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Frontier Hotel 1942-2007

Frontier Hotel 1942-2007

"This is the end result of all the bright lights... and the comp trips, of all the champagne... and free hotel suites,
and all the broads and all the booze. It's all been arranged just for us to get your money.
That's the truth about Las Vegas. We're the only winners. The players don't stand a chance. "

-- Sam "Ace" Rothstein, Casino, 1995

Monday, August 30, 2010

The "King" of the Water Sellers

As I have posted before, the water selling -- mostly by bums and vagrants has reached epic proportions all over the Las Vegas Strip.  I have posted on this subject before:

However, the guy in the photos below takes the prize for having the most efficient operation I seen so far.  He uses a "CAMBRO" -- a rolling ice bin designed to deliver ice in hotels for banquets, room service, etc.  He literally had hundreds of bottles of water on ice in that thing, plus reserve.  He was near the south entrance of the Mirage and while I was there, must have sold over 100 bottles of water to tourists walking up and down the Strip.  At one point he about 10 people in line waiting to buy water!  These other water sellers simply cannot compete with this operation.

It turns out based on my observations and conversations that I heard, that this guy is part of a larger water selling operation.  I noted that this water seller had a walkie-talkie and was in constant communication with other people -- I am assuming other water sellers. While I was there some guy came around and asked him if needed anything.  I am speculating that some of these guys have organized into a water selling enterprise.   There must be a network of water sellers like this up and down the Strip -- who then get resupplied by "runners" with water and ice during the course of the day.

Business is good...

Counting all that tax free cash money!

The "King" taking a well deserved break until the next wave hits...

Regardless of the "legality" of this operation, you gotta love this guy's spirit.  I would much rather purchase a bottle of water from him then from some stinking, wild eyed vagrant.


  1. He must have a venders permit, eh? ( and associated fees?)

    Perhaps not ENTIRELY tax free, but certainly room to "fudge".

    How much does a jug cost?


  2. They sell water for $1.00 a bottle. Their costs are the cases of water and the ice. Everything after that is pure profit. They pay no taxes, fees, or a license. Here's what I have been able to gather about the water sellers:

    The sidewalk is technically property of the casino, but it is not "private" property. The casino does have security out there, but the security does not have the right to get rid of the water sellers. I talked to Mirage security and they said as long as the water sellers are not harassing/blocking anyone they can sell their water in the area.

    Legally, a vendor of anything on the LV Strip is supposed to have a business license. None of these water sellers have a business license. Casino security told me that only the police can cite/arrest the water sellers for vending without a license -- but the police have more important things to deal with then busting water sellers. Not to mention that many of these water sellers are homeless or close to being homeless.

    Until the casinos, the city of LV, Clark County, and the police decide enough is enough, sales of water, and anything else apparently will continue to occur on the LV Strip.


  3. I think this is pure entrepreneurial spirit that America was founded upon, so kudos to this guy! He's found a demand and he's filling it with supply.

    He was given lemons and he's made lemonade.

    Thanks for posting this info - Las Vegas has always been an interesting place, and these nuggets are awesome.

  4. Why do tourists PAY for water that they can get free from the casino?

    Since these vendors are also raking in dough from welfare or unemployment compensation surely the BUYERS are contributing to the problem by rewarding behavior that impedes the flow of pedestrian traffic.

    Since the vendors are generally of a class of people that are an eyesore surely more police resources could be devoted to citing them.

  5. Dear Mr. Anonymous, don't hate, congradulate!

  6. Been a long time since anyone posted but as a resident & casino worker let me tell you there is no free water. No public water fountains, and no casino sells a bottle of water for less than $5! These guys must be making *some* sort of profit, but it it's a "water empire" then I doubt the guy takes away a large cut of money

  7. After seeing the free for all on the strip, I have changed my mind about these water sellers... Anything goes as far as I am concerned!

    Since the city of Las Vegas and Clark County are perfectly content to let the LV Strip become like Venice Beach... Just let it rip!

    I am thinking about getting involved in the action -- maybe selling card counting advice for a buck in front of the Mirage! JH