Las Vegas News
currently have the resources to cover a lot of Vegas news,
but I'll try to post some special items
here when I can find the time.
Trivia: Naughty Sushsi
The next time you're in NY NY, take a picture of the "Chin Chin" sushi/Chinese restaurant on the gaming floor.
Because unbeknownst to just about everyone, "Chin Chin" is the child's
word for "penis" in Japanese. (It's the equivalent of
"peepee".) They named the place after a Chinese word but since
they also serve Japanese sushi, the naming is kind of funny. Now
you're one of the only people in on the secret!
Sahara Casino to close
The venerable Sahara Casino is set to close on May 16, 2011. It's one of the oldest casinos on the strip, and has had quite a history.
- Opened in 1952
- 1956 - Abbot & Costello's last public appearance was here
- 1960 - The original Ocean's Eleven movie was filmed here
- 1950s & 1960s - A thriving Rat Pack-era casino
- 1964 - The Beatles stayed here
- The Jerry Lewis Telethon broadcast from here throughout the 1970s (and sometimes in the 1990s)
- 1999 - Added "Speed", the roller coaster
After the Sahara closes, the only surviving Rat Pack-era casinos on the Strip will be the Tropicana, Flamingo, and Riviera.
My biggest regret is that I never got around to renting the "Beatles
Suite" where the Beatles stayed in 1964. But I did get to visit
the Abbey Road studios, so I guess I shouldn't complain too much.
The closure is bad news for budget-minded consumers, because the Sahara
had some of the cheapest rooms on the Strip in recent years, often as
low as $31 or so. R.I.P.
Woman wins $2.9 million jackpot -- and keeps playing
With some interesting irony, a woman named Dorothy won the Wizard of Oz slot jackpot at Planet Hollywood recently.
And within minutes she immediately went back to playing slots.
This isn't a rare occurrence -- big jackpot winners often start playing
again right after winning. That makes me wonder, why were they
playing in the first place? Wasn't it to win the big
jackpot? If so, then congratulations, mission accomplished.
You can stop playing now. Why keep going? What's the point?
The Cosmopolitan, right next to CityCenter, opened this month, making it the only new casino in Vegas for 2010.
Aria in CityCenter was the only new casino in 2009. The architecture is kind of interesting, but beyond that, I don't
think these new properties add anything interesting to an
already-crowded strip, and CityCenter has made a mess of pedestrian
travel on the west side of the strip in that area.
Hotel to be
demolished -- before it opens!
Old hotels get torn down to make room for new
hotels in Vegas all the time. But here's a twist: The
brand-new Harmon Hotel in City Center is slated to be demolished before
it even opens!
The problem is that the building wasn't built according to
the proper specs, so there are potential structural and safety concerns.
Apparently the problems aren't fixable -- at least not for less than
the cost of starting over from scratch. So that's what MGM
Resorts wants to do, start over from scratch.
More from the LV Review-Journal.
What's new in
Vegas since 2008
Has it been a while since you were in Vegas last?
Here's what's happened in the last three years:
- There's now a Strip & Downtown Express bus (SDX).
It's much faster than the Deuce, since it makes only a few stops on the
strip. It also goes to the Convention Center, unlike the
Deuce. See more on our Getting
around Vegas page.
- Bus fares are way up. A 24-hour Deuce or SDX
pass is now $7, up from $5. The good news is that the pass can be
used on both
the Deuce and SDX, and any bus in town actually. The other price
hike is that there's no longer a single-trip fare for the strip
buses. The cheapest you can go is $5 for a two-hour pass.
- City Center & Palazzo. City Center is
the new complex next to the Monte Carlo, featuring various hotels, one
hotel/casino (Aria), and an upscale shopping mall (Crystals).
Personally I think it adds nothing special, and it makes walking the
strip way more cumbersome now that you have to detour up and over
various walkways. Palazzo is a little sister hotel/casino to the
Venetian, much like Encore is to the Wynn.
- New Rides. The Stratosphere now has the
SkyJump, which lets you literally jump off the tower, skydiving 100+
floors to the ground. (There's no parachute; you're gliding along
guide wires which have a braking system built in.) But it's
pricey at $100 a jump. Cheaper is the new zip line downtown at
the Fremont Street Experience, which for $15 to $20 lets you sail
straight down Fremont Street. (See more on our rides page.)
- Dancing girls at the table games. It seems
like most Strip casinos now have at least one pit which feature
scantily-clad women doing pole dances. The dealers are usually
scantily-clad as well.
/ tourism at an all-time
Vegas economy has been bad before, but it's nothing like this.
The drop after 9/11 seems like a little blip compared to what Vegas is
going through now. Tourism is down, unemployment is
around 15%, and partially-constructed buildings are sitting around
half-finished, since the money to complete them has dried up.
Gaming revenues in Nevada dropped 10.4% in 2009, the biggest drop ever.
This follows a 9.7% drop in 2008. Nevada has the highest
unemployment in America, and has led the nation
in housing foreclosures for the last four years.
But this is actually good news for tourists. It
means there's never been a better time to visit Vegas. Room rates
have hit rock bottom, and lines for everything are much shorter.
Rooms can be had on the Strip mid-week for as little as $24 these
days. See for yourself:
See more about the Vegas economy crash at the New York Times.
Vegas performer Danny Gans passes away
Longtime Vegas comic Danny Gans died at age 52 from the combination of drug toxicity and a pre-existing heart condition.
Reason #1 like Bovada:
Excellent Customer Support
Customer support at
most online casinos is a joke. Let me
count the ways:
- No support phone number. Some casinos
don't even let you call them! That's
unacceptable for any place that is taking
your money. In fact, some years ago I used
to promote Captain Cooks as my casino of choice,
but then CC took their phone number off their
website. And so I took them off my
website and started looking for another casino
to recommend, and that's when I found
- Phone number is hard to find. Even
casinos that have a support phone number make
you go clicking around through their website to
get it. But Bovada puts their number prominently
at the top of every single page. If you
can't find their phone number, you're not
- Lengthy hold. Even when a casino has
a phone and you're able to find it, you may get
the pleasure of waiting on hold forever before
you can talk to someone. But I've called Bovada
several times and more often than not, they pick
up instantly. The phone menu is short,
too. I hit #2 for Customer Support, and then
without any hold time, it's "Bovada Customer
Service, how can I help you?"
- Support staff stretched thin. Many
casinos employ a call center that takes calls
for a bunch of different casinos. I don't know
how many times I'd call a casino and tell them I
was having trouble depositing or ask for details
of their bonus offer, and they'd respond, "What
casino are you calling about?" Man, that was
never a good feeling. And you can see where I'm
going with this: Bovada takes calls only for
- Clueless reps. The support reps at
many casinos don't even understand the games.
Sometimes when I've inquired about something
like whether double down in blackjack or
double-up in video poker counts towards the
wagering requirement, it became clear that the
rep didn't even know how the games were played,
and couldn't answer my question. (They'd always
give me an answer anyway, which I'd clearly be a
fool to trust.) At Bovada the reps understand the
games. And if you get a rep who doesn't know the
answer, they'll check with someone else to find
out for sure, rather than giving you some
Oh, and did I mention that Bovada reps are all
fluent in English?
Call the 800-522-4700 hotline, and read this.
Also, know that Parkinson's drugs encourage gambling.