A Nevada man was illegally detained by casino security guards after taking photos of a mural inside the casino Wednesday night.
Robert Woolley said several security guards whisked him into a back room of the The Cannery in North Las Vegas because he refused to show them the images from his cell phone.
He was released 90 minutes later when police arrived and told the security guards that he had not broken any laws.
Nevertheless, the casino permanently banned him from ever entering the casino again.
“They own two casinos in town,” he said in a phone interview with Photography is Not a Crime Thursday night. “I’ve been banned from both of them. They will arrest me for trespassing if I return.”
Woolley, who operates the blog Poker Grump, said he was going to use the images for a regular feature on his blog called “Guess the Casino” where he challenges readers to guess in which casino was the photo taken.
“Most casinos don’t have a problem with this,” he said. “I’ve been told by a few casinos not to take pictures, so I stop.”
But this was the first time a security guard not only demanded to see his images, but then followed him around the casino, calling for backup when he refused to show them.
They stopped him just as he was about to walk out the door into the parking lot, as he explained in his blog post of the incident:
They finally announced clearly that I was being detained and I was not free to go. Two of them were openly armed. I asked the grounds for my detention. They said it was because I was taking pictures. I asked whether they had reason to think that I had committed a felony, which is the only suspicion that triggers their authority to detain. Yes, I was told–taking pictures. I asked, incredulously, “You think that’s a felony?” The guy said, “Yes, it’s a violation of our policy”
According to Nevada law, casino security guards only have the authority to detain a person if that person has committed a felony.
“They should put up a sign if they don’t want people taking pictures,” he said.
I am a multimedia journalist who has been fighting a lengthy legal battle after having photographed Miami police against their wishes in Feb. 2007. Please help the fight by donating to my Legal Defense Fund in the top left sidebar. And join my Facebook blog network to keep updated on the latest articles.