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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