You might be a dab hand when it comes to playing online casino games, but visiting a land-based casino is a whole lot different. While live dealer online games offer you a taste of the real deal, there are some rules and expectations around your casino etiquette that you’ll need to bear in mind when you go for the first time. Macau may now be the world’s casino capital, but these rules of casino etiquette apply, wherever you’re gambling. Whether you’re gambling in Macau, the world’s casino capital, Las Vegas, or at one of the UK’s 152 land-based casinos, you should always follow these rules of casino etiquette.
Dress for the occasion

The beauty of playing at online casinos is that you could wear your pyjamas if you wanted to, but the same doesn’t go for land-based casinos. Dressing for the casino isn’t necessarily as straightforward as you might think. While some casinos operate a strict black tie policy, others take a more relaxed approach to the dress codes, permitting smart jeans. Casino CCTV must have a clear view of visitors’ faces, which means hoods and caps are out of the question.Of course, it’s always best to be prepared and familiarise yourself with a casino’s dress code before you arrive.

Leave your phone in your pocket

You’re best keeping your hands off your mobile phone when you’re inside a casino. Certain casinos permit the use of phones in non-gaming areas, though most prohibit photography (mobile phone or otherwise) in any area. Turning your phone off and keeping it inside your bag or pocket is your best bet.

Keep drinks off the table

Most people enjoy a drink or two when they’re playing casino games, but these should be kept clear of the table. A spilt drink could interrupt a game and could damage casino equipment. Instead, you should place your drinks on the side tables that are provided next to seats.

Only sit down if you intend to play

Seats at gambling tables are limited, which means you should only take a seat if you intend to play at that table. Not only does this mean everyone who wants to gamble can do so easily, but it also avoids any confusion when it comes to the croupier collecting bets. Likewise, keep away from the rail on a craps betting table if you aren’t playing — the players need to see it more than you do.

Understand the rules

You don’t need to be a blackjack boff or a poker whizz to have a flutter, but it’s important to have a basic understanding of the game before you take a seat — both to understand the bets your making and to ensure smooth flow of the game. Getting to grips with the rules isn’t just a matter of understanding the aim of the game; in blackjack, for example, you’ll also need to understand the hand signals to make the dealer aware of your next move. You should also be sure to check the minimum and maximum bet limits for a table before you sit down, as your bet won’t be accepted if it doesn’t fall within these limits. All casinos licensed by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) are required to display the rules and house edge of each game on offer on those premises.

Never hand chips to the dealer

Whether you’re exchanging your casino cash chips for those specific to a game, or making your bets on a spin or hand, you should never hand the bets directly to the dealer. If you’re exchanging cash chips for roulette chips, for example, you should place these on the table for the dealer to pick up and place down your new chips. If you’re making a bet, you should simply place your chips in the dedicated space on the table. Be careful to never touch other players’ chips on the table, as this could be interpreted as an attempt at cheating.

Listen to the dealer

It’s the dealer’s job to keep order at the betting table, and they work hard to ensure that games flow smoothly. Whether the dealer is explaining a specific rule to another player or informing you that no more bets are allowed, you should pay attention — you never know when you might hear something useful. It goes without saying that you should abide by the dealer’s instructions both out of respect and to maintain the momentum of whichever game you’re playing.  

Understand Tipping Systems

You’ll need to check the casino’s individual tipping policy before you tip your croupier for their service. Until relatively recently, UK law outlawed tipping at casinos. Thought it is now legal, the UKGC’s Licensing Conditions and Codes of Practice (LCCP) state that casinos may only accept tips where a tronc system is operated. Attempting to tip at a casino that does not operate one of these systems will result in it being returned to you.

Respect other players

Sure, playing casino games is great fun, but it can also be tense – especially for those playing with high stakes. Be respectful that other players might be analysing the strength of their hand or weighing up the risk of their next bet, which means you should keep the noise down when you’re sat around the betting tables. In fact, even if you do strike lucky and land a win, you should try to be reserved in your celebration — especially if it’s come at the cost of another player’s misfortune.

Be gracious in defeat

While there’s an element of skill in some casino games, most come down to chance, which means it’s Lady Luck who decides your fortune. The outcome won’t always be in your favour, but you should always be gracious in accepting any misfortune. Casino games have a house edge, which means that even the safest of so-called ‘safe bets’ can result in a loss. You can go into a casino hoping to get lucky, but gambling responsibly and never betting more than you can afford to lose prevents a loss seeming like the end of the world.

Outrightly accusing the dealer of cheating is a no go — croupiers at UK casinos are highly trained professionals that hold personal functional licenses, which they ’re regularly tested by the UKGC to ensure they’re providing a fair experience. If you do have a genuine concern about a rigged game, you should contact the casino manager.

Ultimately, each casino sets its own rules and codes of practice, and it’s up to players to familiarise themselves with the rules before they play. Of course, gambling laws apply to all land-based casinos, which means you’ll need to be at least 18 to enter and cheating is strictly forbidden. Failure to comply with rules, be that laws or a casino’s own terms, will result in you being asked to leave the premises.