Photographing in Casinos / by Adam Jacobs

Where we can and cannot shoot as photographers is always somewhat of a grey area; this is especially the case when it comes to casinos and other gaming locations. Having recently returned from a trip to the States, I was reminded of a shooting assignment to Las Vegas. On this trip, I was fortunate enough to photograph some of Las Vegas’ most iconic locations including Ceasars Palace, The Wynn and the MGM Grand where I was commissioned to shoot the casinos along with some of the rooms in the hotels and golf courses.  However, in advance of doing so I was required to obtain a permit to shoot within these casino locations or request the permission of the resort’s PR team. Below are a couple of my favourite shots from the trip:

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Indeed, if you are looking to shoot still photography or video in a casino resort whether in Vegas, Macau, Atlantic City or any location worldwide where gambling and gaming occurs, you will more than likely run into a burly security guard asking you questions and be asked to put your equipment away, especially if carrying a professional looking SLR and tripod.  This is true even if you’re just a tourist looking to photograph some holiday snaps as a souvenir to take home with no intention of swindling the casino or selling the photographs for commercial gain.  In fact, you may find it difficult to shoot any kind of photographs in gaming areas with slot machines, roulette tables and other casino equipment present even with a smartphone or newer piece of technology such as Google glass. It is therefore only natural that so many people have veered towards online casinos including which have risen in popularity as opposed to land based casinos. 

My suggestion for photography would therefore be to stick to the communal areas in such locations which, still make for beautiful photographs as can be seen in this shots below of the lobby area of Ceasars Palace and the enormous pool complex.  Also, as always, it is beneficial for us as photographers, to do our research before shooting in such locations to ensure you don’t run into problems and can enjoy making great photographs without worrying about potential consequences. 

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