The Cashiers’ Cage as the Backbone of Casino Operations
Just like a motherboard inside any computerised system, so too is the cashiers’ cage the nerve centre of all the casino operations, from where the most precious commodity that exists in any casino – the money – is overseen.
Besides the machines and tables, the cashiers’ cage is probably the busiest and most frequented outpost at any casino. This well-guarded kiosk is a hub of various day-to-day and shift-by-shift activities and functions.
The cage, in close coordination with the vault, is responsible for the casino bankroll and holds custodianship of all internal transactions. Daily, the casino cage processes and safekeeps sums of money that, at times, can exceed millions of dollars, especially when high-roller transactions are performed.
What is a Casino Cage?
To simplify how a cage works, it should be noted that all transactions that involve hard cash, chips, IOU notes (customer casino markers), safekeeping funds and customer front money flows form a continuous cycle. As a result, correct procedures with regards to recordkeeping and adherence to strict internal controls are necessary to ensure the safety of the bankroll.
Some of the not so apparent actions performed by a casino cage include issuing credits to table games when requested, disclosing customer credit status information, and formulating a master game report that details financing tabulations of game activities. The cage also keeps the casino supervisors informed with relevant information required to run operations smoothly.
Naturally, the cage deals with countless customer transactions daily. Front-line cage cashiers handle chip exchanges for cash. They also cash payroll, personal and travellers’ cheques, as well as handle client front-money transactions, promotional coupons, customer marker payments and general enquiries.
The Job of a Cage Cashier
The primary role of a cage cashier is to exchange casino chips for money. Should the number of chips be high, the cashier is sometimes required to notify a supervisor who will verify the payment before the money gets handed over to the client.
All transactions need to be handled diligently and with the highest level of attention to detail, to prevent either the client or the casino from losing out on any money owed to them. Basic math skill and quick thinking are a must, along with an astute problem-solving ability.
To save time and avoid errors, all coins are processed through a coin sorting machine, and the displayed amount is then transferred to the client. Daily paperwork required at the end of each shift includes balancing invoices and books. Also, cashing in tips of fellow employees is done towards shift ends, while internal gambler checks are sometimes required before new credit applications are authorised.
Due to high client traffic, cashiers need to have superb people skills, that include the ability to defuse hostile situations that often involve dealing with intoxicated clients. Cashiers always need to fall back on the stringent rules and regulations that govern the casino industry and call upon these when the situation requires.
Keeping the Cage Safe
The cage derives its name from the bars, plexiglass or shatterproof windows that protect it from external risks, such as robbery. Psychologically, cages are almost always housed at the rear of a casino, which is a natural deterrent to would-be thieves, since the nearest exit point is some distance away.
A small casino will often have two to three customer windows and an added window to service casino and employee requests. Larger casinos, on the other hand, will have many service windows and some large casino resorts can have two or three cages.
With the advent of new technologies, more and more casinos have adopted coinless slots machines, which has made the work of cashiers much easier. These machines use cards that can be individually topped up and can refund any money on the card when the player leaves.
The casino cage and the cashiers perform a critical role at any casino. Always remember to be courteous and professional when dealing with the cage to avoid any problems. Remember, whenever you visit a casino, always adhere to the rules of the establishment so that everyone can have an enjoyable experience.