A casino employee asking for your ID seems like a harmless request. Maybe they just think you look young for your age and want to confirm that you’re old enough to gamble.
If you’re an advantage player (AP), though, such requests aren’t so harmless. Assuming the casino wants identification, they likely feel that you may be cheating or are an AP.
As an advantage gambler, you don’t want casinos knowing your identity. After all, they can restrict you from their property and enter you into a database.
But do you want to know what’s great? You aren’t legally obligated to produce identification for the casino.
This fact is strange when considering that casinos can’t serve underage players and seemingly need access to IDs. But it’s true.
I’m going to discuss more on why gambling venues ask for identification along with the only time that you really need to produce it.
Reasons Why Casinos Want to See Your ID
Most reasons why casino employees want to see identification revolve around suspecting advantage play. Casinos don’t have to serve APs in most states, and they won’t whenever possible.
However, they may have other reasons for requesting ID as well. Below, you can see the main scenarios when you’ll be asked for identification.
The Casino Wants You to Join the VIP Program
The one time where ID requests are harmless is when a casino simply wants you to join their loyalty program.
This situation arises naturally when a pit boss or floor supervisors sees you betting big and/or playing for hours. In this case, they’ll want to retain your loyalty by bringing you into the VIP program.
Of course, loyalty rewards don’t quite make up for the profits you make as an AP. Therefore, you should politely decline the invitation if you’re a successful gambler.
They’re Trying to See If You’re a Known Advantage Player
Pit bosses are trained to spot signs of advantage gambling. Assuming they see one or more of these signs, they may introduce themselves and ask for your ID.
If you’re an AP, you definitely don’t want to give them your identification. As soon as they figure out who you are, they can take one or more of the following actions:
- Further investigate you to find out if you’re an advantage gambler.
- Ban you from their casino for good.
- Enter you into a nationwide or even international database of known APs.
None of these scenarios are good if you’re a profitable player. That said, you should simply tell them that you don’t have an ID on you.
The Casino Wants to Ban You
After watching you play, a pit boss may be extremely certain that you’re a professional gambler. They might follow their intuition and skip straight to banning you from the casino.
Banning refers to when the casino restricts you from their establishments and threatens legal action if you return.
Aside from the rare (and highly illegal) chance that you’ll be beaten up by security, this is the worst thing that can happen an advantage player. You’ll not only be banned from the current casino but also any properties that they own around the world.
They Want to Ensure You’re Not a Known Cheater
I sincerely hope that you’re not a casino cheater. After all, you risk serious legal consequences if caught.
Of course, casinos may explore all possibilities if they see you winning lots of money. Assuming they get a hold of your ID, employees can search databases to check if you are a convicted cheater.
Casinos Only Need to See Your ID When You Win a Jackpot
The one time where you do want to give a casino your identification is if you win a large jackpot. Gambling establishments are required to obtain your ID and fill out paperwork for tax purposes if you win $1,200 or more.
You can still refuse to show identification. However, the casino can’t pay you the jackpot until seeing your ID.
Assuming you truly forget a photo ID, then the casino will photograph you and hold your money at the cashier’s cage. You can return at any time with identification to claim your payout.
But what if you’re an AP who doesn’t want to give up an ID? In this case, you should consider the following thoughts before deciding if claiming the jackpot is worth it:
- Does the casino have reason to suspect that you’re an advantage gambler?
- Should you forgo a smaller jackpot (e.g. just over $1.2k) to conceal your identity?
- Is the jackpot so big (e.g. $100k or more) that it’s worth blowing your cover?
- Should you quit progressive blackjack tables in the future?
Why Does Everybody Think Casinos Have a Right to See IDs?
If you’re a normal casino patron, then you’ll have no problem giving a casino employee your identification. Again, though, you’re making a mistake by showing ID as an AP.
Nevertheless, you may feel like you’re obligated to reveal identification to gambling establishments. You shouldn’t feel stupid in this case, because you’re merely one of many gamblers who believe this is a legal obligation.
The thought that you must show casino identification when asked stems from minimum gambling ages. Gaming venues must enforce the minimum gambling age (e.g. 21 and up) in their specific state or country.
That said, you might believe that giving up your identification is necessary to help casinos follow local laws. The reality, though, is that you don’t have to help them in this matter at all. They can just kick you out if they’re at all concerned that you’re an underage player.
Gaming Laws Don’t Give Casinos Legal Rights to Your Identification
Many states have “stop and identify” laws that require you to produce ID when an officer of the law requests it. If you refuse to show identification, then the officer(s) can arrest you.
Casino employees are not law enforcement and can’t legally make you produce identification. They’re lying if they tell you otherwise.
Gambling establishments can detain you and call police if they have a valid reason to do so. In this case, the arresting officer(s) will identify you either at the casino or at the station.
A casino could also call police if without detaining you. In this scenario, the officer can stop you anywhere on or off the property and ask for identification.
Long story short, law enforcement has a right to see your ID. Casino employees, on the other hand, don’t possess this authority.
Casinos Will Try Coercing You
Pit bosses and other employees don’t read off your legal rights when requesting identification. Instead, they’ll simply say something like, “Can I see your ID?”
Many rookie advantage gamblers quickly crumble and produce identification. You, however, don’t want to fall into this trap.
Your first line of defense should be to tell them that you’re not currently carrying an ID. They’ll likely press you again on the matter.
At this point, you can tell them that you forgot to grab your identification on the way out the door. The employee will tell you that they need to see ID before allowing you to keep playing.
You can continue refusing their requests. Eventually, they’ll probably kick you out of the casino.
The bad news is that you have to halt your advantage play at that point. The good news, though, is that you can always return to the same casino with a different look (e.g. long beard) and play again. After all, they won’t have your information on file and in a database.
The thought that you must show casinos your ID when requested is a myth. Gambling venues can’t legally force you to reveal identification unless backed by an officer of the law.
Of course, this small matter doesn’t stop casinos from asking for your ID. They often want identification if they suspect that you’re a cheater or AP.
Assuming you’re a professional player, the last thing you want to do is comply with their ID request. Doing so will put you into a database that allows other casinos to identify you as an AP.
You can continue refusing the casino’s request for identification all day. The worst they can do is throw you out and warn you not to come back.
But if they don’t have an ID on file, they’ll have to visually remember you. If you change up your appearance, then you might be able to keep playing at the same casino later on.
The only situations where you should show an ID is if you’re either joining the VIP program or claiming a jackpot. In all other scenarios, you should deny their request and let them kick you out (temporarily).