Is Sleeping in Your Car in a Casino Parking Lot Illegal?

Maybe you are wandering the American West in your camper. Perhaps you are camping in your car during a quick road trip. Whatever the situation, you are looking for convenient parking lots where you can camp. Many RV dwellers and vanlife enthusiasts swear by camping out at casinos. But is sleeping in your RV or car in a casino parking lot legal?

It is illegal to sleep in a casino parking lot without permission

This is a photo of 1960s Las Vegas. Many enthusiasts park RVS in casino parking lots. | Erich Andres/United Images via Getty Images
Casinos are private property, so each situation is unique | Erich Andres/United Images via Getty Images

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There is no nationwide law against sleeping in your car. But there are laws against trespassing. So if you want to sleep in a privately owned parking lot, you need the permission of the lot owner or whoever they have designated to manage and secure their lot. 

A casino lot is a privately owned parking lot. The same applies to shopping mall parking lots, Walmart parking lots, and parking lots at 24-hour gyms. This means that you need permission before sleeping in your RV or car in a casino parking lot.

Getting permission to sleep in a casino parking lot could be as simple as calling beforehand. Simply ask if parking an RV out front or sleeping in the parking lot is allowed. Alternatively, you can arrive at the casino and duck inside to ask about sleeping in your car.

Some casinos will ask you to check in with security and share your license plate. This is so the night shift does not accidentally kick you out after the casino has permitted you. A few casinos will even ask you to sign up for a player card to access the parking lot. But no casino will make you gamble to stay overnight.

Many Casinos allow you to sleep in your car or RV

This is a photo of a Frank Sinatra sign in 1960s Las Vegas. Many road trippers sleep in a car in casino parking lots. | Archive Photos/Getty Images
Live music is one of the many amenities that attracts RVers and car-campers to casinos | Archive Photos/Getty Images

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Fans of casino RV camping know there are many benefits to staying at a casino. First of all, the parking lot is well lit, often with 24-hour security. At some casinos, the traffic can rival a Walmart parking lot. Other casinos have large lots with room to spread out.

In addition, many casinos offer 24-hour bathrooms and restaurants. This can be a life-saver when car camping at a casino. Finally, a lot of casinos host live music on the weekends. This can be an excellent way to unwind during a long road trip.

In addition, many casinos offer cheap food, especially breakfast buffets. This buffet price is often around $5 but can be as low as $2. Most of the casinos on tribal land across the country offer free soda and coffee. Many casinos in Reno and Las Vegas offer complimentary alcoholic beverages to gamblers, even guests just using slot machines.

Alternatives to a casino parking lot

This is a photo of 1960s Las Vegas. Many travelers looking for cheap 24-hour bathrooms and security like to camp in casino parking lots.  | Erich Andres/United Images via Getty Images
Most casino alternatives require you ask permission to stay | Erich Andres/United Images via Getty Images

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Many parts of the country do not have casinos. In these areas, it may be difficult to park your RV for free in a pinch.

One major alternative to casino parking lots is Walmart parking lots. Walmart corporate says it is alright with overnight campers. Many local franchise owners even offer coupons to overnight parking lot campers. But local owners, managers, or security ultimately decide if you can stay. So, just like with casinos, make certain to call the individual Walmart ahead of time or ask a manager for permission when you arrive.

If you do not need room for an RV, you may have luck with a local city’s safe parking program. In addition, many cities maintain a list of city-owned or nonprofit-owned parking lots where you can park and spend the night.

Wherever you spend the night, make sure to shut off the engine while you are sleeping. Poisonous fumes can gather around your car if you leave the engine running too long. Read more hacks for sleeping in your car comfortably.

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