Rumor has it that if you're gambling in a Las Vegas casino and need to keep track of the time, you better have brought your own time keeping device. Casino walls are kept clock-free so gamblers get lost in games, thus spending (and potentially losing) more money without burdensome time tracking getting in the way. Or so they say.
We researched this claim and couldn't locate a definitive answer either way — do casinos shun clocks so players spend more, or is that an urban legend? Importantly, we would note that Casino.org, a gaming industry news website, reported in 2021 that Macau, an independent region on the southern coast of China, will require electronic gaming tables to have clocks installed in "an attempt to comply with the need for responsible gambling."
The claim that the casinos on the famed Las Vegas Strip don't have clocks has been online for years. Sal Piacente, a former casino security staffer who now operates UniverSal Game Protection Development, a consulting company that helps casinos protect against foul play, told Yahoo Travel:
"Two in the morning is the exact same thing as two in the afternoon... They have stripper poles, they have party pits," Sal says. "You go to Vegas right now, it looks like a gentlemen's club. You see girls dancing on the poles. It keeps the guys at the table."
But "Casino Boss" Dustin Boshers, director of casino operations at Red Rock Casino Resort & Spa in Las Vegas, refuted that claim. In a TikTok video addressing some viral rumors about casino operations, Boshers said that there are clocks in casinos, namely in sportsbook areas, since those bets are time sensitive.
Boshers also added that otherwise, the lack of clocks isn't unique to casinos.
"The next time you're in a grocery store, the next time you're in a Wal-Mart, next time you're almost anywhere, look how many clocks are on just walls in regular buildings," he said. "There aren't a lot of clocks out there, so you think about it."
We would note that people generally keep their own timekeeping devices, whether its wristwatches, or, in more recent years, smartphones, on hand. It may be more challenging to get out a phone, especially if it's tucked away, than it is to glance at a wall clock to check the time, but if you really want to play a few slots while on a time crunch, chances are you have your own timekeeping device on hand. So, the idea that casinos don't have clocks in order to trap gamblers in a Twilight Zone place out of time doesn't seem like the most airtight tactic.
In our own journeys to Las Vegas, this Snopes reporter doesn't recall either seeing or looking for clocks on walls in casinos. In an effort to get a better sense of whether casinos purposely make their gambling havens clock free, we reached out to a few Vegas casino operators, namely MGM, Caesar's, and Resorts World Las Vegas. None responded to our questions in time for publication, but we will update this story when and if they do, and if we find further information supporting or debunking the claim.