Let’s say you’re getting married in Las Vegas and want to capture the whole experience with selfies. You already know you can photograph yourself with your bachelorette brigade, opening the door of a stretch limo, inside that cute little chapel and with your hand on a Bible. But what if you want a selfie with your hand on a stack of poker chips? Or rolling the dice at the craps table? Now you can.
Las Vegas casinos used to ban photography at gaming tables and machines, but now some resorts welcome it.
The Strat, for example, wants you to snap and share selfies everywhere, including while you’re gambling. Its blackjack, craps and roulette tables are covered with a fabric that promotes the Strat’s social media handle (@Stratvegas) and hashtag (#STRATselfie). “We want our guests to have fun playing table games,” said Brian Stanton, the resort’s vice president of table games. “If part of that fun is taking a photo to capture that moment, we welcome it.”
Downtown’s Four Queens Resort and Casino also encourages guests to take photos (but not videos) throughout the property and share them with friends. A prominent brass sign affixed to a brick wall at the casino reads: “Please feel free to take photos in the Four Queens. We want you to remember your visit.”
Rampart Casino in Summerlin embraces taking selfies too, “as long as it’s not interrupting the guest experience,” spokeswoman Alissa Kelly said.
Other casinos are less enthusiastic about guests recording slot machine pulls or blackjack hands. Caesars properties, which include Caesars Palace, The Cromwell, Linq, Harrah’s and Flamingo, don’t permit photography of table games. MGM Resorts, which includes Aria, MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay, Bellagio and Mirage, embraces selfies but not in gaming areas. “We typically don’t allow photography at our table games to avoid disrupting other players,” MGM spokeswoman Stacy Hamilton said.
Disrupting games, distracting players or compromising security operations are caveats casino operators often cite when discussing their photography policies. The Four Queens’ brass sign encouraging photos also includes this admonition: “Please do not be disruptive to games or our other guests.” In general, Vegas casinos also don’t allow guests to set up tripods or lights.
Video or live streaming are usually off-limits in gaming areas, including at the social media-savvy Strat.
Technically, it’s not illegal to take photographs or record personal videos inside a Las Vegas casino. The Nevada Gaming Control Board, which regulates every type of wagering in the state from horse racing to casino games, has no “specific regulation or statute that prohibits photos being taken inside a casino,” board spokesman Michael Lawton wrote in an email.
Lawton said casinos can establish their own rules regarding photography. “A decision by a licensee to not allow such activity is strictly a policy decision a casino would make internally,” he wrote.
Each casino has its own set of rules — even if they are not clearly posted. Here are some tips:
- Look for posted signs that describe a casino’s photography policy and obey the rules.
- Look for Insta-ready backdrops and design elements in casinos where selfies are encouraged. Park MGM, for example, built an ivy wall adjacent to the casino whose neon #parkmgm hashtag communicates that it’s a selfie-safe zone.
- Even though taking photographs in a casino is not illegal, you may be asked to leave the property or delete the images. (Casino employees have no legal authority to compel you to delete the images or hand over your camera, but they can escort you off the property.)
- Be quick and discrete. Use a phone camera or one that can fit in your pocket or palm. Turn off the flash.
- Plan your photos in advance. If you want a shot of a slot machine or craps table, choose slots or an empty table in a remote area with few (or no) people.
- Don’t look like a photo pro or commercial photographer. No tripods, no lights, no external microphones. No one may notice you snapping a pic with your phone, but you won’t skate by with a large camera or video rig.
- Don’t disrupt players, dealers, pit bosses or other employees or interfere with games.
- Don’t draw attention to yourself by photographing hot-button subjects. Avoid cashier areas, pit bosses and security operations, even if they are in the background.
- Don’t be confrontational if you’re stopped by security. Apologize if you’ve broken the rules. Tell them your shots are strictly for personal use.