A night out at the casino always has the potential to become an epic evening and a story you’ll tell fondly for years. It’s a great way to let loose, toss aside the stresses of a long week, and embrace the freedom of your weekend.
Sometimes, though, when you need the escape the most it’s just not practical to get to a casino. Gambling is still illegal in many U.S. states, so some people would need to drive hours to get the gaming fix they crave. Or, you could just bring the casino to your own comfort zone by hosting your own casino party.
Casino parties have become highly popular. Some people use “casino night” as a fun theme for a special occasion or a “just because” gathering of family and friends.
Other people use it to put together an exciting fundraiser that breaks the monotony of auctions and catered dinners. No matter what the occasion, we have a few tips to help you max out the fun at your casino party:
Tip No. 1: Budget Wisely
We admit it, we’re not exactly starting with the most thrilling tip. But it’s a crucial first step. It’s easy to get caught up in planning a themed party and head down the “going-all-out” wormhole. To avoid getting in over your head, budgeting should be your first step.
Begin by setting a budget that’s manageable. If the party is just a fun occasion, make sure it’s something your finances can handle. If the casino night is intended to be a fundraiser, even though you want it to be an impressive display, remember you’ll need to make all the money you spent on the party before you can begin donating any to charity. Be careful to keep your budget low enough that this is practical.
After you have a budget, make a list of all your expenses and break down a budget for each item. A common mistake planners make is to spend too much on one or two parts of the party, such as the catering or top-shelf liquor. Instead, make sure you know how much you can spend on each expense to stay on budget.
This can be flexible, but make sure you’re compensating along the way. For example, if you planned to spend $1,000 on catering, but you find a menu you love for $1,200, find other places from which you can cut $200 before you commit to the pricy caterer.
Tip No. 2: Embrace the Casino Theme
It’s easy to get caught up in your casino theme, and if you’re sticking to your budget, you should feel free to take it to the next level. Have the event staff dress up in Vegas-style outfits, and really deck out your home or the event space in glitzy Vegas-style, and top it off with some mood lighting.
Let your guests know you’re going all-out on the theme and invite them to embrace the Vegas spirit, too, with cocktail dresses, suits, and other show-stopping evening wear. If you want to take it a step further, try adding a VIP area, where guests can shell out some of their chips, make an extra donation, or even perform a fun task to gain admission.
If you want to get a bit more specific with the theme, you can choose a specific casino or time, too. For instance, Caesars Palace is one of the most popular casinos, and its theme is that of ancient Rome.
Make it a toga party and style up the event space with a Roman aesthetic. Or, make it more of a Great Gatsby-style casino with a “Roaring 20s” theme. Whatever you choose for your theme, keep it consistent and let your guests know so they can dress appropriately.
Tip No. 3: Hire Professionals
This tip has a major caveat: if it fits in your budget. If it does, hiring dealers, bartenders, waitstaff, and caterers who are truly experienced professionals can be the perfect way to give your casino night a truly high-end feel.
Many people in these professions are skilled at making guests feel comfortable, joking with them, and getting them to relax and have a great time, so they’re a great asset for kicking off your party on a good note.
Hiring professionals goes beyond the actual event staff, too, because you should consider renting the tables and equipment you need. Sure, anyone can set up a few card tables for poker and blackjack. But, if you really want to make your guests feel like they’ve been transported to a Vegas resort, it’s worth investing in the real thing.
Some cities have companies that provide a more all-inclusive approach to themed casino nights, and they’ll provide the gaming equipment, experienced personnel, and other important elements.
Tip No. 4: Have a Variety
Different people enjoy different types of casino games, and if you want to make all your guests feel comfortable and able to really enjoy their evening, try to have many options to cater to all tastes. This feeds into an important point: planning your games accordingly.
When you’re trying to decide which games to include and how many tables of each to set up, you should consider the number of guests you expect. You don’t want people to be sitting around waiting a half hour before they can play, but you also don’t want dealers sitting around bored because there are too many games for the crowd.
On top of the guest list, you also need to consider how much space you have. It might be great to have two craps tables, six blackjack tables, three roulette wheels, and a row of slot machines, but, if you only have 1,000 square feet to work with, it’ll be too cramped for comfort. Remember, your guests will need plenty of space to walk around, socialize, enjoy food and drinks, and simply have enough space to breathe.
Tip No. 5: Plan Your Prizes Well
At many casino parties, guests prefer not to bet with actual money. If your party is a fundraiser, a great option can be to have guests purchase their chips to bet with, and then give away prizes to those who have the most chips at the end of the night.
This way, you still get the allure and the excitement of winning, but you don’t run the ever-present risk of shelling out more money than people bet. Base the number of available prizes on the number of guests you expect. For instance, if you’re planning on 200 guests, only giving away one or two prizes can make the odds so low that your guests won’t be excited to play and win.
Still, the number of prizes should be small enough to be a challenge, too. The same goes for the quality of the prizes: they need to be valued high enough to generate interest, but not so high that they soak up all your funds.
A casino night can be the perfect event to get people together, give them an opportunity to socialize, and have a great time, potentially while raising money for charity in the process. It’s quite an undertaking, but the tips above can help you make it more manageable.