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Las Vegas is gambling heaven. People from all over the world head to Las Vegas in the hope of striking it lucky. Of course, since Las Vegas is all about gambling, people are often concerned about moving large sums of cash into the city. How can you do this? Are there any restrictions? Let’s explain.
For the most part, there are no restrictions on bringing cash into Las Vegas. If you are flying, you may be questioned if you have larger sums of cash on you, but if you can explain the source and the reason for carrying the cash, you should be able to breeze through with ease.
International travelers can only carry up to $10,000 before they get questioned. However, once again, if you can answer any questions given to you by customs, the process is easy.
Let’s go into a bit of depth on this. We want to explain how to bring money to Vegas and what you should be doing with it once it is there.
Deposit Cash Into Bank Account Before You Head To Vegas
I wouldn’t ever recommend coming into Las Vegas with cash. Well, not much of it.
Yes. I know that the ATMs in Vegas, particularly in the casinos, can be expensive to use. However, it is going to be much cheaper to withdraw cash as and when you need it than it is to lose stacks of the stuff.
Plus, if you have cash in your bank account, it deals with most of the problems that you would have traveling to Vegas in the first place, particularly if you are an international traveler.
Here are some great ways to avoid casino ATM fees in Las Vegas.
How To Bring Cash To Vegas as a Domestic Traveler
Domestic travelers in the US do not have to declare any amount of cash that they are traveling with. While I wouldn’t recommend it, you could head to Vegas with $1,000,000 in $100 bills and as long as you can explain where that cash came from if asked, then it is all good.
That being said, the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) does have a legal obligation to ask about any large sums of cash that you are carrying. They need to check that you aren’t using it to commit a crime.
They will also need to check that your cash was obtained legitimately. How this process plays out will be dependent on the TSA agent. Some will ask a couple of quickfire questions, while others will pull you into a side room.
That being said, if you are flying into Vegas, it will often be a better option to stick the money in an accessible bank account beforehand and take it out of the ATM or your bank account once you are here.
If you are driving into Las Vegas, then you will have no problem bringing any amount of cash you’d like.
How To Bring Cash Into Vegas as an International Traveler
As an international traveler, your traveling party can carry up to $10,000 in cash without any issues.
Well, technically, it is a $10,000 combined value with any financial instruments. However, for the sake of simplicity, let’s just say it is cash.
We can’t imagine there are too many people heading to Vegas with monetary instruments (money orders, cashier’s checks, traveler’s checks, etc.) with the intention of gambling with them.
The law states that you can bring up to $10,000 into the US without any issues. You don’t have to tell anybody that you have it on you. You can just breeze on through customs, and you should be fine.
However, if you have more than $10k in cash, you have to declare it. You’ll also have to fill out some forms.
You’ll be questioned about why you are carrying so much cash. The purpose is to ensure that you are not planning on using that cash for a crime or that you obtained it illegally.
If you declare the cash, you should not have any issues. Customs agents know that people frequently bring in more than $10k, especially to Las Vegas. If you pass their security screening questions, you are fine.
If you don’t declare, or you answer questions by lying? Your cash can be seized. You aren’t getting it back.
As an international traveler, we seriously suggest that you have your cash in a bank account that you can access locally. Again, you can access your money once you are in Las Vegas via an ATM or a quick trip to a local bank.
How To Carry Your Money While In Las Vegas
Most casinos will require you to have cash. However, this doesn’t mean that you should be walking around with large sums of cash.
I recommend that you have the bulk of your cash in your bank account, and you withdraw from an ATM as and when needed. This can make it a lot easier for you to budget for each day.
If you are planning on withdrawing larger sums of cash, then you may want to talk to your bank ahead of time. There may be daily restrictions on ATM withdrawals, and they can lift your limits.
Some casinos will be able to offer you a credit line if you prove that you have the cash in your account.
Some may be reluctant to do so for international travelers, but they may be able to open up a casino account where you can wire them the cash. Although, this can pose issues if you are planning on gambling in multiple Las Vegas casino properties.
When you do have cash on you, carry as little as possible (you’ll need to carry some small bills for tipping valets and cocktail waitresses, etc.). You’ll also want to steer clear of any shadier parts of the city too.
You don’t want to make yourself an obvious target as many people know that gamblers carry larger sums of cash on them.
When you are carrying cash on your person, make sure that it is zipped up. You want to avoid pickpockets. They exist everywhere, including in Vegas.
Some jackets will have inside breast pockets that you can use. If they don’t, you may be able to use a fanny pack. Not the most stylish choice, but at least your cash will be safe.
Better yet would be to use a money wallet such as this RFID Blocking Travel Wallet (Amazon). A device such as this will help you keep your money close, safe, and inconspicuous.
Never leave cash unattended in your room. It should always be in a safe.
Most nicer Las Vegas hotel rooms have in-room safes for smaller amounts of cash, and all casinos will have safes you can access for larger amounts, although you may need to pay for the service.
Carrying cash into Vegas is simple, even if you are an international traveler. Just make sure that if somebody asks you whether you are carrying above a certain amount, you tell them.
When in Vegas, carry as little cash as possible.
Any cash that you are not going to be using in the immediate future should be stored safely in your hotel room’s safe.