Knowing whether or not you can take pictures in a casino is a common concern among visitors. I mean, who wants to chance getting forcibly removed by security? So, I made some calls and did some research and these are my findings.
Can you take pictures in a casino? Historically, photography was strictly forbidden industry-wide inside casinos for security and privacy reasons. Nowadays, most casinos do allow a few snapshots, provided they aren’t of active play tables, the cashier’s cage, or unsuspecting employees. You may want to ask a casino employee to be sure.
While some casinos are worried about photography highlighting security vulnerabilities, most have evolved to appreciate the benefits of photos in the social media age. Still, photography is not a free-for-all, and there are some etiquettes to be followed.
Casinos Have Restrictions on Photography
The reasons for limiting the use of photography on the casino floor are primarily related to security and privacy. Before the smartphone was ubiquitous with modern life, someone with a camera was deemed sinister in motive. In all likelihood, they were performing surveillance for some illegal activities, such as robbery or cheating.
Admittingly, this sounds like a plot to a heist movie; however, casino crime is still rampant even with the sophistication of modern surveillance technology. For this reason, restrictions are still in place.
Although the use of camera phones is widely accepted, the use of a dedicated camera or something akin to an SLR is still prohibited inside most casinos. The same constraints apply to the use of a tripod or a selfie stick. In short, any equipment that will assist in taking professional-grade photographs is vehemently forbidden in most casinos.
To ensure you know the policy for the casino you are frequenting, look for posted signs explaining their photograph rules. These signs are usually displayed at the entrance to the casino, and throughout the gaming floor. Without proper signage, the casino cannot enforce a no photography policy, and you are free to do as you please.
If a security officer approaches you after taking a snap or two, ask them to point out a sign. Typically, if they can’t, they will grudgingly leave you alone.
Pictures Hurt Security
When money is involved, people tend to be hypervigilant. With casinos, millions of dollars can be at stake every night, and protecting all that cash is paramount. While most planned crimes at casinos (omitting pickpocketing and rash larceny) are mainly inside jobs, security knows they are at risk from anyone.
Tight security forces casinos into preventing you from taking pictures of areas that are vulnerable to crime. Exposed areas include the cashier cages, where you buy and settle your chips. It is nearly impossible not to be suspicious of someone taking a few snapshots of this area to get the lay of the land. The same applies to unsolicited pictures of employees, as few reasons exist that aren’t corrupt as to why you would photograph an employee walking to a game table.
Enabling cheating has always been a concern for casinos over photography. Take enough pictures of a player’s hands to learn their strategy, and you can beat them at the poker table. The same applies to a slot machine or the roulette wheel. With enough information, the odds shift away from being in the house’s favor, and that the last thing a casino wants. By limiting photography, casino bosses think their businesses are less exposed to robbery and fraud.
It’s Hard to Have Complete Privacy If Someone Is Snapping Your Picture
As the saying goes, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.” This attitude harks back to when Vegas was a seedier town that was run by the mob. Back then, casinos were a place for escapism that wasn’t always sanctioned by your significant other. It was the anonymity provided in the safety of the casino playhouse that attracted most gamblers to such establishments. No matter the geographical location of the casino, that Vegas level of freedom was always sought and expected.
Such privacy is no longer possible, and that old mentality is eradicated with every picture taken. While you seek solitude as you throw back a few drinks while burning your paycheck at the craps table, you are probably part of the background in someone’s social media post.
If privacy is paramount to you, you can get it, but it will cost you. High rollers sometimes get to play in private rooms, but such isolation means you need to bet at least $100 a hand.
Moving With Modern Times
Now that nearly everyone has a camera in their pocket by way of their smartphone, it is increasingly difficult for casinos to regulate phone usage. This is why the rules have relaxed in most establishments in recent years. It is too hard to enforce a strict, no photography policy.
Ultimately, restricting photography was eventually seen as a poor business decision once social media and selfie culture exploded. Social media is a marketing tool that every casino wants to use. After all, customers posting their enjoyment and winnings to websites such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter offer the casino free advertising.
Photography, once viewed as a destroyer of funds, is now considered as another lucrative money-making stream for the casino. We shouldn’t be surprised; after all, the house always wins.
Memorializing the moments of our lives by taking pictures is now a normal part of life. A night out in casino is no different. We want to document pulling that slot lever, the feeling of hitting a blackjack, or when we bet it all on red during roulette. Wondering if there any limitations to photography on the casino floor that would prevent you from capturing memories this way is a common question.
Today, casinos have capitulated with modern times and allow some photography in their casinos, mostly via smartphones. In most establishments, however, photography is still not permitted at gaming tables, near the cashier’s cage, or of staff without their permission. Otherwise, the rules tend to be relaxed. For clarity, look for posted signs at the entrance to inform you of the casino’s photography policy so you can abide by the house rules and avoid conflicts with security.
Can you make a cell phone call in a casino? Although you are allowed your cell phone in a casino, you may find strict rules enforced as to making calls from it. In almost every casino, cell phone usage is forbidden at game tables and in the sportsbook section. Restrictions are in place to protect the house from cheating players or a punter receiving a last-minute tip on a bet.
Can you take videos in a casino? While casinos have relaxed in recent years over photography, it is widely forbidden to take video inside a casino. Filming of staff, slot machines, play tables, and the cashier’s cage will likely get you thrown out of the casino. Minimally, security will ask you to delete the film. The stringent rule of “no video allowed” is often posted by the door, and it exists to protect personnel, the security of the house, and the games themselves.
Jim James has over 15 years of experience playing professionally and is the author of the best-selling book called Automatic Poker. Using a no-nonsense mathematical and logical approach to beating the games, he has won 7 figures at the poker table. Jim is well-known as the world’s leading expert on playing short or mid-stacked poker.
Today, he helps other players demystify what it takes to win money in No-Limit Hold’em and has helped countless people become winning poker players through his Online Poker Academy.