Las Vegas Leisure Guide

Frequently Asked Questions about Las Vegas

Las Vegas Leisure Guide receives hundreds of emailed questions a month from people planning their visit to Las Vegas. Here are a few of the more common ones. Yes, some may appear to be overly detailed, but this is due to the myriad of actual detailed questions we have received over the years. If after reading this page you find you still have an inquiry, please click on the link at the bottom for a personal reply.

At the current time the legal age for gambling or gaming in the State of Nevada is 21 years of age. There have been rumors that local goverment officials are considering reducing it to 18. If that happens this is the first place you will read about it, but until then assume it is still 21. Casinos are expected to adhere to very strict rules to maintain their gaming licenses. No one under the age of 21 is allowed in the casino area nor allowed to linger in the casino area while a parent is gambling. If under 21, passing through gaming areas to access other facilities should be done only via the designated paths often indicated by a lack of carpeting and/or along outer walls away from gambling devices.

Any person under 21 who plays and wins a hand-payable jackpot will routinely be asked for ID for tax purposes and if discovered as underage the jackpot is automatically forfeited. Don't try to switch places with an older friend as it is also routine to check the overhead camera recordings on most jackpots to see who was actually playing the machine when it hit.

Most casinos do not allow photography of any type in the gaming machine or table areas. A few expressly permit it. Another strictly enforced rule is no use of cellular telephones in the sports book betting areas.

Not surprisingly, this is our second most asked series of questions. The legal age to consume alcohol in Las Vegas is 21 years of age. Before you ask: This means you can legally drink AND/OR purchase alcoholic drinks if your accepted photo ID (Drivers license, military ID or passport) confirms you were born 21 years or more prior to the current date (please see also answer to prior question above concerning legal gambling age exceptions).

YES, you may legally start drinking at the stroke of midnight in Las Vegas (Pacific Time Zone) (regardless of your location of birth or current home residence) initiating the date matching your birthdate stated on your accepted photo ID; whether or not you will be able to enter the drinking establishment to start your birthday party BEFORE midnight will rely on the particular situation (see below) or integrity of the door person or bartender.

NO, you may NOT legally purchase alcohol and give it to your friends or family under the age of 21 - this is called, amongst other things, 'corrupting a minor' and can result in immediate arrest and a lengthy trial.

YES, with very few exceptions, most restaurants which serve food as well as alcohol DO permit underage persons inside to EAT (NOT TO DRINK ALCOHOL) especially when accompanied by a guardian of legal drinking age, but only in the dining areas of the establishment and only during times that food is being served, but never in the bar area when there is a separate bar area defined (often designated by a full or partial wall or railing); inquire in advance, when making reservations or upon entry to be sure. In nearly all cases your under 21 friends and family will NOT be permitted in nightclubs or bars unless they are specifically indicated as "Under 21" clubs, where NO alcohol is served.

NO, if you are under 21, you may NOT drink alcohol at casino production shows and concerts even when drinks are included in the price of the show ticket and persons under 21 are admitted. Soft drinks and bottled water are almost always available in such cases.

Las Vegas, Nevada does have very liberal liquor laws, and we certainly don't want to discourage anyone having a good time, but you should be forewarned that there are stiff penalties for DRIVING under the influence, and disorderly conduct STARTING from a minimum mandatory 24-72 hours in jail, $1000's in fines AND 6 months revocation of your drivers license (which is typically notified to your home state as well). Driving with any tested Blood Alcohol Content of .08 or above (which is conceivably as little as 2-3 average drinks, pints or shots - Far lower limits apply if you're under 21) or evidence of any of a LONG list of controlled substances without a prescription, can be prosecuted as DUI or DWI. Second offenses, or any offense involving death or serious injury, command exponentially higher penalties. You and passengers can also be fined or arrested for the mere presence of an UNSEALED container of alcohol in the passenger compartment of a private vehicle unless it is ENTIRELY empty... in which case it is generally considered recycling or a souvenir - YOU figure it out. Limos and buses are generally excluded from this rule, so check with the professional driver to be sure. Police operated "Sobriety Checkpoints" are common near special events and on busy holidays. Nearly identical laws apply when operating any powered watercraft, such as on Lake Mead, regarding driving and drinking and are enthusiastically enforced by park police. Our sincere recommendation is, if you intend to drink assign a Designated Driver (DD), walk, take a taxi, hire a limousine or use public transportation for the evening. If you should ever find yourself charged with a Nevada DUI or DWI offense DO contact a Nevada based attorney ASAP through the local yellow pages or bar association, preferably before you leave town, as Nevada DUI laws can be substantially different from many other states.

Although it is offically NOT allowed per the law books, drinking on public sidewalks and other areas on the Strip and Downtown is rarely if ever enforced. Thus it is entirely common to consume alcohol in public areas, including the public sidewalks within the Las Vegas city limits which includes all of Downtown, The Strip and close-by areas.

Due to some currently developing (Mid-2014), and seemingly constantly changing new laws, rules in the area Downtown along Fremont Street, can now vary from block to block and may or may not permit movement of drinks or certain containers purchased on one city block to the next or even out the establishment door. In some cases even the establishment owners and authorities are not always sure or in agreement as to what the rules are that week or on the next block, so if you want to be absolutely safe, ask the owner AND a law enforcement officer, or drink up before leaving the property where you bought it (unless it is a gift shop in which case it will likely be posted that you can't even open it until you leave Fremont Street entirely... see what we mean about new complicated rules?).

As previously mentioned, over-intoxication and disorderly conduct is frowned upon, so stay within your own limits. On special occasions (New Years Eve and Independence Day for example) there may be bans on glass bottles and/or aluminum cans for the Strip and the Downtown area. Plastic cups and sports bottles are allowed at these times and are either provided at point of purchase or often available at hotel/casino exit doors. When inside a casino or hotel there is seldom any restrictions on carrying drinks from one bar, restaurant or playing location to another with the exception of some showrooms and theaters where it will be clearly posted. Individual shops may also have rules about carrying in food and drink of any kind.

The town of North Las Vegas, Henderson and other outlying areas have very DIFFERENT regulations forbidding removal of alcohol from bars, etc. so check with your host or doorman if in doubt. Many bars and liquor stores are open 24 hours a day. There are also special posted laws for convenience stores, grocery stores and other retail liquor outlets restricting consumption in the immediate vacinity. Most of all, always remember to drink responsibly and realize that the hot, dry desert air in the summer months can have very adverse health affects on people consuming alcohol such as rapid dehydration and deadly heat stroke, even after dark. Drink plenty of water as well!
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