comp a lot more on slots. It’s very easy to have a higher average playing slots. Partly because the games on tables are somewhat controlled by the customer. The customers can pick or choose what cards they want to keep or throw away. Slots are completely random, so the casino has the advantage.
LVJ: How do you get paid? Is there some kind of commission based on a percent of what your guest spends, a one-time payment for the guest showing up?…
C.H.: Hosts are either compensated quarterly or yearly. At the beginning of the year or quarter hosts are given a benchmark, a number that represents how much money they need to bring into the casino for that time period. If a host meets their goal they will receive a bonus. Casino hosts are also paid a yearly salary.
LVJ: Is there such a thing as competition between hosts working for the same property i.e. trying to get the biggest gamblers assigned to them for bigger commissions/tips?
C.H.: Yes most hosts are extremely competitive!
LVJ: People are sometimes confused on how much they should tip or take care of their Casino host. What do you think are the good practices on that matter?
C.H.: I think it’s very nice when people want to tip, but a host should never “expect” it. We are paid a nice salary, so anything extra is just that….extra.
LVJ: What is the difference between an “Executive Casino Host” and a “Casino Host”? One of our readers heard that an Executive Casino Host is for a higher player and can comp more freely than a Casino Host?
C.H.: An Executive host does have higher players, and the comping ability is higher as well. That is correct.
LVJ: With the trend towards automation of comps (I.e the recent changes in comping drinks at the bars with tickets for video poker play) do you feel your job is on the way out for all but high rollers?
C.H.: No because there are a range of casino hosts and a range of players. The first position starting out in the host department is a junior host. They act as an assistant to the department and can make room reservations for guests or issue food comps. They will often help with Special Events while learning the in’s and out’s of being a host. Once they are officially promoted to casino host they will have the title “Casino Host”, and they will take care of the lowest qualified players. Notice I said qualified. Not everyone plays enough to receive a casino host. Then there are the Executive Casino Hosts. They have the next level of players. Then there are Senior Executive Casino hosts who have the next level players and finally there are Player Development Hosts who have the highest level players in the casino. If there is a celebrity guest that plays at a casino, they will often be assigned directly to the General Manager of the casino and not a host. Not every casino has 4 levels of hosts but the bigger ones will.
LVJ: Is it better to email or call our host?
C.H.: It depends on the host and the guest. I always tell my guest to contact me in whatever format they are comfortable with. A host should adapt to what the guest wants.
LVJ: What are the most difficult requests you have had, and the weirdest requests?
C.H.: The most difficult request was to book 20 rooms for a birthday and half the guests didn‘t play much but the main guest was a huge gambler. He wanted all the charges on all the rooms comped. That was a difficult conversation….
The weirdest request I had was to put up a Christmas tree in my guest’s room before they arrived on Christmas eve. I had been off for several days due to the holiday and wasn’t due to come back to work until Christmas night. Plus I lived 45 minutes away from work!
LVJ: What is the biggest comp you have provided to a guest?
C.H.: The biggest comp was a $100,000 bill the guest earned but he spent $10,000,000 so that was no problem!!
If you have more questions about the job of a casino host or your relationship with them as a patron, please write them in the comment section below and we’ll try to do another interview soon!