Fact or Myth? The Top 5 Vegas Questions Answered
Here’s the thing about that phrase you’ve heard: “What happens here, stays here.” That’s an advertising slogan, okay? It’s not the city motto. While Las Vegas may be called “Sin City” it is still part of the United States. You’re not in Monaco or on Mars. No doubt, Vegas encourages all our visitors to loosen up and bend some personal boundaries, but there are still do’s and don’ts. In case you are new here, let’s cover a few of the top assumptions people make, based on the typical conversations we hear in the airport.
PAYING FOR NOOKIE IS LEGAL
MYTH. Let’s get this clear one last time (it probably won’t be the last time, but we can try): Paying for sex is not legal in Las Vegas. It is legal only in Nevada counties where the population is less than 700,000. The closest brothel to Vegas is in Pahrump, about an hour away. Yes, you can hire someone as an “escort” or “private dancer” to your room, but legally at least, that is all they are supposed to offer in exchange for money. That doesn’t mean more than that doesn’t happen; we’re just telling you, it isn’t any more legal here than it is in New York, mmmkay?
YOU CAN DRINK ON THE STREET
FACT. It’s fine, as long as it’s not in a glass container, which is why all the bars and clubs switch you out to a plastic to-go cup (well, that—and they want their glass). It’s also how those goofy yard-long slushy tubes, Eiffel Towers, and hollow guitars got popular. Cops won’t harass you for drinking—but they can still cuff you if you’re acting like a drunk A-hole, so don’t think you can taunt them. Oh also, it’s still illegal to have an open container in a vehicle here, and you wouldn’t believe how many DUI arrests happen. So, be smart: Uber it.
IT’S TOTALLY OKAY TO BURN A SPLIFF RIGHT OUT IN THE OPEN
MYTH. Right now, it is okay to smoke marijuana here if you have a Nevada medical marijuana card—some places say a card from another state is okay—and you are purchasing from one of several licensed dispensaries in town. But that doesn’t mean you can smoke in public, or in your car, and the casinos are still not cool with it, period. There is a full legalization initiative on the ballot in November 2016, but it’s anyone’s guess how that will go.
GOING FULL COSPLAY DOWN THE VEGAS STRIP IS COOL
FACT. Go for it. On the public parts of the sidewalk, there are even costumed performers hanging out to pose for pictures with tourists in exchange for tips. Maybe you could even make some side cabbage. We’ll be behind you, Snapchatting the whole way! However, casino security will stop you on a dime if you walk inside wearing a mask. (It’s that whole robbing-the-place deal they are concerned with—and yeah, it’s happened). Also, downtown on Fremont Street, costumed performers are more restricted, so make sure it’s clear you just dress this way all the time.
YOU CAN COUNT CARDS GAMBLING, JUST LIKE IN THAT ONE MOVIE
MYTH. Yeah, we’re pretty sure that movie didn’t end well. While there is no specific law against card counting, or other methods of finding advantage in card games, all casinos are private entities, not public spaces, and gambling isn’t a right, even if you are over 21. They may not notice, unless you get a little too good at it. But they can kick you out for any reason at all, even if they just don’t like your “I support single moms” T-shirt. However, they’re not allowed to detain you or ask for your ID unless they are accusing you of a crime, so best to just leave the premises.