Casino photography is an idiosyncratic type of photography that requires specific technical expertise, from knowing how to operate each camera function to understanding all aspects of casino life.
When taking photos at casinos, it is best to use a smaller digital camera or smartphone, as larger models may attract the attention of security guards.
Capturing the Energy and Emotion of Gambling
Numerous casinos prohibit the taking of photos as they fear people using these images to manipulate games such as poker and slot machines. Their concerns stem from gambling’s appeal to socio-cultural constructs like rituals, mateship, social status, winning and success as well as thrill and adventure – not forgetting its appeal for hedonism!
As smartphones with cameras become increasingly prevalent, casinos are finding it increasingly difficult to enforce their prohibition against photography; as a result, some resorts such as Rampart Casino in Summerlin encourage selfies and picture taking activities.
Still photos tend to be less of a problem than video recordings, since still cameras can easily be returned back into your pocket without drawing unwanted attention from security staff. Furthermore, using smaller cameras such as smartphones is preferable over larger DSLRs as these could attract unwanted scrutiny from security personnel. Furthermore, keeping photos and videos short may reduce chances of chastisement from security personnel.
Taking a Selfie
Most casinos discourage photographs being taken on the casino floor for various reasons. Most commonly this has to do with protecting players’ privacy and keeping an eye out for potential robberies (i.e. photographing security personnel, cashier cage and money movements).
Since the introduction of smartphones, rules regarding photography have become somewhat laxer; however, you should still expect confrontation if you start snapping away incessantly. A better strategy would be to quickly move through the casino while only taking a few pictures at a time and returning your camera or phone back into your pocket after each stop.
When shooting video, keep moving as well. Staying still for too long could attract casino security or the floor manager’s notice, so it may be better to shoot multiple short videos than one long one that may not be as engaging or captivating.
Taking a Group Photo
Casinos traditionally forbid taking photographs inside, however this has changed due to social media and selfie culture. Some casinos such as Strat Casino even encourage customers to take photographs during gambling sessions (though video footage is still prohibited).
Aim to remain discreet by keeping your camera small; large cameras may attract too much scrutiny from casino security; mobile phone cameras tend to be better suited. Also avoid taking photos in vulnerable areas like cashier cages or pit bosses where there may be crime risk; stay calm if stopped by security and explain that these photos are for personal use only; this will prevent confrontation that could escalate into physical altercations.
Taking a Shot of a Slot Machine
Although some casinos still forbid photography, rules have become less stringent due to smartphones capable of taking pictures and smaller cameras blending in better without drawing too much attention. You should act quickly when taking images or taking videos; otherwise they might draw the ire of security and possibly result in their confiscation.
Casinos fear cheating and other forms of criminal activity, particularly when it comes to criminally exploiting images captured of player cards that reveal strategy that can enable an opponent at poker tables or slot machines to exploit these images and beat them at their games. Furthermore, they don’t want their customers posting photos online which could expose them for robbery or fraud.
Photographing casinos is allowed as long as you exercise common sense and follow these tips. Be polite if approached by security, and never become involved in an altercation.