Photo Frenzy

One of the biggest changes in casino protocol in recent years has to do with the taking of photographs. It used to be that taking a picture of any sort in a casino was expressly prohibited. In fact, so staunch was the policy that from time to time certain casinos would relax the rule as a marketing promotion. That’s all changed.

The proliferation of smartphones forced the casinos to alter their policies, as too many people with too many camera phones made it impossible to enforce the no-photography rules. Today you can shoot away just about anywhere without fear of a visit from security. But what if you’re after something a little different from the run-of-the-mill iPhone photo?

One new option is the iSnap photo booth, which is now stationed in select casinos around town. I know there are iSnap kiosks at the Palms and New York-New York, and I’ve heard they’re also in other MGM Resorts International properties, such as MGM Grand, Luxor and Circus Circus. When you spot a kiosk, simply walk up, strike a pose, say cheese and push the button. Your photo displays instantly, so if you don’t like it, you can take another—or as many more as you need to get a good one. After you choose your photo, the system lets you distribute it in several ways: You can send it to your own email address or the address of a friend (with a message), or you can post it directly onto Facebook right from the kiosk. These kiosks operate 24/7. Best of all, the photos and delivery are free.

Another way to get a free photo is at the $1 million display at Binion’s. For years this was one of Vegas’ must-do activities, but the original display was dismantled and its 100 $10,000 bills were sold off. Now there’s a new million-dollar display in an acrylic pyramid atop a poker table in the center of the casino. The new display consists of $270,000 in $100 bills, $688,000 in $20 bills, and $42,000 in $1 bills. Getting your photo taken with the loot is easy: Just show up between 10 a.m. and 11 p.m. daily and tell ’em you want to get a pic. Your photo will be ready to retrieve 30 minutes later. If you’re not already a players club member, you can join and get $10 in free slot-play to use while you’re waiting.

I know of one other in-casino photo-op: a cool, old-style photo booth in the Bourbon Room at the Venetian. Enter through the closed curtains, pose and snap your shot. But this one’s not free; it costs $5. So why pay when you can snap your own with your cellphone? Well, it’s private inside that booth. I guess I can see a value in that.