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How Much Money Does a Casino Keep on Hand?

las vegas casinoWhether you’re setting up the next big casino heist or just want to know that you’ll be paid when you hit that million dollar jackpot, “How much cash does a casino keep in its vault?” is the burning question (don’t forget to check out our Casino FAQ while you are here).

The best way I’ve ever heard it explained comes from the movie Ocean’s Eleven, a terrific movie about 11 guys who conspire to rob a Las Vegas casino.

In this scene, Danny Ocean (played by George Clooney) is pitching the group on why they should rob a particular casino. This is what he says about how much money is in the casino.

“The Nevada Gaming Commission stipulates that a casino must hold in reserve enough cash to cover every chip in play on its floor. That means on a weekday, by law, it has to carry anywhere between $60 and $70 million in cash and coin. On the weekend, between 80 and 90 million. On a fight night, like the one 2 weeks from tonight, the night we’re gonna rob it… $150 million, without breaking a sweat”

That sounds great and all, but is it true? I went digging and sure enough, it is. This is from the Nevada Gaming Commission’s website. You can read the entire document there.

(m) “Reserve” means a restricted account consisting of approved funding sources used exclusively to satisfy periodic payments of prizes arising from all gaming or promotional activity conducted in Nevada, and includes any existing funding methods previously approved by the board or commission. The reserve shall not be less than the sum of the following:
(1) The present value of the aggregate remaining balances owed on all prizes awarded to patrons who are receiving periodic payments. For balances previously funded using U.S. Treasury securities, the discount rate on the date of funding shall be used for calculating the present value of the reserve.
(2) An amount sufficient to pay the single cash payments offered in conjunction with qualified prize options for prizes previously awarded for which elections have not been made by the patrons;
(3) An amount sufficient to fully fund the present value of all prizes currently on public display for which periodic payments are offered;
(4) If cash is used as the approved funding source, an amount equal to satisfy the current liabilities to all patrons receiving periodic payments due and payable within 12 months; and
(5) Any additional amounts administratively required by the chairman.

What does all that legal mumbo-jumbo mean? It basically says that the casino must keep in reserve, not only every chip in play on the floor, but the total amount advertised on all slot machines and all the payments that the casino owes to previous winners.

I would say (conservatively) that even small casinos have $20 million or so on hand at any given time. That’s a lot of dough!

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How Much Money do Casinos Make in a Day?

casinoIf you combine the U.S. theatrical movie industry profits ($10.9 billion) and the recorded music industry profit ($7 billion) it’s still less than the profit made by casinos. According to the American Gaming Association, the average yearly gross in the casino market is around $40 billion.

As such, casino vaults are stacked with money. That is for sure. You probably wonder how much does a casino make in a day? Well, this we cannot know for sure. Not unless we get an access to some of their revenue calculations, which unfortunately, are hard to access online.

Knowing that the whole casino industry makes around $40 billion a year is not enough to tell how much a specific casino makes in a day.

However, roughly calculating, the University of Las Vegas came to a conclusion that an average income of a Las Vegas Strip Casino is about $630,000 a day. This is when talking about a land-based casino and Las Vegas casino vaults to be exact.

Which Casino in Las Vegas Earns the Most Money?

Surprisingly, the most profitable casino in Las Vegas isn’t located centrally – it’s sitting just at the far end of The Strip. It’s the Wynn Resorts Casino leaving Bellagio, Venetian and Palazzo, MGM Grand and Mirage behind.

Online Casino Vaults

Let’s take a look at online casinos. Their casino vaults are virtual ones, nonetheless, they are full of virtual money. When talking about how much money do online casinos make in a day, the answer is going to vary depending on the website.

The calculations are average and can only be speculated.

The market size of an online casino is between $40 billion and $50 billion a year. This equals to roughly $4 billion a month.

We could take that number and divide it by the number of online casinos in operation. This way we could find out how much money is in a casino vault at the end of the day or month (virtual vault, of course).

That would be a very inadequate calculation, however, it is a starting point.

The next step would be taking a look at the online casino directory, which is the CasinoCity. Here, the number of online casinos averages at about 4000. Let’s say it’s a number close to reality. Now we take $4 billion, divide it by 4000 and we get $1 million.

That doesn’t mean each of those 4000 casinos makes $1 million a month.

Let’s apply the Pareto principle here and assume the top 20% of those casinos make 80% of the profits.

Such calculation gives us a result of around 800 casinos generating the bigger part of this money, and 3200 online casinos not making that much a month.

Anyway, assuming that $1 million is the number, we need to subtract the costs of operating, such as software, affiliate commissions and other costs. That will leave you with around half a million dollars in profit per month.

Divide that by 30 days of a month, and we get around $166000 of profit a day. We can assume that is an average of how much money do online casinos make a day.

How Much Should You Bring to a Casino?

moneyThe amount of the money you should bring to the casino, firstly (and most importantly) depends on your financial possibilities. If you don’t earn that much, obviously you shouldn’t spend money carelessly at a casino.

If you are a low roller, the right amount of money to bring to a casino would be around $50. It’s enough to enjoy the games and possibly grab some nice winnings.

If you are a high roller and are hoping for big wins, the amount of money you bring with you to the casino should be relatively bigger. The amount then should be at least around $200.

What’s important, you should also set limits for yourself. This should be done before you head over to the casino. Think about how much you want to win or how much can you allow yourself to lose before you pull out of the game. This will help you to keep things under control once you immerse yourself in the game.

In case you need it, there are cash ATMs inside casinos. Just remember that they will imply an extra charge from the casino as you will be withdrawing money at their premises.

If you are afraid that you could get carried away and all your savings would end up in the casino vault, set a withdrawal limit to your card.

Security of the Cash in a Casino

With such great sums of money, a top security must be in place at all times. Casinos spend a lot of money, time and effort on security. Drawing on the experience of robberies from the past, casinos learn and improve their security systems. Due to the modern technology in place, it is almost impossible to cheat the casino and steal any sum of money from it.

To ensure the money is safe and there is no dodgy business going on with players trying to cheat, steal or scam the casino, security measures are taken starting at the floor of the casinos.

Dealers have a very good overlook on whatever is going on at their table. Anyone trying any tricks such as switching cards or dices will be very easily spotted.

Then there are the pit bosses whose job is to keep an eye on a few table games. Not only do they monitor if the players are fair, they also need to ensure all proper procedures are followed and the payouts are handed out correctly.

To help the security, all casinos have multiple cameras pointed at literally every spot on the floor and every single table. The surveillance staff can’t possibly follow each camera at the same time. However, the videos from each camera are kept for later viewing. And when you are at the table, you can never be sure if you are being watched at that moment.

Players are not allowed to use their own cameras at the casinos. In fact, the cameras are never allowed in a casino unless someone wins a big jackpot.

Casino Vaults – the Most Guarded Part of a Casino

casino vaultYou already know how much cash there is in a casino vault. Roughly, of course. Nevertheless, you know that it’s a serious amount of money. It doesn’t come as a surprise then, that the most guarded place at every casino is its vault.

It is, in fact, a legal obligation of every casino to ensure that the vault is the most protected place at the casino. The vault itself needs to meet a wide variety of criteria as it is the place that stores the greatest amount of cash, valuables and other various assets.

Since there are millions of dollars stored in such chambers, the security measures taken to guard it are some of the most advanced on the planet. The casinos worked on the improvement of the security and developed some systems that are now used also by other institutions, such as banks or governments.

One of the examples is the Non-Obvious Relationship Awareness Software (NORA) which has been developed for casinos and is also used for to check if there is a connection between suspect terrorists, as well as being used as business intelligence for banks, retailers and insurance companies. And so, this is one thing in the casino that you shouldn’t fancy your chances against.

The NORA software is used to do background checks on any suspicion player present at the casino. It can, for example, check if the person has visited the casino before, stayed at the casino’s hotel and generally can tell you whether the person has a clean slate or not.

However, once you arrive at the casino, the first line of defence of the casino vault are the security guards. They are present at every casino and are on the lookout for any suspicious activity. Some potential robbers may even resign from their plans just by making an eye-contact with one of the guards.

The casino vaults itself need to be extraordinarily secure. It is actually a requirement from the UK Gambling Commission. The Commission implies a set of features that have to be included when it comes to the casino vaults:

  • The locks need to be time delayed.
  • Only a few selected employers have a limited access to the codes.
  • The vault needs to have thick floors and walls.

All vaults need to be secured with the state of art technologies. The type of casino vault will be dictated by the location and size of the casino. Bigger and more profitable casinos need bigger vaults and respectively the smaller ones don’t need huge vaults for keeping their cash.

The casino vaults are not only burglary resistant, they also need to be fire resistant. Imagine a few million dollars set on fire. That would be quite a view, but not so pleasant for the casino.

Don’t forget that the chips used in games are also a form of cash. Many robbers try to steal chips instead of stealing the actual money. Each of the chips is tracked in order to ensure their protection.  This prevents them being taken and used at another casino, for example. As well as preventing robbers from selling the chips on the street or trying to return to the same casino and exchanging them for cash.

Some of the chips with a higher denomination are marked with RFID chips which need to be scanned before they can be traded back for cash.

As you can see, casinos take all measures necessary to keep their money in their vaults and not to encounter any robberies. Learning from the past experiences when such robberies occurred, the security could have been improved drastically.


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