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Online Gambling

Reason #4 like Bovada:

It's fair and safe

Online gambling is largely unregulated in the U.S.  That means the casinos serving U.S. players generally don't answer to anyone.  If you have a problem with a casino (like they won't pay you), then you're usually out of luck.  I can't count how many players have written to ask me for help because they didn't get paid by some other casino.  (Not that I helped them—if a dodgy casino won't pay you then you're on your own.)

That's why the most important thing in playing online is to pick a good casino.  The good ones know they make more money with fair games and consistent payouts, because that ensures repeat customers and good word-of-mouth referrals.  It's no coincidence that the most successful online casinos are the ones that focus on their customers.

But some casinos aren't so smart.  The stupidest ones actually rig the games, promptly get blacklisted at sites like Casinomeister, and then their business dries up.  (It's pretty easy for watchdog mathematicians like the Wizard of Odds to determine whether a casino is cheating.)

Cheating is rare.  You're more likely to have a problem getting a payout.  Some casinos try to find excuses to not pay winning players, especially players who have won big.  And again, since online gambling is unregulated in the U.S., if you can't get a payout from a casino, then you're usually out of luck.

So all this is another reason why I advertise Bovada, and have done so for over ten years.  They use industry-standard software, it's absolutely fair, and players get their payouts, consistently.  I have a choice in whom I advertise, so I purposefully picked a casino with a good reputation where I'm confident my readers will have a good experience.

To be clear, Bovada's not perfect.  Once they got duped by a vendor (Betsoft) who provided progressive slots whose jackpots weren't winnable.  When I discovered this I alerted Bovada, and they pulled all the Betsoft games from the site, but I thought they were slow to do so and didn't offer proper restitution to affected players.  Still, even with this incident, their overall history is better than most; as just one example, there are many other casinos still offering Betsoft's questionable games.

Another good thing about Bovada is that they allow me to mediate if one of my readers clicks over to them, plays the games, and has a problem they can't get Bovada to resolve.  Believe me, I wouldn't offer that service if I got more than a trivial number of inquiries over the years on that topic.

Bottom line: I'm confident that Bovada is fair and safe.  You might have a good experience with another casino...and you might not.  I trust Bovada, and that's why I picked them.

Visit Bovada

Gambling problem?
  1. Call the 800-522-4700 hotline or get online help
  2. See these horror stories.
  3. Know that Parkinson's drugs encourage gambling.
Play these
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Gambling problem?
  1. Call the 800-522-4700 hotline or get online help
  2. See these horror stories.
  3. Know that Parkinson's drugs encourage gambling.

Las Vegas Attractions & Exhibits

(also see our separate page about free attractions)

Stratosphere Tower and Thrill Rides

The tower at the Stratosphere is over 1,000 feet high and features an observation deck with the best view of the strip (and Vegas for that matter), a revolving restaurant, and four different thrill rides on top.

We cover the rides in more detail on our thrill rides page. You should do at least one! The least scary is the Big Shot, since it doesn't dangle you over the edge like the other rides. At the very least, going to the top of the tower gives you the best view of Vegas. It's prettier at night, but during the day you can see the mountains all around you. Tower admission is $14 and most rides are another $12, but you can get a combo package (tower plus rides) for a discount. Vegetarians will be disappointed that there's not a single vegetarian entreÈ on the menu at the restaurant at the top of the tower.

Other odds and ends about the Stratosphere:

  • The Stratosphere is reputed to be able to withstand an 8.0 earthquake.
  • In two separate incidents, riders were left dangling a sixth of a mile above the strip for an hour and a half when the rides unexpectedly shut down.
  • The Stratosphere's website was listed as an example of poor design at Problem Websites.

Gondola rides at the Venetian

Ride through the blue waters in a recreation of the canals of Venice.  This one gets mixed reviews -- some see it as romantic, others as overpriced and un-romantic.  Tickets are $16 per person for  a ten-minute ride, and you'll probably be sharing your gondola with another couple, as well as the gondolier.  Which is why it's not so romantic.  You can get a "private" gondola (it still comes with the gondolier) for $64 total.  For ten minutes.  The gondolier will sing too if you like, for an extra tip.

Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum at The Venetian

Madame Tussaud's Celebrity Encounter features over 100 wax statues, is The Tussaud's first attraction in the United States and joins other Madame Tussaud'a attractions in London, Amsterdam, and Australia.

Some of the figures are really likelike and striking -- it's kind of eery since it feels like they're looking right at you. This is not the wax museum from your childhood, either, where all the figures were behind ropes and you couldn't get anywhere near them. Not-uh. Here all the figures are on the floor and you can mingle with them, or have your picture taken. All the girls were donning the bridal gowns they make available to have wedding pictures taken with George Clooney. Me, I stood eye to eye with Patrick Stewart of Star Trek fame and asked, "You wanna start sumpthin', huh? Come on, captain, let's see whatcha got!"

Here's how you know the figures are authentic. You know how your internal proximity alert goes off in your head when someone stands too close to you? Try this: Move closer to one of the figures, and I swear, as soon as you cross that invisible "personal space" line, your mind will start feeling really uneasy as you move ever closer. It's weird, and neat.

Tickets are $23, and you can get a discount at the half-price ticket place I mention on the front page. See the official website for the museum or read a review at the Las Vegas Review-Journal.


Star Trek Experience at the Las Vegas Hilton

CLOSED in 2008. This popular attraction closed in September 2008 after a nearly 11-year run starting in January 1998. The following description is here for historical purposes only.

STAR TREK: The Experience is an interactive adventure based on the voyages of the most exciting futuristic television series of all time. Visitors are immersed in a futuristic world where they see, feel, and live the 24th century! Enjoy the History of the Future Museum, Voyage Through Space, Deep Space Nine Promenade Shops and finally, relax and dine in Quark's Bar & Restaurant. You'll enter the Starfleet Gallery Room where you'll be unexpectedly beamed aboard the Starship Enterprise, and taken to an exact replica of the Bridge. After receiving your mission instructions on the Bridge, you'll take the TurboLift to the Grand Corridor, a never-before seen area from the world of Star Trek, where you'll be escorted to the Shuttlebay. Here, you'll board a 27-seat shuttlecraft for the ultimate simulated journey through the Star Trek universe. ($25 for all-day pass) (from the Star Trek Experience website)

Other Sites

Here are othe lists of Vegas attractions from:

(Also see our separate page about free attractions.)