Four Prohibited Things That Happen All the Time in Las Vegas Casinos

Rules, schmules.

Despite the fact gaming (also known as “gambling”) is a highly regulated industry, a good number of “iron clad” rules are broken each and every day by Las Vegas casinos.

Las Vegas was built on breaking rules, so it’s probably no surprise the tradition continues today. Probably.

Let’s take a look at some of the rules being flagrantly broken by Las Vegas casinos, three amusing and one incredibly annoying.

You’re not allowed to drink if you’re drunk in Las Vegas. Yeah, right.

1. Casinos are not allowed to serve alcohol to an intoxicated person.

Casinos must adhere to a strict set of regulations as set forth by the Nevada Gaming Commission and Nevada Gaming Control Board.

Regulation 5 (subsection 5.011) of those guidelines lays out “Grounds for Disciplinary Action,” also known as the “buzzkill regulations.”

Here, we find this action by casinos is definitely, absolutely not allowed: “Complimentary service of intoxicating beverages in the casino area to persons who are visibly impaired by alcohol or any other drug.”

That’s right, if you’re “visibly impaired,” casinos can’t serve you additional booze.

The loophole here, of course, is “visibly.” Short of a player jumping up on a table, stripping naked and singing “I Dreamed a Dream” from “Les Miserables,” what qualifies as “visibly impaired”?

We’ve never seen a player refused a drink no matter how visibly impaired they were. More drinking leads to more gambling, and, well, we are so glad you mentioned this.

2. Casinos can’t let an intoxicated person gamble.

If you’re looking for a gaming regulation with a near-zero enforcement rate, this would probably be it.

Regulation 5 says casinos will get into hot water by: “Permitting persons who are visibly impaired by alcohol or any other drug to participate in gaming activity.”

We have been gambling in Las Vegas casinos for more than 20 years, and drinking to excess for the majority of that time, and we have never been told to leave, other than when we juggled dice at the craps table at the former Hooters, but that was less about excessive drinking than acting like an idiot.

There’s a reason casinos give free (“comped”) drinks. Liquor lowers one’s inhibitions, and by “inhibitions” we mean the the parts of us that make us act responsibly.

Caesars comped drinks
Video poker machines are now often equipped with red light, green light systems to confirm whether you’re ready for another drink. It’s often hard to keep up with the free drinks, but we do our best.

Casinos and the American Gaming Association (the trade group that represents the U.S. casino industry) give a lot of lip service to responsible gaming, but if people didn’t gamble irresponsibly, the entire system would collapse.

Our brains know casinos have a mathematical advantage. Liquor persuades our brains to forget all that adulting nonsense and to say, “DGAF, let’s have some fun.”

In the past, when people sober up, they sometimes regret their decisions. Some look for scapegoats for their own mistakes in judgment, include boneheads who blame casinos for their own actions.

We are a big fan of personal responsibility. Drinking is part of the casino experience. Yes, we’ve gambled more than we intended due to drinking, but that’s our own doing. It’s simple: Don’t blame Twinkies if you gain weight, don’t blame porn for having sore arms and no free time, and don’t blame casinos if you drink too much and make a crazy bet on black. (Reminder: Crazy, liquor-fueled bets often win. It’s one of the things that makes Las Vegas so much fun.)

3. The liquor brand you order can’t be swapped for a cheaper knock-off.

Back in 2014, when we first learned casinos swap liquor brands, we were devastated.

The revelation actually changed our casino experience at a fundamental level.

Here’s an example of the casino “liquor swap.” If you’re playing at a table or slot machine, and order a “Captain Morgan and diet,” the casino will sometimes replace your Captain Morgan spiced rum with a cheaper knock-off like Admiral Nelson or worse, if such a thing actually exists.

It’s shady and illegal, but it happens all the time.

The defense, presumably, is it’s a free drink so anything goes. We are not a fan of this ridiculous argument.

We totally get it if someone orders a “rum and Coke.” They don’t care which brand they’re getting. We care.

We only know of one Las Vegas casino with the integrity to have a sign posted about the liquor swap, the Suncoast in Summerlin.

Substitute drinks sign
We don’t mind it if they don’t lie about it. Also, pretty much everyone lies about it.

4. No prostitution, definitely no prostitution.

If there’s one thing that absolutely never, ever happens in Las Vegas casinos, it’s prostitution.

That’s because prostitution is illegal in Las Vegas.

And nothing illegal can happen in Las Vegas, it’s the law.

And also prostitution is everywhere in Las Vegas.

Generally, Las Vegas casinos turn a blind eye to sex workers plying their trade as long as they’re discreet and don’t disturb guests with aggressive solicitation tactics.

It doesn’t take a detective to figure out who the working girls are at any casino bar. If casinos and law enforcement were serious about curtailing prostitution, they could make some inroads, but nobody’s really behind that kind of misguided waste of time or resources.

The illegality of prostitution is one of the biggest hypocrisies in Las Vegas. Nobody’s really talked about legalizing it since the days when Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman was vocal about the benefits of regulating and taxing the industry.

Prostitution is legal in Nevada counties with fewer than 400,000 residents. Which isn’t arbitrary at all.

Las Vegas coloring book
This could come in handy. Here’s more.

It’s continues to be an absurd farce that something so prevalent (and undeniably popular) in Las Vegas is also illegal. Let consenting adults do whatever they want as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else.

So, there you have it! So many broken rules, so little interest in having them enforced. (Except the liquor swap thing, of course.)

Las Vegas is filled with seeming contradictions, and a never-ending supply of WTF.

There’s one place you know you’ll always get the straight scoop, though. You’re looking at it. Please keep up.