Do not doubt even for a second that there are tourist traps aplenty in a city that attracts millions of tourists every year (Las Vegas had 38.8 million visitors in 2022, up 20.5% from 32.2 million a year before). Even experienced tourists, however, may not be aware of some Las Vegas frauds.
It is simple to get trapped in the net of all the lights and bustle and forget that there are individuals attempting to take advantage of you before you even leave the airport or get on the I-15 going to the city that is rated fifth worldwide for tourism-related awards.
It should be simple to recognize those attempting to con you as long as you are aware of that fact beforehand. So that you may avoid being taken advantage of and instead enjoy your stay in “Sin City”, let us take a deeper look at the most typical scams in Las Vegas.
Taxi Scams in Las Vegas
Unfortunately, the taxi scam targets a lot of visitors to Las Vegas. Double-check that your cab driver does not take the tunnel route if you are taking a taxi from the airport. The famed “Strip”, a section of Las Vegas Boulevard noted for its wealth of resort hotels and casinos, which you must visit (otherwise, you may as well say that you have not been to Vegas even though you have actually been there), is this way reached by taking the lengthy route around; this tactic is still often employed by the cabbers. Do not mention it is your first visit (even though it is) if your driver asks.
Additionally, you may simply request that they take the quickest route (Swenson) or, for even more convenience, request to take you to the Caesar’s Palace (or whatever hotel you are staying at), not through the tunnel. Take an Uber or Lyft instead (even better) since you can check the route on your phone and it is typically less expensive.
The Strip now has flat prices for cabs depending on zones. You could discover, though, that your taxi driver nonetheless tries to charge you a few dollars more than the predetermined upon fare to, say, Flamingo. Now, when they attempt to tell you it is, say, $29, you are aware it was only meant to be $27 since it is Zone 3. Drivers are liable to penalties, suspensions, or license revocation for failing to charge the exact zone fee, so you can just tell them it is $27 and they will not disagree. Unfortunately, if you do not question it, some of them will still try to scam you.
Things to Stay Away from on the Strip Include Scams and Tourist Traps
One of the most obvious indicators that you have been deceived (or about to be) in Las Vegas is when strangers approach you and make uninvited offers or give you freebies.
On the Strip, along the walkways, and under the pedestrian overpasses, there are all different types of people. If someone attempts to give you something for free without your asking, it is typically a fraud. Tourists frequently become entangled in the eagerness, and after a few drinks, their judgment is not as clear-cut as normal. Therefore, the following should be avoided.
Getting Pics with Strip Characters
One of the tourists’ favorite aspects about strolling the Strip (and Fremont) in Vegas is taking in everyone’s elaborate costumes. However, you will continually have to tip any of these people if you want a picture with them.
The majority of these individuals will not ask for the money up front; they will do so afterward. They use their words extremely carefully, and they always ask if you want your photo taken with them. Most visitors respond “Sure, why not” without even giving it a second thought. They do a great job of luring you into tipping them handsomely if you do not bring it up prior to the photo being taken.
The most costly items are often the male models and showgirls, who cost approximately $40 apiece. Always request the price upfront; you may then bargain or decline the offer. But if you are about to strike a photo-ready stance, it could be difficult to leave. Other than that, $5 or $10 would typically do, although irrespective of how much you offer, they probably will attempt to collect more from you. You will be okay for as long as you anticipate this and understand when to go.
The Las Vegas Welcome Sign may also give you this kind of headache. Usually, when you arrive, someone will offer to snap a photo of you and the rest of the group/friends/relatives. Depending on the person, they can even claim to be the “official photographer”, which is a falsehood. Once more, it is okay if you are prepared to shell out them to snap your picture. Just be aware that you will need to tip them afterward.
Avoid Playing Three-Card Monte
One of the biggest cons in Vegas is the three-card Monte game, and we know individuals who ended up losing hundreds of dollars playing it in just a matter of seconds. The objective of this card game is to predict the placement of one of three cards after the dealer shuffles the cards face down.
These individuals set their stands on the sidewalks across the Strip, and to attract customers, there is typically a lot of activity and excitement. They have participants who are fully committed to it, including bettors and spotters. Once they get you interested, they present the winning as being simple. To provide the impression that you can defeat them, they occasionally have someone place a bad bet.
When you lay your cash down, they immediately employ their lightning-fast deception techniques to steal it from you. To lure you to wager a lot more, they may occasionally even let you score your first few bets. At that point, they have you. Watch out for versions of this, such as the ball-beneath-cup game and the shell game. Every process is the same.
A simple method to prevent being duped on the Strip is to keep in mind that it is against the law to run a gaming establishment without a license; none of the persons using the sidewalks to work have permits!
Strangers Giving You Free Gifts/Items
Although it should be evident, many unsuspecting travelers nonetheless experience this. Refuse any freebies that are offered to you.
Some rappers or musicians may offer you their CDs “for free”, but as soon as you accept them, they will not stop harassing you until you hand over cash. Additionally, avoid purchasing anyone’s CD on the Strip because they are frequently blank (we believe this one fades away soon; who still uses CDs?). They are quite skilled at gaining your interest in the discussion so that you get excited about supporting them and decide to purchase their CD, which is ultimately blank.
On rare occasions, someone in monastic garb would come up to you and offer you bracelets or beads for good luck. Once you accept the gift, they will urge you for a donation frequently, and whatever you offer is typically insufficient. Sometimes “spiritual females” would approach you and try to con you in the same way. They have a really pleasant and caring disposition and seem to want to do nothing more than bless you with their bracelets, necklaces, and charms, but they will be pleading for money.
Never take samples of lotion, face cream, or skin cream. If you do, the salespeople will not go away and will entice you into their store to show you the miracle ointment on half of the surface of your face before attempting to convince you to buy it. It costs several hundred dollars. It really does make your skin feel amazing, but that is only because they have given you a small massage and the sales presentation makes you believe it. Additionally, they will browbeat you into paying for or purchasing their goods. Typically, this takes place at the entrance of the Miracle Mile stores.
It is typically an excellent precaution to always keep your wallet or pocketbook safe and protected when you are on the Strip or Fremont Street. Pickpockets are still active, particularly at the northern end of the Strip’s sketchier neighborhoods. When you are in a crowded space with a lot of activity around you that might possibly divert your attention, we advise being mindful of your surroundings.
Promoters for VIP Clubs
For starters, never give a promoter money. There is seldom a reason to pay a promoter because they are often compensated by the clubs dependent on how many patrons they bring in.
Even promoters offering you free limo rides and VIP access to clubs should be avoided. These services are always free, and if you truly want them, the hotel concierge can typically arrange hookups for you.
Almost wherever you go in a casino, you can run upon “timeshare” people. They frequently ask questions like “How long are you in town for?” and you will recognize them easily when they do; they might ask you and your companion are you two already wed or are you here on your honeymoon?
They may promise you free dining passes, theater tickets, or a variety of other freebies. In return, you will just have to witness a “brief presentation”. In actuality, you will be drawn into spending at least 4 hours with them. In return for the free goods, some individuals are okay with this, but you must keep in mind that it is not simply 4 hours of your valuable time. You must possess the self-assurance to turn around and not make a purchase. These are very skilled, persuasive salespeople who make it very difficult for you to reject them and go.
Casino Rip-Offs and Scams
The casinos in Las Vegas are not always a fraud, but it is true that the house always comes out on top. Therefore, you should not ever hope to win large.
The worst odds are on the slot machines, but they are still entertaining to play. Additionally, avoid ever playing Blackjack that pays 6:5 while indulging in table games. This increases the house’s (the dealer’s) already substantial edge. Search for 3:2 Blackjack tables instead. The Ellis Island Hotel has $5 blackjack tables that pay 3:2.
Are you new to gambling or uncertain about how to play table games? There are former dealers who offer gaming lessons that can teach you how to play table games and share some secret knowledge with you. Find them online. Before going on a casino experience on the Strip, you may read a few books about gambling methods or watch some YouTube tutorials. Or, at least, visit any of the best Canadian online casinos in 2023 at Topcasinoexpert.com/country/canada/ to get acquainted with card games.
Stuff to Steer Clear of in Las Vegas That Is Expensive
Convenience Stores and Hotel Shops
Avoid purchasing anything from the stores housed within hotels and casinos, including bottled water, alcohol, trinkets, sweets, and other items. Not only are they incredibly pricey and overpriced, but the majority of them do not have price tags on their goods.
Purchase from independent convenience stores, retailers, and pharmacies on the Strip instead.
Although technically not a scam, Las Vegas hotel resort fees are something you should be aware of, especially if it is your first trip to Vegas. This should not come as a surprise when you go to check out.
Unfortunately, these are the realities of vacationing in Las Vegas, despite the fact that the hotels assert that the resort charge includes access to the gym, pool, and WiFi. However, it is really a ruse to make it appear as though you are receiving a discount on your hotel room when, in reality, you are merely paying full price after the resort charge is taken into account.
There are places to stay in Vegas where you will not have to pay for resort fees? These are, for instance, the Casino Royale on the Strip (just across from the Mirage) and the Four Queens Hotel and Casino on Fremont Street.
Added Charges on Restaurant Bills
The latest fad is to add an additional tax to your meal bill in order to assist recoup costs since many eateries suffered in 2020. Typically, this is referred to as a Concession and Franchise Fee (CNF). Before paying your bill, read the tiny print. If there are any additional fees or taxes that you are unsure about, always ask your waitress or the manager.
It is a good idea to be aware of any additional costs that many locations are trying to impose and get away with, even if it is not always a scam.
Final Advice for Las Vegas Scam Avoidance
Because you can feel like you are being disrespectful by avoiding them, it might be difficult. However, the best strategy for avoiding scams in Vegas is to just ignore anyone attempting to catch your attention and continue on your way.
If you would rather, you can also simply nod your head, say “Thank you”, and continue going. Unfortunately, once you start a discussion with one of these timeshare salespeople or hustlers, they are quite excellent at keeping you there. And kicking money out of your pocket.