BY KELLEY STEAD, LMT. PHOTOGRAPHY BY DAVID MORENO PHOTOGRAPHY
When you become a massage therapist, you immediately realize how many directions your career can go. Some gravitate towards spa life. Others pursue careers in chiropractic offices or working with athletes.
I was twenty-two when I graduated from massage school in the United States– completely broke, in debt, and without a car. I wanted to be a massage therapist because the profession was interesting to me– but I also needed to make money quickly.
So, I answered an ad for a casino massage therapist position. I’d never set foot in a casino before, but I knew there was money there. I had no idea at the time that the job would completely transform my life. It made me a strong, effective chair massage therapist. It helped me learn to be a self-starter, and manage my time well. And it gave me the financial freedom to build a life and travel–all while working three to four days a week.
Many massage therapists have no idea this niche industry of the massage world exists. And let me say now that it’s certainly not for everyone. But for massage therapistslooking to make great money on their own schedule, it can be a fantastic side hustle, or full-time job.
Casino hours vary depending on the city and state they’re located in, but most are open late, if not 24/7. This makes it possible for massage therapists to choose a schedule that works around their daily lives. They can work late nights, weekends, as well as day shifts if they choose. As independent contractors, casino massage therapists can choose to work as many hours as they want. Some decide to make it their full-time career, while others use it as a side hustle to help fund their interests or private practices.
I always had an entrepreneurial spark, but with a normal 9-5 and a child, it would have been difficult to build a business and still survive. Casino massage allowed me to work a few nights a week, keeping my days open for all the things I needed to get done during business hours. There was a tremendous amount of freedom in that, and I was able to start my own company dedicated to improving the lives of casino massage therapists and helping them create their own financial freedom.
There is always money to be made in a casino. Most casino massage companies charge $1.50-$2.00 per minute for
services, and give therapists either a 40/60 or 50/50 split. That averages to around $48-$60 per hour commission.
But where casino massage therapists can really profit is from their tips. Tipping in a casino is quite different from tipping in a traditional spa or mobile massage business. Poker and table game players can be extremely generous and it is not uncommon for them to tip far beyond the cost of the service itself– especially if they’re winning at the table.
It’s hard to place an average dollar amount on what casino massage therapists can make in a day. It varies greatly and is dependent on your skills as a therapist, the shifts you work, and who you happen to get as a client. Personally, I have made thousands of dollars in a single day. That’s not every day, of course, but each time you walk into work there is the chance that a high roller or generous player can hit big, and reward you for your efforts.
To me, not having a cap on how much money I can bring in per week is electrifying and exciting. It’s almost, dare I say, a gamble?
There is a community of thriving massage therapists who maketheir living following the World Series of Poker and similar
tournaments, traveling and working with multiple casino massagecompanies across the United States and beyond. There are tournaments that stop in the Bahamas, Dominican Republic, and even Amsterdam and other European countries.
These traveling therapists spend their days soaking up the sights and sounds of new places while working and making great money.
Traveling therapists are required to maintain licensure in each state they work in, as well as abide by foreign rules and regulations. They are also responsible for their lodging during tournament events. It isn’t an option for everyone, of course, but can be extremely rewarding for those who’ve caught the travel bug.
Or even those who just want a work-cation that pays for itself.
Casinos sometimes have the reputation of being seedy and unsafe for therapists. In reality, casino massage is very safe. Clients remain fully clothed during services and therapists have the right to refuse anyone they don’t feel comfortable massaging.
All chair massages are performed in the open and under surveillance of cameras and casino security. Casinos are very strict when it comes to protecting their vendors and security will intervene at even the slightest hint of a problem.
Exciting Environment There’s always something to see in a casino. It’s a completely different experience than being in a dimly lit room. I learned the casino games by watching my clients play, and it’s fun to cheer them on and celebrate their wins with them. Casino people can be quite superstitious, so when they hit big, they often attribute it to the person massaging them, especially therapists who are upbeat and friendly.
In a casino there are always giant televisions playing sports games or poker tournaments. There’s upbeat music playing through the speakers. And the people-watching is unmatched. For therapists that get bored easily, casino massage can be a refreshing new world full of fun and excitement.
Like any career, there are pros and cons. But for those who want to make a significant amount of money and enjoy being in a social, somewhat chaotic environment where anything is possible, casino massage can become the perfect career or side-hustle.