Casino Photography: Return of the Jedi

April 15, 2010

“Rex, casinos are private properties and can do whatever they want to anyone, whenever they want.”

This statement is not true.  A casino is an “establishment or place of which the public is invited or which is intended for public use”.  It is a place of public accomodation.

Entering a casino or shopping mall is not the same as entering someone’s private home.  All persons are entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of places of public accommodation without discrimination or segregation because of race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, disability, or sexual orientation.  By law, the casino has to let everyone inside, barring specific reasons not to.

Contrary to overhwelming popular belief, casinos cannot just throw anyone out for any reason, nor can they deny someone entry without a good reason.  If they did, the casino would be breaking the law, because they are … places of public accomodation.  This is a huge distinction of which 99% of regular citizens seem to be unaware.  Most people assume that “casinos are private properties, and they can do what they want”, but this is incorrect.  At least from a legal standpoint.  I’m sure there are a few people buried in the desert who have tested the theory and failed.

Now, must the casino tolerate any behavior?

No.  The house may exclude certain people under certain circumstances.  Places of public accommodation may exclude or remove any person whose conduct is disruptive, offensive or a direct threat to the health and safety of others.

And therein lies the rub.  The “safety” catchall.  That from which everyone with a $200 uniform and fifteen minutes of training derive the lion’s share of their authority.  In 2010, the word “safety” almost always means the same thing … “terrorism”, and terrorism in the USA is a myth.

“Rex, you act as though terrorists aren’t out there, plotting to kill us right now.  I’m glad these security guards are here to protect me.  It’s better to be safe than sorry.  What would happen if a terrorist attack occured while you were in a casino?”

The exact same thing that would happen if I got hit by a bus, had a heart attack, ate at McDonald’s daily, smoked cigarettes daily, or took FDA approved drugs such as Vioxx.  I would die.

People are under some weird illusion that they will live forever as long as they are protected from terrorists.  This is not the case.  I suppose the argument could be made that they might live longer, but even this arguement is not persuasive for me.  Personally, I would rather die at 50 under something that at least resembles freedom than make it to 80 in a police state.

I even question whether we even need to be protected from terrorism at all.  Allow me to illustrate why …

Cardiovascular disease claims 450,000 (four hundred fifty thousand) times the number of U.S. lives each year than does anything attributed to “terrorism”.

This means that for every one of you that will perish by the hands of terrorists, half a million of you will die from this deadly-but-treatable disease.

This being the case, should you be forced by the government to have an EKG every day for your own safety?  Would you support this?  What if they ordered you to do it every month?  How about every year?  What is the acceptable level of forcible precaution for cardiovascular disease?  Is it not better to be safe than sorry?

Given that half a million Americans are killed each year by this overwhelming threat, why in the F**K is McDonald’s allowed to stay in business, and even more importantly … why do you eat there when you spend the rest of the day looking over your shoulder for Osama Bin Laden?

In 2001 alone, there were 16,000 murders in the USA.  9/11 made up less than 20% of these murders.  Since that time, going by murder count, we’ve had the equivalent of fifty 9/11′s.

1.5 million violent crimes have been reported since 9/11 … almost none of them related to Al-Qaeda.  In the USA, there are more cases of police brutality every year than there are terrorist incidents.

There are 120,000 accidental deaths caused by physicians each year.  That’s right, doctors kill 40 times more people annually than did the 9/11 hijackers.  What have you demanded be done of this by the Federal Government?

Given the fact that our “terrorist” enemy does not even statistically exist, what in the hell are you worried about?

People walking around in a state of perpetual fear of terrorists makes no sense.  None.  The fear defies statistics.  Such a vast overwhelming response to a negligible problem indicates a mental disorder.  It’s national OCD.


Terrorism is means of social control.  The more scared you are, the more rights you are willing to give up.  All nations need a common enemy to provide cohesion.  We used to have Russia for that purpose, but now they’re pussies.  ”Terrorism” was the perfect substitute, because this is an enemy which by definition can never go away, and this means that you will forever be scared and will do as you are told.

It’s a means of controlling you.  That’s it.  Nothing more.

Personally, I don’t want to be protected from terrorism.

People think I am nuts when I say this, but I would have no qualms about getting on an aircraft without the TSA.  No qualms whatsoever.  It’s more likely that I would have a heart attack en-route to my destination.

If by some stroke of reverse-lottery luck, the terrorists get me, then they get me.  It was my time.  The sun will still rise the next day, people will go to work, babies will be born, and life will continue as it always has.  I will be free of pain, and I might be missed by some, but my absence will not have that large of an impact on the world.  Neither will yours.  Neither was Michael Jackson’s.  Sure, we’re all bummed that he never got around to recording “Beat It Part 2 – This Time It’s Personal”, but in the grand scheme of things, we haven’t been unduly inconvenienced.

Also, assuming “terrorists” are plotting something devious, what makes you think they give a damn about you?  Do you think your vacation destination is all of a sudden going to become a high-value target just because you’re going to be there?

If you are reading this, there is nobody in a cave anywhere that gives a shit about you or the fact that you host the dopest Oscar party in all of Sheboygan, Wisconsin.  Nobody in Afganistan is thinking about you.  You are unimportant.  The terrorists aren’t waiting to get you at Walmart.  They aren’t looking for you at the blackjack table.  You are globally irrelevant.  Get over yourselves already.

Last but not least, despite what the collective public seems to believe, photography has not been linked to 9/11.  The bad guys didn’t use pictures of box cutters, they used actual boxcutters.  9/11 was not a domestic security failure, it was a border control failure.

If the government which purports to protect you had sensible visa-enforcement policies, then the already negligible threat of “terrorism” would decline to damn near zero.  Harrassing photographers has no effect on your safety.  None.  NONE.  If you think it does, then you are a complete idiot whose sole purpose in life is to serve as an organ donor for smarter people.

Photography is no more a predictor of criminal activity than is smoking cigarettes or drinking diet soda.  If photography will kill you, then tuck your head between your legs and kiss your ass goodbye right now, because everyone in Las Vegas has a camera on them.  There are a thousand cameras in every casino.  They are hanging from the ceiling, they are in the parking garage, they are in the elevators, hell … they are even in our taxicabs.

Photographer on The Las Vegas Strip

Photographer on The Las Vegas Strip

Photographer at the Las Vegas Adult Entertainment Expo

Photographer at the Las Vegas Adult Entertainment Expo

If you think cameras indicate probable terrorism, please do not come to Las Vegas.

As a matter of fact, if you hold these beliefs, then in my opinion, YOU are a terrorist.  I fear you ten million times more than Al-Qaeda.  I mean that with complete sincerity.  You are way more dangerous to the American way of life than anyone with a towel on their head.  You are a threat to the freedom and well-being of America, and I want to be protected from you.

“They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” – Benjamin Franklin (1775)

Thanks to the overwhelmingly successful dumbing down and brainwashing of the nation, this is exactly what we have in 2010.


Read: Casino Photography (Part 1/3) | Casino Photography: The Empire Strikes Back (Part 2/3)

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  1. Written by Disco Stu on April 15, 2010 at 7:22 am

    I look forward to “Revenge of the Sith”.

    I would suggest taking pictures of the new Tropicana pit area. It looks great from the shots I have seen. They tried to go all Bellagio with Greek marble and beige felts (no metro).

    The only thing I understand is a casino not wanting pictures taken of individual customers. Still, those people put themselves in a public place with thousands of people, so they aren’t exactly in hiding. I’d never take a picture while a hand is in play simply out of respect to the players. Beyond that (and really even including that), every photograph is a favor to the business. They are posted online, tweeted, and shared back home making more people want to visit those places on their vacations.

    I will be taking as many pictures as I want the next time I am in town and I hope to get even a few as good as the ones you post.

  2. Written by canuckdan on April 15, 2010 at 8:34 am

    I guess the saying nothing to fear but fear itself seems fitting. People are being scared and lied to so they can be controlled . Reminds me of the house fire alarm salesman he asked the people at the meeting how much is your families lives worth ? You bet he sold some alarms. Love your style Rex very thought provoking , funny and so fu—ing true. This may just get you elected mayor either that or you may be the fan that the shit is hitting. Im just going to take cover and watch the fireworks . Oh and next time I go to Vegas im taking my cameras both of them.

  3. Written by blueboar on April 15, 2010 at 10:20 am

    Fuck the “War on Terror”. Fuck the TSA. Fuck Homeland Security. Fuck the Patriot Act. Fuck the pandering politicians that created all of that shit. And double fuck the cowards who believe in “anything that makes us safer”.

    A trillion dollars and thousands of lives later and people are still shaking in their booties and wetting themselves.

  4. Written by tully on April 15, 2010 at 11:45 am

    Just an odd point. Prior to 9/11, the most destructive act of terrorism on US soil was the Murrah Federal building in OKC, committed by homegrown nutjobs. 9/11 so thoroughly eclipsed that event in the national consciousness, I honestly think a lot of folks have completely forgotten it.

    Nonetheless, the ramifications afterward were mainly increased security at government buildings; and stricter guidelines regarding parking near entrances of these facilities, and other large public places. Believe there were new reporting guidelines for purchases of large amounts of fertilizer. Don’t recall photography becoming a major target at the point. Then again, cell phone cameras weren’t common then, nor affordable digital cameras.

    But, I’ve often thought a person taking photos of anything for nefarious purposes probably would be quick, discreet, and unnoticed by any security guards at the location. Anyone standing around, snapping a few shots, fiddling with their camera, eyeing the scene, taking another photo is a person who likes taking photos for their own enjoyment. A camera toting person a guard notices is not the problem.

    But all this ado about nothing makes some folks feel good. The guards get to puff their chests and feel important, and the sheeple feel safe. Those of us who don’t feel good about any of this rant and rave, then figure out work arounds. Much of modern life has become one colossal work around, it seems.

  5. Written by ColinFromLasVegas on April 15, 2010 at 3:08 pm

    Nice series of articles, Rex.

    I have one thing to add to this third installment though. And you kind of alluded to it, but I’ll point it out directly. The word “terrorism” and “casino” have nothing in common. Security in casinos worries about terrorism, but casino owners don’t. They worry about money. And this goes at odds with each other at times.

    A good example of this is say for example a casino receives a bomb threat by telephone. The first thing that probably happens is hotel security will talk with whoever received the call and try to ascertain more information as to where it might be, when it’s set to go off, is it a hoax, etc. Then they will scramble around and look for a suspicious thing out of place somewhere or look for Rex standing there holding dynamite with a lit fuse in one hand and scratching his crotch with the other and a determined look on his face.

    All of this stuff will be conducted pronto. The very, very LAST THING they will do is evacuate the casino. Because casino owners HATE to chase business away. They’d rather take the chance that it is a hoax rather than do that. Even if they see someone ride into the casino full tilt on a camel wearing a towel on his head clutching a suspicious package and screaming, “DEATH TO ALL THE GODLESS GAMBLING INFIDELS WHO RECEIVE DIRECTION FROM STEVE WYNN!”

    Sounds bad, but it’s true. And I do know of occasions where this was the course of action taken for bomb threats in some of the large casinos on the Strip. Money trumps security.

    And hell, Rex, if I know this stuff, then a valid, certifiable terrorist knows it too.

    I don’t mean to scare tourists, but that’s the truth of the matter.

  6. Written by Jinx on April 15, 2010 at 3:21 pm

    Nice article, your not wrong on the social control aspect. It covered a different social control topic and it’s a fiction book but if you have a chance check out ‘State of Fear’ by Michael Crichton. There’s been a huge vacuum since the cold war ended for social control mechanisms ‘terrorism’ is just the new flavor.

  7. Written by wichitaj on April 15, 2010 at 4:48 pm

    terrorism huh, and i thought it was because is it was bad for the environment. im sure that will be next.

  8. Written by philipj on April 15, 2010 at 9:47 pm

    I see no reason why I would be concerned about you taking pictures in my casino, unless you were taking pictures of patrons. And my employees will help you. Now for the few camera bearing people who do not know how to treat my hired help, insult them, talk down to them – we will throw them out for an attitude adjustment. Their crying on the www will not both us in the least. There are way too many decent people with cameras who are doing our advertising for free.

    Only illegal discrimination is illegal. Legal discrimination is legal. Granted the casino can not discriminate for race and the etc’s, however for any other reason or choice, they may discriminate, ie bar, remove people, and set rules which do NOT have to be in writing. I personally have removed people who looked like they were looking for trouble. Perfectly legal to discriminate against people I do not like, as long as there is no illegal discrimination.

    No matter how we address it, the casino or any business is private property.

    With reference to removing/barring/trespassing any from a government site: A person having “propiety
    including the janitor, can “trespass” someone. I asked a judge about trespass law some time ago. He explained all the trespass laws in the US with any easy thought. Part “A” is/was designed for bars that a person exercising propiety(bartender) can order anyone out out. If they did not leave they were guilty of trespassing. Part “B” is that if you receive notice that you are not welcome, posted signs, letter delivered to you, or having been read “the 86 card”, you are trespassing.

    As always, enjoyed you train of thought.


  9. Written by james h on April 16, 2010 at 2:01 am

    i am a retail business owner, and as such we have had a few nut cases through the years…the police point blank told me that my business is private property and i have the right to make anyone leave for any reason, except the etcs…however i can just make up any other reason real or not…if they dont leave they can and will be arrested..its just that simple…so while your thoughts are maybe logical they are not exactly correct.

    it may not be fair, and may be used for reasons not planned on but i guess it was originally designed to protect the businesses….sorry rex…but thems the way the dice rolls bro!

  10. Written by Rex on April 16, 2010 at 2:07 am

    i am a retail business owner, and as such we have had a few nut cases through the years…the police point blank told me that my business is private property and i have the right to make anyone leave for any reason

    The police know the law about as well as I know how to please a woman.

    Nobody is disputing that your business is your private property, but it’s also a place of public accommodation.

    X can be both Y and Z.

    You can do whatever the fuck you want until someone brings you before a judge. At that point, well, things may not be as black-and-white as the cop told you they were.

    Were this the case, companies would never lose lawsuits.

  11. Written by james h on April 16, 2010 at 2:53 am

    if there are any lawyers reading this, whats the law say about this…in the whole legal scheme of things this cant be that complicated.

    i didnt think private property was automaticly public property…im sure there must be something legal that pertains to this…

    dont get me wrong, ive taken plenty of photos in casinos, and been told to stop…but its really inconsistent, sometimes they seem not to care other times they do…..

  12. Written by Rex on April 16, 2010 at 2:58 am


    Read the R-J article that was linked to.

    A lawyer weighs in on the matter.

    As do the police.

  13. Written by AaronC on April 16, 2010 at 6:11 pm

    It’s always amazed me that people think you can have Liberty AND safety, the old quote of “freedom isn’t free” is a little off; the quote should be, “freedom isn’t safe.” The safest place in the world could very well be solitary confinement at the Federal Pen, but I’ll take my chances with Ma&Pa Kettle sporting a new-fangled 3MP point & shoot any day of the week.

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