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Reason #1 I like Bovada:

Play for free
with no hassles

Most online casinos annoy the hell out of me. They insult you with popup windows and spam, and do everything they can to separate you from your money. Even if you want to just play with fake money for free, they make you register for an account so they can pester you by email trying to get you to deposit real money.

On the whole Internet, I found exactly one online casino that's different: Bovada. You can play their games for free, with absolutely no hassles. And that's the main reason why I promote them exclusively.

Here's what I mean by no hassles:

  • Completely free. It's not one of those "Buy 1 get 1 free" kind of deals, it's absolutely free. You can click over and start playing with fake money right away, with no cash out of pocket. Here, go ahead and try it.
  • No registration required. Most casinos let you play for free, but there's a catch: They make you register an account first. That's not just a hassle: after you do it you can expect them to badger you by email trying to get you to deposit real money. But Bovada lets you play right away with no registration required. One click and you're in. Honest. Here, try it.
  • Plays right in your browser. If you'd rather not download the casino software to your hard disk, you don't have to. The games play right in your web browser. Nice.
  • Works on Macs. The play-in-browser games are MacOS compatible! Before Bovada, Mac users were pretty much out of luck for gambling online. Not any more.
  • No popups. I'll never understand why companies think it's a good idea to annoy their visitors, but that's standard practice at most online casinos. Bovada is one of the rare exceptions -- no popups, no popouts, no browser hijacking, just the website with no B.S.

All in all, I think Bovada is the best bet for U.S. players.

Visit Bovada

Gambling problem?
Call the 800-522-4700 hotline, and read this.

Also, know that Parkinson's drugs encourage gambling.

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Gambling Problem?
Call the 800-522-4700 hotline, and read this.

Also, know that Parkinson's drugs encourage gambling

Las Vegas Casino News

Lucky Dragon becomes the Strip's newest-built casino

The Lucky Dragon opened on Dec. 3, 2016, becoming the newest freshly-built casino on the strip.  (When a new casino starts, it usually takes over the building of a former casino; newly-built casinos like Lucky Dragon are rare, especially on the strip.)  Lucky Dragon technically isn't on the strip (it's on Sahara Ave.), but given that it's only 0.14 miles from the Strip, which is less than a 3-minute walk, I count it as a strip casino, as does pretty much everybody else.  The casino caters to Asian players, and as such will focus on table games like Baccarat and Pai Gow rather than Western favorites like blackjack.  There's also a much higher ratio of table games to slots vs. other casinos.  That makes me wonder whether the casino will have a hard time staying profitable, though.  (LA Times)

The Sahara closes

The venerable Sahara Casino closed on May 16, 2011.  It was one of the oldest casinos on the strip, and 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

The only surviving Rat Pack-era casinos on the Strip are now the Tropicana, Flamingo, and Riviera.

When they closed, they sold off all the stuff inside.  And I mean everything, including the fixtures.  I got there after the good stuff was already gone, but I did pick up some gaming chips, a "Sahara"-branded cup, a shower mat, and a clock radio.  Pieces of history.

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.

Cosmopolitan hotel/casino opens

The Cosmopolitan, right next to CityCenter, opened in Dec. 2010, 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.

Harmon 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. (Nov. 2010)