Las Vegas News
I don't have the
resources to cover much Vegas news, but I post some
special items here on occasion.
I do have a page specifically about casino news.
For more, I recommend the award-winning insider blog Vital Vegas.
Free drinks to end for low-rollers?
The most famous comp and the easiest one to get has always been free drinks. You play any game, even penny slots, and the cocktail waitress will bring you as much as you can pack away, one drink at a time. Well, as of Oct. 2016, Caesars Entertainment and MGM Resorts (which collectively own most of the casinos on the strip) are experimenting with rigging the machines to make sure you're betting enough before they serve you (either by having a light come on to show that you've earned a drink, or else printing out a voucher for a free one). But I'm skeptical that this will be the end of free drinks for low-rollers. First of all, most gamblers have earned their free drinks, and the casinos would probably spend more time and money trying to deny free drinks to those few who don't "deserve" them rather than just giving drinks to everyone like they always have. Second, the cocktail waitresses are the gatekeepers: they earn their living from tips, and couldn't give a flying flip whether you "deserve" your drink as long as you're tipping. I'm confident that if you wave a dollar around you'll get your first drink, and as long as you tip at least a dollar every other drink they'll keep coming. Oh, you wonder whether the waitresses would get in trouble for that? Well, that would require someone supervising them closely to make sure they don't give out drinks to the few patrons who haven't "earned" them. The labor cost of such supervision would dwarf the cost of just giving free drinks to all. So, I don't think the waitresses are gonna have managers scrutinizing their every move; it's just too expensive.
The Harmon Hotel to be dismantled before it even opens!
Here's a unique one: Due to construction defects, a new
hotel is being dismantled piece by piece before it even opens!
MGM Resorts started construction on The Harmon Hotel in 2007, at the
time reported to be the largest private real estate development in
U.S. history. But in 2008 an engineer and county inspectors
found faulty installation of structural steel reinforcements after
about half of the 49 stories had been built. The construction
defects meant that the building would likely come down in the event
of an earthquake or even possibly very strong winds. As a
result, MGM had the structure completely disassembled. Only in
Trivia: Naughty Sushi
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!
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.
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?
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).
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
- 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
- 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.
Vegas economy / tourism at an all-time low!
The 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:
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.
Six workers die during construction of CityCenter
Six construction workers died on the job while building the
CityCenter complex. Workers demanded safety training and
safer working conditions, the company refused, so the workers went
on strike, and then the company finally relented. Meanwhile,
MGM Mirage blames the deaths on the workers, saying they weren't
following safety protocols. (Las