A decade ago, pool season didn’t mean much to locals. Casino pools were the sole province of hotel guests, so the only way to get into one was to book a room yourself or know someone who had. About that time, a couple of clever locals-casino operators realized that their pools were underused assets and invited the public in for once-a-week parties with hot dogs, beer, and maybe a live band. People liked it and a few others joined in. But it wasn’t until the Hard Rock went a light year farther and debuted “Rehab” that everything changed.
Parties by the pools have morphed into an elaborate entertainment concept called “Daylife,” and locals are an integral part of making it work. Hence, what used to be off-limits can now be a big part of your social itinerary.
I’d need a few pages to list the details about who deals blackjack by the pool, who’s running parties you can pay your way into, and which ones are “toptional” (there are seven), but I can give you the all-important list of casinos where at least one pool is open to the public. As I write, that list includes Aria, Artisan, Bally’s, Caesars Palace, Cosmopolitan, Encore, Flamingo, Golden Nugget, Green Valley Ranch, Hard Rock, Luxor, M Resort, Mandalay Bay, MGM Grand, The Mirage, Palms, Planet Hollywood, Red Rock Resort, Rio, Rumor, Silverton, Sunset Station, Tropicana and the Venetian. That’s two dozen on the noggin.
Are they free? Usually not. But fees ranging from $15 to $50 for out-of-towners are almost always reduced for locals. And several pools charge no admission for locals. They are Artisan, Mandalay Bay’s Moorea Beach Club (weekdays only), Palms (every day but Fridays, when there’s a cover for the “Ditch Fridays” party), Rumor, Silverton and Venetian’s TAO (weekdays only).
That’s right, show your local ID and you’ll be partyin’ by their pools this summer. You have to be 21, and you should definitely call ahead to confirm the policy, because lord knows they can change quickly here.