Casinos have long been known for prohibiting photography, especially around gaming tables. However, in a move designed to attract younger gamblers, MGM Resorts International is implementing a new policy that allows guests to capture photos, videos, and even live streams.
KTNV 13 in Las Vegas contacted MGM Resorts for more information on the casino’s updated guest policy, and learned that photos and videos must be for a guest’s personal use. Further, while live streaming and recording “long” videos, prior approval is still required.
Interestingly, KTNV 13 reports that guests can take photos at a poker table at the staff’s discretion. However, live streaming will never be allowed from the poker room.
MGM Resorts officials also claim guests can text while playing games, provided they aren’t holding up the game for other guests, and even briefly talk on the phone if they aren’t actively playing at the table. This is a significant departure from usual casino rules, given that there have been longstanding concerns about privacy and cheating.
“We’re thrilled to see the excitement of our players as they enjoy our gaming options and strive to be a social media-friendly environment,” MGM officials say. “However, we are mindful of the privacy and safety of all our guests and our policies reflect that balance.”
The new policies only apply to its Las Vegas properties, although MGM Resorts is working on enacting similar updated guest policies in other markets. MGM Resorts has nine Las Vegas casino properties, including MGM Grand, Bellagio, Aria, New York-New York, Excalibur, Luxor, Mandalay Bay, The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, and Park MGM.
Las Vegas Review-Journal reports on the new policy with a “selfie” angle. “It’s well established that casino companies have been looking for ways to entice younger players into their gambling halls,” writes Richard N. Velotta, noting that casinos have tried many ways to attract younger gamblers in the unending pursuit of creating new generations of gamblers.
However, despite these numerous attempts to pull young adults into casinos, policies forbidding smartphones, selfies, and videos have kept some people off the gaming floor.
For guests worried about people disrupting the flow of games by being on their newly allowed smartphones, MGM says that guests must be mindful and that any behavior that slows down games or annoys other guests remains prohibited. MGM officials will need to determine if someone is being disruptive and deal with them accordingly. Tripods, lights, or any camera accessories are still forbidden.
As Velotta notes, it’s likely that other casinos will quickly follow suit, hoping that smartphone-addicted gamblers don’t ignore their properties in favor of MGM’s social media-friendly new rules. MGM will likely see a significant uptick in free advertising on social media platforms now, and competitors won’t want to miss out on its piece of the pie.
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