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Laws Regarding Cell Phone Use in Las Vegas Casinos

Mobile devices are more common in Las Vegas than slot machines in casinos. Since smartphones are everywhere, they’re not banned from being around the slots or live table games, but how they’re used does matter. Rules and etiquette have changed during the past decade, and casino operators will enforce cell phone use and rules at their discretion.


Cell Phone Use During Live Poker HandsLas Vegas Casinos

The Aria Casino made it clear in 2016 that they would allow “2-way communication devices” during rounds of poker. Take note of these considerations:

  1. Enforcing a no phone ban is tough due to the prevalence of cell phones in our society. Policing customers who use their phones during a hand and waiting for them to finish a call before dealing wastes time.
  2. Players regulate themselves. Skilled players concentrate on the game. Additionally, those who get on a phone during a game aren’t paying attention which decreases their chances of winning and benefits the casino.
  3. Fighting such a pervasive trend can be detrimental to a business. A few years earlier, the Wynn, Bellagio, and Venetian installed power strips beneath the tables to let players charge their phones during play. Why? This kept players in the room and gave them more reason to stay.

During a World Series of Poker in 2017, a write-up in Poker Listings described how “cell phones have become an epidemic” and players are gazing at the screens when they’re not playing a hand.

Cell Phone Use at Blackjack Tables

Cell phone use at blackjack tables in Las Vegas is now accepted. Recent table renovations at the Palace Station and Palms casinos feature phone charging stations at the tables.

The larger concern is the apps that can be downloaded to the phone.

Take note:

  • Blackjack dealers will be suspicious of cell phone use. The concern revolves around card counting apps on the phones.
  • Use your brain and not an app to keep track of cards.
    • If you count cards in your head and win once in a while, you’re simply a Vegas success story.
    • Get caught using a card counting app on your phone, and you’ll get told to move to another gaming area, or worse: you could be charged with a crime. Be careful that you’re not committing a felony.
  • How well you’re doing matters. Casinos in different cities have their own regulations. Know them. Las Vegas casinos have come down hard on card counters. If you’re winning way more than you’re losing, you’re going to draw attention and be asked to leave.

Cell Phone Use at a Sportsbook

Cell phones were once banned at the sportsbooks in Las Vegas, but that’s no longer true.

Mobile apps are used consistently, and common-sense rules and general courtesy are necessary. Place bets on your iPhone, but don’t talk on it non-stop while watching games. It’s distracting

What’s Not Negotiable with Cell Phones in Las Vegas

Each land-based casino in Las Vegas falls under the authority of the Nevada Gaming Commission, a board that makes one rule clear:  no cheating.

  • Players aren’t allowed to have “any cards, dice, mechanical device or any other cheating device whatever, the use of which is prohibited by statute or ordinance.”
  • Use a cell phone to take a brief call or send a quick text message, but then get back to the game. Using your phone for general communication is legal and allowed. Using it to increase winnings or cheat is not.

Casinos are Catering to Cell Phone Users

You’ll be welcome to use your cell phone at a casino in Las Vegas as long as you are polite, respectful, and don’t use them to cheat or interfere with the pace of play at tables.

Casinos know that the digital era is here, and even land-based casinos have to keep up with the times. Nearly half of all revenue is made off the casino floor, and since virtually every player has a cell phone, that means casinos must cater to cell phone users if they want to maintain a high flow of revenue.

MGM launched a WiFi gaming network in 2016 that doesn’t require players’ physical presence on the casino floor. This innovation affected a number of gaming aspects:

  • It impacted nine properties,
  • marked the first digital and interactive tournament to be held by a regulated casino in the U.S., and
  • allowed players compete with each other on their devices whether they’re at the pool or bar.

Beyond the Cell Phone

Technology’s impact on gaming and land-based casinos is expanding far beyond the cell phone. ESP Gaming has a studio to film e-sports events with a live audience. Hosted at the Aria Casino, it originally was built for poker but can accommodate other games.

The goal is to provide an intimate venue that creates a unique digital experience, plus it includes lifestyle content that’s easily viewed on a smartphone.

Because cell phones are welcome in Las Vegas casinos without any specific set of rules that apply universally to all casino and gaming properties, you must be aware of how you’re using your phone, and you must not rely on the technology to play the games.

The Rules for Cell Phone Use in Las Vegas are Simple:

  1. Use your phone on one of the casino’s gaming networks.
  2. If you are playing a table game, keep your phone by your side unless you absolutely have to take a brief call.
  3. Be polite, and limit talking and texting to avoid distracting others.

As long as you follow rules of etiquette and do not use any apps to cheat, Las Vegas casinos will welcome you and your cell phone.

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