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What It’s Really Like To Work In A Casino In Manila

According to an ex-employee.
PHOTO: istockphoto

I’ve always been curious about the organized chaos of a casino floor. Truthfully, I know very little about what goes on there—I grew up with a protective dad who didn’t even want me to play cards because he didn’t want me to develop a gambling problem (seriously). But what really goes on there? We reached out to someone who used to be in the thick of it.

24-year-old Julia Tolentino* was a slot ambassador for a year.

How much was your monthly income?

On average, I took home P25,000—including tips. My basic salary was P17,000. Depending on the season and on the guests, the lowest amount I took home was around P20,000; the highest was P48,000. The tips are centralized for our department.

We’re not allowed to accept cash and other items from the guests. Some still do, of course—and it’s not a big secret. High rollers tip big, and when I say big, I mean more than P500. Other employees have offered to be a guest’s assistant; some have done it for sex. What happens outside the casino is really beyond anyone’s control. But I don’t recommend doing this because it is illegal, and once you get caught, the consequences are insane—casino security is no joke.

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Do you think you were compensated fairly?

Yes! My job was stressful, but it was pretty easy. For an entry level job, P25,000 (net) is amazing.

What kind of perks did you have as an employee?

Apart from the usual (like health insurance), I also had bonuses on top of our 13th and 14th month pay. I enjoyed hotel discounts, which is normal if you’re in that industry. I also had one free buffet meal every day as well as unlimited drinks and snacks. Because we wore uniforms, the casino’s laundry department was in charge of our dry cleaning so I went to work wearing anything I wanted—they didn’t care as long as I looked presentable in my uniform as soon as I was on duty.

What were the challenges of working in a casino?

Most people in the customer service industry can relate to this: People can be pretty rude. There are also customers who just didn’t understand (or maybe just didn’t respect) boundaries (read: too many perverts). Some guests also had obvious gambling problems, so I had to deal with them, too. There are also people who’d provoke me just because they knew they could. It was exhausting. On top of that, it was difficult to adjust my body clock and to get used to the excessive smoke.

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How do you think this job prepared you for your future career? 

If you can survive a job in the service industry, you can literally do anything. After leaving my job at the casino, I really felt like I could pursue ANYTHING. My experience as a slot ambassador taught me how to deal with the most stressful situations, how to think on my feet, and how to be professional AF at anything I do.  

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