I’m a dealer who’s been working in casinos for years, so when I visit one, it doesn’t feel like the most glamorous experience ever.
Still, when I visit a new casino (for example, when I’m traveling), it can be very tempting to take pictures.
Casinos have a unique atmosphere. They’re like theme parks for grown-ups. So colorful, so beautiful.
If you’re wondering whether pictures are allowed at the roulette table — keep reading…
Can you take pictures in a casino?
In general, you cannot take pictures in casinos. This is mainly because of security reasons. Although pictures are allowed in some areas of the casino, such as the restaurant, you cannot take pictures on the casino floor because they could be used to cheat.
It doesn’t hurt to ask, of course. Different casinos have different rules, so the one you’re visiting may actually allow pictures.
But having worked in casinos for years, I’ve never seen casinos that don’t enforce this rule. Nor have I heard of any.
So don’t be surprised if the dealers/pit bosses are strict with this.
Why pictures are not allowed in casinos
1. The players don’t like it
Alright, first of all, what about everyone else?
What about the other customers, and players? You probably won’t be the only one visiting the casino, right?
The truth is that most players would actually find it annoying if someone started to take random pictures.
Even if your intention is to take pictures of yourself, or your chips, you may accidentally take photos of someone else, and for some it could be very irritating.
Especially if they are secretive and don’t want people to find out they gamble.
Most players are open about casinos being one of their hobbies — others, not so much.
And if they gamble large amounts, then they probably don’t want people taking pictures around them.
Plus, sharing pictures online has somehow become the norm nowadays, so players who are reserved or care about their privacy tend to avoid cameras at all costs.
2. The dealers don’t like it
For casinos, customers will always be the priority.
But usually, casino staff don’t like to be photographed, either (I don’t, and I’m a casino dealer).
So that’s one more reason to prohibit pictures at the tables, or on the main casino floor in general.
Depending on the game they’re dealing, and who they’re dealing to, the dealers may already have to… deal (no pun intended) with a lot of stress.
They may be nervous. They may be trying to work out a complex payout while a bad loser keeps complaining and the pit boss is watching and they’re tired and they’ve only slept four hours and they have a long shift.
So the last thing they want is some new player taking pictures of the table they’re at.
3. Pictures may be used to cheat
Casinos are always very strict in terms of procedures.
And they’re especially strict with procedures that are designed to prevent stealing or cheating.
If you’ve played in casinos long enough, then you’ve probably seen all kinds of weird rules and practices.
Dealers clapping their hands before they go on break, casino chips always being cut the same exact way, certain phrases being announced over and over again, chip trays being locked as soon as the players leave the table, and so on.
These procedures may look funny but they are there for a reason — to protect the business, the players, and even the dealers.
The third reason pictures are not allowed in casinos is that they may be used to cheat.
Likely? No, not really. Possible? Definitely.
So in this case the easiest way to prevent cheating is to simply forbid the use of cameras.
4. Use of electronic devices is discouraged
You may have heard of the Eastern European gang who stole £1.3 million from the Ritz Club in London, and got away with it.
It happened in 2004. They were using an electronic device which would track the roulette ball and predict where it would land.
Although they were caught, at the time there was no specific law that said “roulette clocking” (that’s the technical term) would count as cheating.
So the gang kept the £1.3 million — approximately 1.5 million in US dollars.
Rules have changed since then, but casinos are still very wary of electronic devices of all sorts.
Now, is the pit boss going to tell you off because you’re scrolling your social media profile at the blackjack table?
No. But anything that has to do with phones and devices could be seen as a red flag in casinos, and attract attention.
5. Pictures could make casinos seem less exclusive
Lastly, some casinos and clubs want to look as exclusive as possible, especially if they are members only.
If you visit the casino and take a bunch of pictures, and post them online the following day, that could prevent potential customers from visiting because, after all, they already know what the casino looks like.
Or what the dealers’ uniforms, or the chips, or the cards look like. You get the point.
By making photographs illegal, casinos retain an aura of mystery.
This, in turn, could make the casinos look more exclusive and encourage people to visit and/or become members.
Exceptions: pictures may be allowed if…
1. You play poker
Generally speaking, rules are a bit more relaxed in the poker area.
This is true for both poker players and poker dealers.
So whereas a blackjack or roulette player who tries to take pictures will be told off immediately — a poker player who does the same probably won’t be a big deal.
It doesn’t mean pictures and videos are allowed in poker rooms. Not necessarily, anyway.
But if you ask management to take pictures and the poker table, and all other players agree, it’ll probably be fine.
2. You take close-up pictures
As a casino dealer, I’ve seen players take pictures of their chips, or roulette displays, or slot screens, close-up, and they’ve never been told off by management.
Unless they made it really obvious, or unless they did it repeatedly.
This is because in this situation 1) it’s guaranteed no people will be recorded and 2) a single picture of a single object cannot possibly be used to cheat, or lower the house edge in any way.
Best to always ask management in advance, of course. But like I said, I’ve seen this many times as a dealer and nothing happened.
3. You take pictures outside
Bit of an obvious one, but I had to mention it.
If you’re outside the casino, e.g. at the entrance, can you take pictures? Of course!
Theoretically, these pictures could still be used to cheat or do something illegal.
But there’s nothing the casino can do to stop you. And honestly, the casino probably doesn’t even care.
So if you want to post pictures of the casino you’re visiting on your social media profiles, at all costs — then taking pictures right outside the entrance is a good idea.
4. You are not on the main casino floor
For example, you may be dining at the casino’s restaurant. Or smoking a cigar on the terrace.
In this case, although technically you are still in the casino, you’re not in the gaming area, so pictures will be allowed.
Just google the name of a casino, and have a look at the pictures submitted by previous visitors.
You’ll notice the vast majority of them will be pictures of the restaurant, bar, terrace, shop, or decorations.
You may see pictures of live tables as well, but it doesn’t mean pictures were allowed.
5. There is a big event
Such as a big party, or celebration, or big poker tournament.
During big events, the casino will usually be very busy, and management will probably be more flexible in terms of taking pictures and/or using your phone.
And honestly, who’s ever going to notice?
Very hard to enforce such a rule when the casino is crowded.
I don’t encourage you to take pictures in any situation — I’m simply saying that on certain occasions no one will check if you’re following all the less important rules.
6. Management allows you to take pictures
If management says yes, you’re good to go.
This applies to all rules and procedures, not just taking pictures.
For example, the rule may be that you’re allowed to use only one color when playing roulette.
But if you make a request and management tells you you can use, say, both green and red chips, that will be the rule.
Besides, VIP customers (regulars who gamble large amounts, frequently) may be allowed to take pictures.
Not in the sense that they’ll be able to do whatever they want — it’s just that sometimes pit bosses and managers tend to be more flexible with them.
Can casino dealers take pictures?
No — not even the dealers can do that.
In fact, it may be even riskier for casino dealers.
Croupiers are not allowed to have their smartphone in the pit, and they’re not allowed to wear pockets, either.
But most importantly, there are strict rules regarding taking pictures of the casino they work at, especially if the intention is to share them with other people.
If you’re a customer and you take pictures in a casino, you may be told off, or asked to delete the files on your phone.
If you’re a dealer and you take pictures at work, potentially you could face some kind of disciplinary action.
Has your experience been different?
Do you disagree with anything I’ve written here? Do you know casinos where pictures are actually allowed?
I’d like to hear your thoughts — please leave a reply and let me know! 👇