Cage Definition

Casino Cage - Cashier

by Jesse Knight


Casino Cage
Cage - The casino cashier.

The “cage” is a commonly used nickname for the casino cashier. You may also hear it called the “cash cage.” Its primary purpose is to provide customers with an outlet where they can exchange cash for chips while they play, and where they can cash in their chips when they are finished with their gaming session. While this is the main function of the cage, other services are also provided there.

In most casinos, the cashier physically resembles a cage. It generally will have bars surrounding the entire area which is accessible to the public. Customers wait in queue to engage in transactions with the cashier on the other side of the bars. Each cashier is stationed at a window, similar to the way tellers would be stationed at a bank window. The customer must complete his transaction with the cashier in this highly secure environment. This is meant to protect the casino and the cage employees from a robbery, should anyone be crazy enough to try it.

Surrounding the cashier with bars does prevent robberies. It keeps a potential robber from reaching into the cage area or getting their hands on any casino employee who works inside of the cage. This in itself can foil a robbery attempt. It also creates a physical separation between customer and employee which is vital to surveillance, security, or any other department responsible for monitoring cage transactions. Perhaps more important than the degree of physical protection “the cage” provides to the casino and its employees, a deterrence factor. The bars make it obvious to criminals that the casino is very, very serious about protecting both its money and its employees, as well as providing customers with a safe environment for high money transactions.

Casinos need to be very sensitive about the integrity of the financial transactions which take place at the cage. They make much of their profit from very high rollers called “whales.” These whales come from all walks of life, and hail from all over the world. They are celebrities, athletes, politicians, businessmen, and the idle rich, but they all have something in common: they can all lose millions, or even tens of millions of dollars in a gambling session. These people require protection when they gamble, and the casino is determined to provide them with it. Having a secure and safe cash cage is an essential part of this.

Lining the cage with bars also serves a more benign purpose. It allows customers to tell where the cashier is from just a quick scan of the casino. Many casinos are very large, and have a plethora of booths, windows, and desks on the gaming floor. Players need to be able to recognize where the cashier is without having to search, or to stop and ask at every booth. Customers know that if the window has bars surrounding it, it is a cashier, and if it does not, it is likely just some other kind of window.

Most casinos have one primary cashier. This is called “the main cage,” or the “main cash cage.” It is usually located somewhere near the pit, about half-way from either end of the casino. If the casino is large enough, it will also have one or more auxiliary cashiers. These are sometimes referred to as “satellites.” Don’t confuse this with the satellites that are offered in a poker room prior to a tournament, as the two have nothing to do with each other. These satellite cages are laid out in a similar manner to the main cage. They are usually surrounded by bars, so that the cashiers are protected to a degree from the customers. There are, however, several differences you should be aware of.

First of all, the main cage is almost always against a wall that may or may not open to the back of the house. By contrast, satellite cages are sometimes embedded into the wall, but can also be free standing booths in the middle of the casino floor. The main cage is a full service cashier, which typically will handle all types of transactions, while satellite cash cages provide a more limited scope of services. You may not be able to use the satellite cage for transactions involving credit, certain types of chips or other gaming instruments, check cashing, or anything other than basic slot, chip, or change transactions. The casino may require you to go to the main cage for more exotic transactions. Safety deposit boxes are almost always located within the main cage or surrounding area. Additionally, certain types of gaming may have their own specialized cashier, and its use may be required instead of either the main cash cage or a satellite. Gaming departments that often have their own required cashier on site include poker, keno, and bingo.

Usage: Main Cage, Satellite Cage, Cash Cage, Cage Cashier

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