The 11 Best Vegas-Inspired April Fools’ Pranks of All Time
Things are looking bleak on the Las Vegas April Fools’ Day prank front.
Few entities, including casinos, have even attempted to share pranks this year. It’s almost as if they’ve given up.
Casino social media accounts should be teeming with funny, original pranks on this most hallowed of days, but nope. Lame.
We should say up front, humor is hard.
Satire is a lost art, probably because the world is stranger and often funnier than anything made up. See also the decline of The Onion.
Back in the day, everyone competed for bragging rights when it came to April Fools’ pranks. A number of Vegas-related Web sites have shut down or are no longer active.
We thought it would be useful to round up some of the most memorable Vegas-themed pranks from the past for posterity.
Here, then, are our pick of our favorite Las Vegas April Fools’ pranks of all time. And, yes, this is mostly a way to pat ourself on the back. Do you know this blog, or what?
11. Players Advantage, Adult Diapers for Gamblers
It’s a fairly well-known fact gamblers sometimes are so captivated with gambling they don’t always have time or interest in bathroom breaks. The fact nobody sells adult diapers specifically for gamblers is baffling. Here’s the story.
10. Casino Bans O-69 Bingo Call Due to Offended Guests
Before we started doing lazy April Fools’ Day round-ups, we actually wrote April Fools’ Day pranks. In 2016, we highlighted our love of “69” jokes with a playful poke at bingo players. Our story was, “Station Casinos Ban Bingo Call of ‘O-69’ to Avoid Offending Sensitive Players.” Some time later, we heard Station Casinos (we chose them randomly, a lot of humor involves specificity) wasn’t thrilled about our story, despite the fact it was clearly a joke. We added a disclaimer, but we hate disclaimers. Shouting “April Fools!” says “We think you’re dumb.” We think people are smart. And big thanks to Station Casinos for not suing us. We’ve since made up, probably. Read the story.
9. Five-Year Investigation Reveals Some Las Vegas Stripper Names May Not Be Real
You always suspected it was true. We said it was. It’s on the Internet, so it has to be true. Read more.
8. City of Las Vegas Coloring Book Sparks Controversy
Yes, the City of Las Vegas made a coloring book for kids and we ruined it. The world got a whole lot better, and funnier, when they invented Photoshop. We’ve taken full advantage. Hey, the City can take it. Here’s the full story.
7. Legislators Vote to Make Nevada the Daddy Issues State
Yes, people believed it. Not a lot, but enough. Read more here.
6. Officials Announce Plans to Install Metal Detector Between California and Vegas
Topicality isn’t required for an April Fools’ joke to succeed, but it doesn’t hurt. When it was announced the Raiders were moving to Las Vegas, there was a lot of discussion about the, well, quality of the team’s existing fans. It turns out, they’ve been awesome, so we feel just terrible about this April Fools’ story. Just terrible.
5. Circa Announces Slide From Roof to Pool
The beginning of end for Vegas pranks could be seen in 2022, but Circa won our heart with its Twitter post showing a slide from the resort’s rooftop lounge to its pool. The image was well done, but the prank also played into the hotel’s brand: Circa does what it wants and DGAF. No kids in the resort? Done. Sportsbook bigger than many European countries? Done. Football contests that don’t take in what they pay out? Done. Read our story about this clever April Fools’ Day prank.
Enter at @legacyclubvegas
Exit at @stadiumswim
The slide of your life. Coming soon. pic.twitter.com/1WcoDGbjJy
— Circa Las Vegas (@CircaLasVegas) April 1, 2022
4. Fremont Street Gets Giant Remote for Giant Video Screen
Anywhere we’ve worked, they get April Fools’ Day pranks, whether they like it or not. During our time at Fremont Street Experience, we yanked chains galore, and at one point posted a story that the downtown attraction was getting a remote control for its massive Viva Vision screen. Exaggeration is one of the pillars of humor, and we pillared the hell out of this one.
3. Casinos to Enforce Prohibition Against High-Fives
Weird casino rules are easy pickings when it comes to April Fools’ jokes. In this case, we wrote a story for the former Pulse of Vegas blog for Caesars Entertainment (then Harrah’s) to express our disdain for bros constantly high-fiving in casinos, often dragging others into their annoying bonding ritual. Here’s a link to the Wayback Machine.
2. Bellagio to Replace Fountains With Shopping
We should probably give this gag the top spot on our list, but we are deeply resentful it was so clever and successful, so it’s going to sit in the second spot. Our friend Michael Movestro at Vegas Bright knocked it out of the ballpark with this gem. Rumors have circulated for years about Bellagio turning its fountains into shopping, but Michael made it seem real, including some impressive renderings. The story was even picked up by Robin Leach and shared widely before the Las Vegas Review-Journal yanked Leach’s story from their site. This story, then, will live in infamy as one of the greatest April Fools’ pranks, ever.
1. Harrah’s Acquires Grand Canyon
We weep daily that the now-defunct Pulse of Vegas blog is only accessible through awkward searches in the Internet archive, Wayback Machine. Our personal favorite fake news story of all time took advantage of the fact Harrah’s was buying up casinos like crazy at the time, like the good times would never end (they did, with a bankruptcy and eventual sale). We extended this shopping spree to the company acquiring the Grand Canyon. It seems fairly innocuous now, but at the time, it was unheard of that a major casino company would publish such a story with a straight face. While Harrah’s was never all that thrilled about the snarky tone of its corporate blog (despite being named the best corporate blog in the country at the time), we took pride in the fact we got away with not only putting it out there, but we also got quotes from the company’s then-CEO Gary Loveman and then-CFO Jonathan Halkyard. It was glorious, and its success at “marketing without marketing” remains unmatched to this day. Objectively speaking, of course. The story’s still in the Wayback Machine. Send a link if you find it, thanks.
That’s our list. Have any favorites we missed?
Props to our friends at Las Vegas Advisor for at least trying a prank this year. Jokes about Las Vegas fees are evergreen fodder for satire.
MGM Grand tried something, although we aren’t clear what the joke is intended to be. As we said, humor and satire are hard. It’s not merely Photoshopping something for the sake of Photoshopping it. There needs to be a point. (See the Circa and Fremont Street Experience example.) Is it better than nothing? You decide.
🗞️ Big News!
Starting early 2024, our beloved Leo the Lion statue will be replaced by a giant guitar. pic.twitter.com/zB81PdzT1Y
— MGM Grand Hotel (@MGMGrand) April 1, 2023
It’s hard to explain why something is funny or not, or how satire works. It’s like dissecting a frog. Which we’re fairly sure isn’t a metaphor we’re allowed to use anymore, and rightly so.
Casino social media would be infinitely better if they hired writers, rather than the people doing whatever casino social media is doing at the moment. (Not just April Fools’-related, but overall.)
Social media marketing should strive to be inventive and creative and entertaining all day, every day. It’s not advertising.
A sense of humor isn’t something everyone is born with, but with practice a sense of humor can be developed. We mentioned the “pillars” of humor: They are surprise, juxtaposition, incongruity and exaggeration.
We always keep this in mind, and would recommend casino social media departments post it over their cubicles: “The source of the ludicrous is always the paradoxical, and therefore unexpected, subsumption of an object under a conception which in other respects is different from it, and accordingly the phenomenon of laughter always signifies the sudden apprehension of an incongruity between such a conception and the real object thought under it, thus between the abstract and the concrete object of perception.” Told you anyone can do it! Shout-out to Schopenhauer.
April Fools’ Day is a special day for those in the business of humor, but it’s also a day when everyone can take part. It’s harmless good fun, and we hope casinos and others up their game next year. Yes, we’re including us.
We’d promise to do a true April Fools’ Day story in 2024, but we plan to move and start the Vital Pahrump blog. You’ll survive.
Leave your thoughts on “The 11 Best Vegas-Inspired April Fools’ Pranks of All Time”