Are Casinos Public or Private Property?

So, do you think you have the right to do anything you want at a casino? It’s simple – you can’t do whatever you want when casinos are private property. So, are Casinos Public or Private Property? Read on.

Casinos Public or Private Property? - It's All About the Mask

Casinos are public places that are privately owned. Consequently, they can let whomever they want in or keep whomever they want out. You may be asked to leave if you don’t follow the property’s directions or guidelines. And they don’t even need a reason, especially tribal casinos with their native sovereignty. Don’t want to leave? Simple – security will arrest you! 

Recent Example – Masking During Pandemic

While mandated masking is not a “thing” these days, it’s still good to consider wearing a mask in the casino. I do, especially in elevators, where guests are back to see how many can squeeze in, like a contest from the 50s with a Volkswagon.

After a recent visit to Las Vegas (5/2022) and wearing a mask, I contracted Covid. Does this mean masks don’t prevent Covid – NO! But it does mean that it is still a threat to everyone’s health, even those boosted to the max like me!

Is Smoking Back?

I don’t see a rush back to pre-covid smoking conditions in casinos around the country.

In New England, Rhode Island casinos are alone in allowing smoking on the casino floor. Will smoking return to casinos across the country? Currently (6/22), only two casinos have stayed smoke-free (Ballys Twin River & Tiverton).

Related PostAre Smoke-Free Casinos Here To Stay

Casino Can Enforce CDC or State Guidelines

The fundamental law for casinos, just like any other business, is that it doesn’t HAVE to do business with you. You are not entitled to be there. Many laws, such as smoking in restaurants, consider public health and safety of the utmost importance.

Many places in or outside a casino post this sign – “We Reserve the Right to Refuse Service to Anyone.” The rule is still implied if businesses don’t post these signs.

Federal laws are the exception. Those laws prohibit discrimination based on a person’s national origin, race, color, religion, disability, sex, and familial status. Casinos must follow such federal laws as well.

Banned or Trespassed from a Casino

It can happen to the best of us. Just ask Ben Affleck.

The difference between banned and trespassed depends on the degree of your actions. The obvious ones involve prostitution, vagrancy, intoxication, and obnoxious behavior. In addition, casinos consider abusing promotional programs, drawings, or contests undesirable and cheating. By the way, counting cards (sorry, Blackjack players) is considered a not-wanted practice on their private casino floors. While not illegal, you can be backed off or asked to leave if suspected.

Casinos Public or Private Property?

If you refuse to wear your mask in a casino when it’s a mandatory casino guideline, they are within their rights to ask you to leave. The casino staff can arrest you for trespassing if you refuse to leave. You might think you have the right to refuse to mask up, but that right to refusal ended when you stepped on private property. (Medical exceptions do exist)

Related Post – Policing in the Casino Gaming Environment

Sovereign Nations

Casinos Public or Private Property? - It's All About the Mask
The Rainmaker, Foxwoods

Native American territory is sovereign and not entirely subject to U.S. laws. Think of a tribe as a 51st state. It can govern itself and make its laws. But if it does something that overtly disturbs the rest of the country’s public good, federal authorities will step in.

In some instances, players may have less flexibility at tribal casinos. Civil law has little power on tribal land. Tribes will trespass or ban casino guests according to the tribe rules and gaming commission.


Casinos are private property. If they ask you to stop yelling the “F” word at the table, you must do it. You can leave, talk to casino staff, and seek security help if uncomfortable with those who won’t follow guidelines. You have a right to let the staff know.

Just remember, visiting a friend at his home and doing anything you feel you have a right to do in his private domain is a wrong assumption. If he prefers a non-smoking household, he’s entitled to ask you to leave if you “light up” on his property. However, if you and he agree to set up a meth lab on his property, laws prohibit that due to state and federal laws.

Casinos are private properties as well. If you count cards at blackjack or work on a video poker team, you can be asked to stop or leave even though they aren’t illegal actions.

But it’s their property, so it’s their rules.

Follow their rules and state/federal laws, and you won’t be backed off, asked to leave, or banned from the property.