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Three steps casinos should be making to ease their environmental impact


18 Sep 2016

When it comes to global polluters, few places in the world can rival Las Vegas.

According to the Nevada Gaming Commission, the 4.2 miles of the Vegas Strip houses 42 casinos and for many of these, it is all about the glitz, glamour and pizzazz.

Many of these offer more than just gambling opportunities, with over 60,000 hotel rooms between them and numerous shops incorporated into their resort experience, so the impact on the environment is endless.

The quantity of both electricity and water consumed is substantial, with many casinos heavily reliant on power to have the impact they desire – whether this be through their overindulgence on neon lighting 24 hours every day to draw in people from the street or the sheer number of individuals using general facilities and amenities.

It is almost impossible to work out the amount of electricity required to power the thousands of slot machines, nightclubs, theatres and the like inside the resorts.

This doesn’t even take into account the carbon footprint enhanced by the sheer number of visitors descending on Vegas and the countless vehicles regularly shuttling people up and down the Strip.

However, there are steps that the casino resorts can take to improve their environmental friendliness and sustainability, without having to make major alterations to their existing architecture and targeted appeal.

Here are three ways to quell the harmful blows of their voracious energy consumption and carbon dioxide consumption:

Solar energy

The Mandalay Bay Convention Centre has already set a precedent with it’s typical Vegas-style larger-than-life solar roof, which involves the use of 26,000 solar panels.

It is anticipated that this transformation will generate enough electricity to power 25% of the Centre’s needs, while also reducing CO2 output by a similar level to 1,700 cars being taken off the road.

However, the possibility of gaining cheaper power from solar farms is not a guaranteed solution because of the impact on Nevada’s monopoly utility provider.

Some 15 properties across three of the biggest casino companies account for a significant portion of the provider’s income and simply severing ties would have major implications.

Renewable light bulbs

MGM Resorts have already committed to replacing 1.3 million light bulbs this year with LED equivalents. This is noteworthy on the basis that they last around 40 times longer in terms of hours than standard incandescent bulbs and use about a tenth of the kilowattage annually.

The issues for some casinos are that LED bulbs are not always available in high wattages, meaning that although they are much more efficient, they fail to provide the same desired end result.

Internal lighting is a major necessity for casinos because of the well-documented decisions of many to avoid using natural light. By having windows or skylights, visitors to a casino are able to get a grasp of the time of day, which they can then use to plot how long they have been playing games for.

Casinos want visitors to play for as long as possible and providing a timeless atmosphere void of distractions means the neglect of disclosing such information.


Did you know that one recycled glass bottle could save enough energy to power a computer for 25 minutes?

However, when it comes to the mass recycling from within a casino resort, this extends itself to far more than separating glass, paper and plastics.

Buffets can be big business in Vegas casinos as a way of comping players or generally drawing in visitors, but as expected with this type of offering, food waste will be extensive.

Rather than sending this to landfill to decompose into greenhouse gas, other options include sending it to pig farms where it can be turned into slop or ingredients being reused in other dishes.

It is estimated that $165 billion worth of food is wasted annually across the entirety of the US.