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Online Gambling

Reason I like Bovada #3:

One-stop shopping

Let me share my experience at another online casino whose name I won't mention:  I wanted to try out their free-play games, and they made me sign up for an account.  That was annoying, just for free-play, but actually most casinos make you register, so they can annoy you by email to pressure you into depositing real money.

I didn't get to choose my own username, they assigned one, and it was long! An astounding twelve digits of mixed numbers and letters.  There was no way I'd be able to memorize it, I'd have to write it down.

After trying out the free-play games I decided to deposit money and play for real.  And guess what? I had to register a separate account to play for real.  They assigned me a brand-new twelve-digit username.  Great.

Shortly thereafter they started offering play-in-browser games.  That's convenient, so I wanted to get in on that.  Guess what?  Yet another username.

And guess how they handle they money they give you as a matching bonus on your deposit?  You guessed it, another account.

Okay, now let's fast-forward to Bovada: One account gets you everything.  And I mean everything.  Real money, fake money, bonuses, you name it.  I didn't get to choose my account name, but at least it's easy to remember.

And if you want to play for free with fake money, you don't even need an account at all.  For example:

Play for free, no B.S.
One click and you're in.

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

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
free slots now

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.

Free things to see & do in Las Vegas

(also see my separate pages about cheap thrills and paid attractions)

 Last update:  March, 2019.

Free shows

On the strip

  1. Bellagio Water Fountains.  Amazing choreographed water fountains, set to popular music, right in front of the Bellagio hotel.  Shows begin at Noon on the weekends and 3:00pm M-F, running every half hour until 8:00pm, and then every 15 minutes through midnight.
  2. Caesar's moving statues.  At the end of the Forum Shops there are large Roman statues that come to tell and tell a story, kind of like a mini play, every hour on the hour, for a 7-minute show.
  1. Big Elvis show.  Featuring the world's largest Elvis impersonator.  In the Harrah's piano bar, afternoons.
  2. Lounge shows.  Many of the casinos have free lounge shows with really good bands.  These bands are good enough that you'd pay money to see them elsewhere, but in Vegas it's free. (more)
  1. Circus Acts.  In the Circus Circus Midway, every hour from 11:30am to 10:30pm (M-Th), to 11:30pm (F/Sun), and to 12:30pm (Sat).  Way better than you'd expect for a free show. (more)
  2. Runway fashion shows.  In the Fashion Show Mall on weekends, every hour from noon to 5pm, near Saks Fifth Avenue/Nordstrom. (more)
  3. Flair Bartenders.  At Circus Circus' Vince Neil's Party, Palazzo's Fusion Mixology, Flamingo's Jimmy Buffet Margaritaville, Harrahs' Carnival Court, Linq's Catalyst, Bally's Fuel Bar, Rio's Voodoo Lounge.


  1. Fremont Street Experience.  One of the most popular spectacles, it's a massive overhead canopy, spanning most of Fremont Street downtown.  At night it comes to life, showing amazing animations choreographed to popular music.  The canopy is essentially the world's largest computer monitor.  Starting at sundown, every hour on the hour until midnight, with each show about 7 minutes each.
  2. Music concerts.  On three different stages nightly.  (more)


  1. Sunset Stampede at Sam's Town.  Chronicles the Western pioneer experience with music, dancing water, and a laser light show.  Shows at 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10pm daily, 5111 Boulder Highway. (more)

Spectacles & Photo-ops

These are listed from South to North for those taking a walking or public bus tour.
  1. Welcome to Las Vegas sign.  Take your picture at an iconic monument.  It's on Las Vegas Blvd., south of Mandalay Bay.
  2. Worst mass shooting site.  It's macabre, but a lot of people want to see it:  On Oct. 1, 2017, a man busted out the window of his room at the Mandalay Bay and shot people at a nearby outdoor concert, killing 58 of them, making it the worst mass shooting in U.S. history.  You can't tell which room he was in from the ground, but you can still look at the building and contemplate the gravity of the event. (more)
  3. Pyramid, Sphinx, Diagonal Elevators, and Atrium.  The Luxor has four things you might want to see: The building itself is a big black pyramid (sadly adorned with advertising these days), and at night it shoots a super-bright light into the sky.  In the front there's a large replica of the Sphinx from Egypt.  Inside, the rooms are all an the perimeter of the pyramid, with the center being a huge open-air atrium, and looking down from the aisle on any upper floor is quite a sight.  To get there, the hotel elevators travel diagonally along the inside edge of the pyramid.
  4. Medieval Castle.  The Excalibur's architecture is of a medieval castle.
  5. New York City Skyline.  The exterior of the New York New York casino features a NYC skyline, including an impressively large replica of the Statue of Liberty.  You can also walk a replica Brooklyn Bridge.
  6. Giant Coke Bottle.  Towering four stories high, it adorns the outside of a shopping center.  Across the street from Park MGM.
  7. Robots making drinks.  A bar called Tipsy Robot (in Planet Hollywood's Miracle Mile mall) has robotic arms preparing drinks.  You can watch them go at it without ordering anything.
  8. Crazy Girls sculpture.  Outside Planet Hollywood, this bronze sculpture was cast from molds of seven actual performers in the long-running topless lip-synch show.  The sculpture is of their backsides, and amusingly, their butts are shiny from all the tourists rubbing them for, what, good luck? (more)
  9. Eiffel Tower.  The Paris casino features a 1/3-scale Eiffel Tower.  Go up the elevator to the observation deck for $16 or so.
  10. Bellagio water show, chandelier & conservatory.  See above for the water show.  Inside, see the $10 million, 2100 square foot chandelier sculpture, featuring 2000 hand-blown glass blossoms that weigh about 40,000 pounds, supported by a 10,000-pound steel armature, all by renowned artist Dale Chihuly.  Every day it takes 27 person-hours to clean.  And check out the 14,000 square foot conservatory garden, a dazzling mix of plants, architecture, and lights.
  11. Caesars Palace.  The outside grounds contain replicas of famous Roman sculptures, and there's the casino itself, which was modeled after the Pantheon.
  12. Mirage Volcano & Rainforest.  The volcano is outside and fires up at 8, 9, and 10pm.  Inside the hotel's front entrance there's a rainforest under a 100-foot high dome. (more)
  13. Venetian Canals.  The Venetian Casino features canals out front.  For a fee you can ride in a gondola and the gondolier will sing to you.
  14. Flamingo Wildlife Habitat.  At the Flamingo Hotel.  Not just pink flamingos, but also ducks, swans, koi fish, and turtles.  Get your picture taken with a parrot. (more)
  15. Pirate Ship.  The Treasure Island casino features a much-photographed replica pirate ship outside in a lake.
  16. The Mutha-F**king Tower.  The Stratosphere is the iconic tower of the Las Vegas skyline, and the largest one west of the Mississippi.  For a fee you can take the elevator to the observation deck, where there are scary rides, but you can view from the ground for free, including watching people do the Sky Jump where they literally jump off the tower, guided by cables which slow them down when they get to the ground.  The rides at the top and the taxi area at ground level were featured prominently in the movie Sharknado 4.
  17. Fire-spewing praying mantis sculpture.  Sraight outta Burning Man, this huge metallic sculpture menaces the Downtown Container Park, shooting flames from its antennae six stories high.  Dude.  Oh, and it wouldn't be complete without the 4000-watt sound system.  While you're at the Container Park, check out the big treehouse with the 33' tall slide  (more)
  18. Antiques at Main Street Station.  See a number of antiques and curiosities. (more)

Other free things

  1. Free slot pulls.  Downtown, the Four Queens and Binion's each give you one free spin on a slot machine, with the chance to win up to $2500.  I won a hat!
  2. Real One Million Dollars.  Take your picture with a display of one million dollars in cash.  At Binion's, downtown. (more)
  3. CBS Television City.  See and rate TV pilots before they hit television.  There's often compensation and prizes.  Inside the MGM Grand.
  4. Magic demonstrations.  The staff at Houdini's Magic Shop are always doing tricks in the store.  Various locations including Circus Circus, New York New York, Planet Hollywood, and the Venetian. (more)
  5. World of Coca-Cola.  More store than museum, but they do have a few artifacts, and you can snap a selfie with the polar bear. (more)