So you’re in a Vegas casino, having the time of your life and you want to bust out your camera and take a few pictures to remember the evening by but you wonder if you can take pictures in a casino in Las Vegas without getting in some kind of trouble?
While casinos in Las Vegas have an official policy that forbids taking pictures on the casino floor, the rules have become more relaxed since mobile devices are now the camera of choice for most guests. With some discretion, you can take a quick selfie or pictures of your group in a casino without a problem.
Read on to find out how to take photos inside any Las Vegas casino without running into trouble.
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Taking Photos Inside a Casino
Whether you’re visiting Las Vegas for the first time or it’s you’re hundredth trip you’re gonna want to take pictures. Let’s face it, with our stunning resort properties, over the top restaurants, bars, and attractions, Las Vegas was made for pictures!
In fact, photos from your Las Vegas getaway are probably the only vacation snaps that won’t send your friends and family running for the hills when you pull out your phone to show them.
While taking photos in Las Vegas is about as natural as breathing, you’ll find that there are some special considerations when it comes to taking pictures on the casino floor.
Note: We’re talking here about the actual gambling areas not the rest of the hotel or resort property where you’re absolutely free to take all the pictures you want.
Cameras in Casinos: What’s the Problem?
Although it’s not illegal to take pictures in a casino in Las Vegas, there are several reasons that most casinos have traditionally had a no photography policy.
Vegas Vice and Plausible Deniability – People head to a Las Vegas to cut loose, have fun and do things they might not normally do. The truth is that they might not want the other people in their lives knowing what they’re up to (ie. spouses, bosses, etc.)
Pictures get around and casinos don’t want their guests worrying about being outed by inadvertently being in someone else’s photo. Hey, it’s not called Sin City for nothing.
Cameras and Cheating – Las Vegas casinos are very secure places and they don’t want people taking pictures of their security systems. Also, taking pictures of machines and gaming tables is a no-no because documenting such things raises suspicions that you’re using this type of surveillance to figure out how to cheat the house. Keep your pictures focused on a friend, and not on the game.
The Mob – While not true today, Las Vegas was controlled in its early years by the Mob and other criminal elements. Do you really think they enjoyed having their pictures taken? A lot of the “no photography” rules in casinos are a holdover from this era.
7 Tips for Taking Pictures Inside a Las Vegas Casino
Needless to say, with the advent of cameras in mobile phones, picture taking got very difficult to control for the casinos. Everyone today carries a mobile device with a camera in their pocket or purse and usually has it in their hand more often than not.
Rather than cause conflict with their guests, most casinos pretty much look the other way when people take pictures on the casino floor as long as their quick and discrete.
The following are some tips that will help you take pictures in a Las Vegas casino without having to spend time talking to a very nice security guard.
(Tip #1) Go Small – Walking out onto a casino floor with your big Nikon DSLR and telephoto lens is a sure recipe for not getting any pictures. A member of the security team will be all over you like butter on toast.
Using your mobile phone for pictures in the casino is the way to go.
They’re small, commonplace, and don’t look professional in any way. In fact, I wouldn’t recommend using any kind of dedicated camera as that will just call attention to yourself. You can take a cell phone out of your pocket, grab a snap and have it back in your pocket before you could even get your lens cap off of a larger camera.
(Tip #2) Turn Off the Flash – Having the flash turned on or set to auto mode in a casino is like having one of those flashing beacons on a life vest when you’re lost at sea. It will draw attention if someone’s watching and in a casino, someone is always watching. With today’s mobile phones, you do not need the flash to take good pictures indoors. Just turn it off.
(Tip #3) Don’t Take Pictures of other Guests – This one should go without saying but don’t take a photo of someone outside of yourself or your group while on the casino floor. When taking a picture of your friend try to frame it so that other people are eliminated or at least are not prominent in the shot.
(Tip #4) Be Quick About It – The casino floor is not the place to stop and take multiple pictures for your instagram feed. Take a quick photo or two and keep moving. As long as you’re moving through the casino floor as you take a picture or two you’ll be just fine.
If you’re sitting at a slot machine you can grab a selfie or photo of your friend next to you but again don’t dilly-dally. Just take the picture and get back to what you were doing.
(Tip #5) No Tripods – This one’s easy for most people to avoid as generally people aren’t carrying tripods around with them. If you are, however, tempted to try and use a tripod, just forget about it! Nothing screams serious photographer more than a tripod. A big or small tripod doesn’t matter. Don’t do it inside a casino!
(Tip #6) It’s Better to Ask for Forgiveness than Permission – If you’re taking pictures in a casino and a security guard approaches and asks you to stop. Just say “okay, I’m sorry” and move on. What does it matter? You already got the pictures you wanted.
(Tip #7) Avoid Sensitive Areas – There are a couple of things you’ll want to avoid taking pictures of entirely while on the gaming floor. Don’t take pictures of anything having to do with casino security.
This includes security cameras, guards, or “employee only” doors leading to who knows what behind the scenes. This also includes the cashier’s desk where people go to cash in their winnings or get more chips. Move somewhere away from these things to get your shots.
If you follow these tips, you shouldn’t have any problems getting some cool pictures inside the casino’s gaming area.
Can You Record Video in a Las Vegas Casino?
Video is a totally different story than pictures. Rules against taking videos on the casino floor are much more strictly enforced.
Taking video in a casino gaming area is prohibited in Las Vegas. Shooting video in a casino arouses suspicions that one is using the footage to try to cheat the house or for other nefarious purposes.
Having said that, mobile phones are just as capable of shooting video on the down-low as they are at taking pictures. So while it is possible to take video in a Las Vegas casino, you will be viewed with much greater suspicion if security is aware of what you’re doing.
The best tip in regards to shooting video is to either don’t do it or do it as you’re walking on the main walkway through the casino floor. I’ve used this amazing tiny video camera (amazon) in order to film in a casino but the key is to just keep walking. Don’t stop in one spot while taking video.
Other than that, all the same tips for taking photos in a casino apply to taking videos.
While taking pictures on the casino floor has historically been frowned upon, the era of mobile phone cameras have loosened the enforcement of the rules.
As long as you’re just having fun taking typical tourist pictures and being discrete you shouldn’t run into any serious problems. If a casino employee asks you to stop, be polite, and put the camera away. After all, having fun in Las Vegas is all about being chill and going with the flow.
And don’t worry, there’s no way you’re coming home from Las Vegas without some amazing pictures!