Search Results for: carpets

New Strip carpets added

Over the weekend, Suni and I made a trek up and down the Las Vegas Strip. Of course, I took a few pictures of new carpets at the MGM Grand, Flamingo, and Harrah’s, as well as Planet Hollywood. See them all here:

Die is Cast casino carpet gallery 1

In the meantime, here’s a teaser: see if you can guess where this carpet came from:

mystery carpet

Vegas carpet in Wired

There’s another article about casino carpet available today–this is a little piece in Wired magazine:

“The carpets definitely play a big part in keeping the town as surreal as it is,” said Maluszynski by e-mail. “Thought has been given to the carpeting by people who want to create this special atmosphere, [one] that defines Vegas as a gambling city.”

via Ugly Vegas Carpets Want You to Keep Playing | Raw File.

I’m really going to update the essay that they reference to make it a little less tongue in cheek. On the Internet, no one can hear you being sardonic. I think I’ll add some more serious reasons why carpet looks like it does: mostly to hide stains and to jazz up a pretty big space. Thanks to Luxor and Aria, we’ve seen what less gaudy carpet looks like in a casino: funereal.

The urban legend that it makes you look at the machines is patently ridiculous. As bipeds with their heads 5-6 feet off the ground, humans generally look at about eye level while they’re walking. unless they’re hiking over treacherous ground. It’s not like our default mode to to stare at our shoes while we walk. The other legend, that it’s to hide chips, is flat-out stupid. Casinos want players to gamble their chips, not lose them. If a player loses money, or a chip, whoever finds it is supposed to report it to lost and found. If no one claims it after 30 days, they keep it. (At least that’s how it is in most places I’m familiar with.) If that happens, it’s a stone cold lock that the money’s not getting gambled at the casino. What kind of manager would want to encourage that?

It would be nice if casino carpet was really that mystical, but it’s really pretty common sense stuff if you think about it for a while.

Best carpet ever

If nothing else, today I learned that I’m not the only one with casino carpet as a wall decoration (three guesses about which carpet it is). I got an email from a gentleman whose father manufactured carpets during the 1950s and 1960s. He made this one for an unknown Las Vegas casino, and now it’s hanging on his son’s wall as art.

Unknown casino carpet

It’s definitely one of the more charming examples of the genre I’ve seen. Dated, yes; tacky, yes; fun, absolutely yes. I’d like to see more of this, but in a modern interpretation we’d probably get fake Ed Hardy designs galore. That would make the old Trump Plaza carpet look like a work of art. For some reason kitsch for the sake of kitsch is intolerable to me, but absolutely earnest kitsch is fine.

Anyone have any idea where this was from? From the turban and the musical instruments I’d guess the Sahara’s Casbar lounge, but I honestly am stumped.

Casino carpet game

Here is a cool way for you to waste some more time at work:

A Las Vegas version of the classic "Concentration" game with images of Las Vegas Casino Carpets.

Uncover all of the blocks by matching the pictures of the Casino Carpets.

Coolvegasmap – Las Vegas Picture Game – Casino Carpet Pictures.

Have fun!

Queen for a day

Interesting piece in the LA Times today about yet another one-day casino:

Las Vegas casino openings typically demand red carpets, cocktail parties, celebrity guest lists and fireworks. But not so at the Queen of Hearts — it's a one-day casino.

This spartan, eight-hour event is everything the Strip is not: small, unpretentious and quiet, with no crowds or drunks, no cocktail waitresses or high-rolling "whales," and no Midwestern tourists. It's common, and perfectly OK, for no gamblers to show up.

One-day casinos — mandated by law for a handful of places that are closed but want to hang onto their gaming rights — are governed by the same rules as high-end resorts with thousands of machines. They're the gambling industry's equivalent of a solar eclipse. They unfold a few times each year. They typically get some press, and people who stumble upon them are often befuddled but intrigued.

Casino stays in the game for a day – Los Angeles Times.

The first thing I noticed about the article was the very unflattering picture of the patron in the orange shirt–I mean, come on, photog: you could have waited until she closed her mouth to snap away. But no one said they had to run that photo on the main page. The next two in the slide show are much better.

This was a good story, but the one-day deals are getting to the point where they aren’t newsworthy anymore.

A follow-up to yesterday’s post: as promised, this site now yields the lone Google search result for the phrase “bacteria free Monday.”

I think I’ll start using the phrase in the same sense that Stringer Bell used forty degree day (link is not at all work-safe, unless your workplace likes profanity). So when things aren’t going great, but aren’t going too badly, I’ll say that it’s just another bacteria free Monday.

Even if it’s Tuesday.

At some point, I’ve got to use that title for a book.

RGJ on casino carpet

The RGJ quoted me extensively in a piece on, what else, casino carpets last week. Here’s a sample:

Casino carpeting is a hobby for Schwartz. He has posted shots of casino carpets throughout the nation on his Web site They’re wild and bright and follow a Nevada tradition that at least dates back to places such as Reno’s Riverside Hotel Casino in the 1930s.

And the Peppermill? That carpet might be at the core of the concept that bad carpet is good for gaming.

“It is the essence of the whole thing,” Schwartz said of the Peppermill’s carpeting. “You don’t get rainbows and planets at most places.”

Peppermill officials defend their spaced-out carpet, although they say it contains a subtle reminder that the Peppermill may be the place where visitors win.

“People always don’t notice the rainbows in the carpet but they have a perception of good luck,” said Bill Hughes, marketing director. “Rainbows give us a sense of good feeling.”

And the black, purple and aqua background?

“There is a practicality side to it, too,” Hughes said. “You don’t want a real plain carpet because people drop cigarettes on it and spill drinks on it.”

Casino carpeting: Whats bad for the eyes is good for business | | Reno Gazette-Journal

The Peppermill really has the quintessential casino carpet.

And I have become the quintessential scholar of casino carpeting, merely by the virtue of having enough of a sense of humor about the whole thing to suggest that I am a scholar of casino carpeting. There really is no such thing; my “essay” on the subject isn’t really a serious academic essay so much as a modest proposal for future study into the field.

I’m starting to think that people might think that I’m really serious about the whole thing.

In that spirit, I’ve updated the Atlantic City gallery and moved several old AC carpets to the Hall of Fame.

Check out the new look for the Taj–as much as I like what they’ve done with the rest of the place, that new carpet is really bad. It’s actually a step back from the old pink and purple stuff, which I didn’t think was possible. Harrah’s on the other hand has put a real winner in–I liked it so much that I included an extra “bonus” shot at the bottom of the page. This is clearly the best carpet in town, and joins the carpet at Red Rock on the “I wouldn’t mind having this in (a very small area of) my house” list.

I don’t think I’ve said this before, but Bally’s might have the worst carpet I’ve seen in a while. I know someone said in the RGJ article that the Peppermill carpet looks like vomit, but the Bally’s floor literally looks like someone had too much pepperoni pizza and grape slushee and suffered what competitive eaters call a “reversal of fortune.”

New casino carpet

I’ve managed to squeeze in some time to update the carpet gallery. I’ve got new shots of the Excalibur, Luxor, Monte Carlo, Palazzo, and tons more in the Strip gallery.
I’ve also streamlined the downtown gallery and placed all non-Strip, non-downtown carpets in the Clark County gallery.

Plus I’ve added a Hall of Fame with old carpets and carpets from demolished hotels.

When I have the time, I’m going to make a trip downtown with the camera and get some updates down there, as well.

Strip shell game!

It’s hard to believe, but one of the oldest gambling con games is alive and well in the shadow of the Las Vegas Strip. I snapped some pictures of a shell game in action on Monday between the Tropicana and Hooters. Technically that’s not the Strip, but it’s in the Strip tourist corridor, so the headline is accurate. Click through to see indisputable photographic evidence and some homespun analysis.
Continue reading Strip shell game!

Casino Carpet: The Quest & Conundrum


When I started this quixotic adventure, I thought I’d try to photograph a sample of casino carpeting in every Las Vegas casino. On a pre-Katrina trip to the Mississippi Gulf Coast, I decided to extend it–why not take pictures of the carpets there? From there it grew into a national quest: in every casino city I visit now, I make a point of capturing each casino’s floor for these pages.

Casino carpet is known as an exercise in deliberate bad taste that somehow encourages people to gamble.

In a strange way, though, it’s s sublime work of art, rivaling any expressionist canvas of the past century. Note the regal tones of Caesars Palace, the bountiful bouquet of Mandalay Place, the soft, almost abstract pointillism of Paris, all whispering, “gamble, gamble” just out of the range of consciousness as people walk to the nearest slot machine.

Many of the carpets use flowers and wheels, both suggestive of a cyclical life: flowers bud, bloom, and then die, and their beauty is only ephemeral. The wheel was famous to the Romans (note its prominence at Caesars Palace) as a symbol of the relentless capriciousness of fortune. Could both be subtle reminders to casino patrons that life and luck are fleeting, and one should eat, drink, and be merry before the morrow brings a swing in fortune?

Trump Taj Mahal

People are curious about how I take these pictures. Basically, I just walk into a casino, find a nice section of carpet, and snap a picture, while keeping an eye open for any casino staff. It’s not that big a production. I would have added a Macau gallery, but security at those casinos was pretty adamant about the no pictures policy, and I really didn’t want to get a firsthand view of the Chinese (or Macau SAR) criminal justice system.

In my quest to launch casino carpet hermeneutics as a legitimate academic discourse. I delivered a paper on it at an academic conference. Seriously. If you were at the 2005 Far West Popular Culture Association conference in Las Vegas, you might have seen my presentation:”Art for Gamblers’ Feet: Casino Carpets from Coast to Coast.”

People around the world have been wondering why I did this: the answer is, I guess, because the carpets are there. Having worked in casinos, I’ve always been fascinated by every element of the casino landscape. Even my academic work on casinos has been an attempt to answer the question of how you get people to spend hours in smoke-filled, garishly-decorated places, losing money–and liking it.

See some casino carpet.

Here are a few samples:





Head to the galleries to see even more.


This is the new gateway to the image galleries. For the old-school gallery portal, go here. I haven’t decided whether to keep the non-carpet galleries in the new site, so this page now features the carpet most heavily–after all, it’s what most people come to see.

About casino carpet

casino carpet
This exhibit is more than just pictures of casino floor coverings, though that in and of itself is somehow epic. No, I’ve tried to work on the epistemology of casino carpeting, as well.

So if you dare, read this developing essay about casino carpet: the quest and the conundrum.

Casino Carpet Gallery

las vegas strip
Gallery 1: Las Vegas Strip

Gallery 2: Downtown Las Vegas

Gallery 3: Mississippi Gulf Coast

Gallery 4: Reno/Sparks

atlantic city
Gallery 5: Atlantic City

clark county
Gallery 6: Clark County, Nevada

indian casinos
Gallery 7: Indian casinos

Gallery 8: Riverboat casinos

Gallery 9: Lake Tahoe/Carson City

Hall of Fame
Casino Carpet Hall of Fame: Discontinued and departed carpets

The Stardust Deconstructed

This isn’t carpet, but it’s a casino. Well, what was left of a casino just before they imploded it.

See the Stardust Deconstructed

If you like casino carpet, you’ll love Roll the Bones: The History of Gambling.

Roll the Bones