Bring Back Good Gambling In Las Vegas

My feelings and thoughts about your adopted home town have been well documented in past letters to you and I have enjoyed our sharing of ideas. I read your notes about the entertainment opportunities, etc. in Las Vegas and it left me wondering what your readers are thinking about the topic. (Maybe a future poll would be a good idea?) For me, it still comes down to gambling: the most fun I have had in Las Vegas involved gaming and that scene has changed considerably in the last 12 years.

While the shows and shopping in Las Vegas are amazing, the reality is, for me, gambling is the X factor that puts me over the top and makes me want to book a trip from the east coast. So let me know when the slots are paying out 98+% and there is widespread 3-2 blackjack with $5 minimums again like way back in 2002. ūüėé (I think you discussed a potential trend back to that recently…. or am I wrong about that?)

All the best,

Mike from Syracuse

Ted Responds:

Thanks for the comments. We are getting some poll software ready as we’d like to start actually polling readers on a number of topics. Both to help us guide content and so that people can see what others are thinking.

Many properties downtown are still dealing $5 full-pay blackjack and have the best documented slot payouts (sans the locals properties). We have been very vocal in telling people who come primarily to gamble to head downtown, and since many of the downtown properties have been remodeled or upgraded, they are as nice as your average Strip casino was 15 years ago.

Although, buyer beware as not everything downtown is the gravy train. Video poker pay tables downstairs at The D (at their Longbar) are horrendous. On the flip side, Downtown Grand (formerly Lady Luck) just loosened their pay tables in an effort to draw more people through the door.

Speaking of the Downtown Grand, they are now also luring you in with 1/2 off all food and beverage at their Art Bar from 5-7 PM. And doing 99 cent tacos at their Commissary dining area every day of the week. (It is called Commissary, but it is open to the public. It is not their employee dining room).

Having said that, we’ve never been a gaming-centric publication. Certainly much of our information is helpful to most Vegas visitors. However, our focus continues to be more in the direction of entertainment, dining, and deals.




CEO/Managing Editor

Girls Trips To Las Vegas

I just love Vegas and would live there if I could. Unfortunately my husband doesn’t love Vegas and refused to visit anymore after 7 times (he doesn’t gamble and gets fed up) but result – I now go with a girlfriend and we have sooooo much of a better time!!!! No man moaning ….. I’m tired/hungry/bored/fed up with you gambling. My friend and I go to bingo every week (big in the UK) and we pool our winnings, saving for our Vegas vacations. So far we have been 8 times together, missing only 2 years not having won enough.

Unfortunately the air fares have increased so much over the years. We couldn’t go this year but now have enough for a definite visit next May. We’ve stayed at various hotels (depending on how much we win at bingo!). Stardust was our fav but they blew it up! Frontier we liked too but they blew that up!

One year we stayed at the Wynn, beautiful hotel but to be honest we only spend around 5 hours in the room and decided not to waste money on good hotels. All hotels in Vegas are of a good size, have air con and are comfortable so why pay more? We’ve settled on the Riviera for the last 4 years, older hotel but clean and cheap, plus we like to be up the north end of the strip.

Anyway sorry to go on and on, I could talk Vegas all day! Keep up the great work and those people who moan about a very low subscription obviously don’t realize what a great deal they would be getting – so just ignore them!

Kind regards,

Sylvie from the UK

Ted Responds:

If it makes you feel any better, “girls trips” to Las Vegas are as popular as ever. Back when I moved here in 1993, it seems like The Strip was 75% male. Groups of guys would come, and couples would come, but not so much groups of ladies (or a couple of women visiting like you and your friend). Las Vegas has been putting more police on The Strip — including now on the pedestrian walkways — to make it safer than ever, and we are one area that women can walk at almost anytime of the day or night in comfort.

It sounds like you are a hotel jinx, first with the Stardust, then with the Frontier! All kidding aside, I still miss both. The Stardust had THE sportsbook in town (maybe along with the Hilton at the time), some good dining and a nice, Vegasy feel. When I’d park in the lot in back of The Frontier and walk out to The Strip — detouring along the pool — I’d feel like Dan Tanna from the old Vega$ TV series (which is available on Netflix and a fun watch).

Speaking of our talk about the North Strip, nothing wrong with The Riv! They remodeled all the rooms a few years ago, and we’ve gotten 100% good feedback since then. (Just don’t expect Wynn or Caesars, OK). I love just walking through the place as you FEEL like you are in Las Vegas. On the retro side? Yes. Location is still a little bit of a downside, unless you don’t mind walking. SLS is 1/2 mile to the north, Westgate 1/2 mile to the east, and Wynn/Encore 1/2 mile to the south. Granted, an all-day bus pass will make anywhere on The Strip or downtown a reasonable ride.




CEO/Managing Editor

Las Vegas Sports Betting 101 Primer – How To Bet Sports In Las Vegas

A friend of mine paid a long-awaited trip to Las Vegas in late October and had a great time wagering on football, blackjack, and rock climbing at Red Rock Canyon. On top of it, we were lucky enough to win most of the trip expenses. We were, however, mystified by the sports betting scene on a couple of counts.

First, the way casinos were offering bets were inconsistent, both¬†between and within casinos. We had performed some statistical¬†analyses related to half-time football bets. We wished to place bets¬†based on points (i.e., picking a team and giving or taking points)¬†rather than line bets (i.e., betting a certain amount to win $100).¬†We had to run back and forth between casinos in order to find these¬†bets, and as a result either backed out of some bets or missed being¬†able to place them. We found them at Imperial, but then later in the¬†day they reverted to line bets. Several people we asked about this¬†either had no recognition of it or provided some unintelligible¬†explanation, which led us to believe that the average person wagering¬†on football is in “left field”. Do casinos do this in order to¬†intentionally confuse gamblers? I’m not able to find any explanations¬†in books about this matter. Also, it seems as though they take a¬†larger commission out of the line bets. Any expert insight into this?

Second, unlike reports from friends, we found the service at the¬†sports books to be practically nonexistent and drink prices to be¬†high (and certainly far from comped). We spent most of a day at¬†Imperial Palace and pretty much had to trip back and forth to other¬†rooms to get water or drinks (at $4 a pop).¬†Monday¬†night football at¬†RIO offered Miller for 2.75 as their best deal. Food was easy enough¬†to get. It wasn’t until we played cards at the Horse shoe that we felt¬†like actual customers.

I enjoy the newsletter and can’t wait to get back to Las Vegas.

Mark B.

Ted Responds:

Good questions. I’ll do my best, but if a veteran sports better is out there, please drop us a line at¬†[email protected]¬†with your input.

The goal of the sports books is to get exactly the same amount of money placed on each side of a game. They make their profit out because you have to bet $11 to win $10. So, they take $1 for each $10 they move from a losers hand to a winners. On money line bets (where you bet a team to win straight up instead of covering the spread), they work in a similar fashion.

There is not one “Las Vegas line” that all the sports books follow. A team may be favored by 5 at the Imperial Palace and by 6 next door at Flamingo Hilton. At the Flamingo, more money has been bet on the favorite and they raise the spread to get some money coming in on the underdog to even things up.

As far as drinks, I don’t spend time in sports books. I understand that some give you drink coupons when you bet (make sure to ask) depending on the size of the wager and others serve free cocktails as long as you have a valid betting slip in your hand. Please understand that they are generally not thrilled about giving away piles of free drinks when most people have placed a $10 or $20 bet, which may account for the slow waitress service. If your betting level is substantially higher, please talk to a sports book supervisor (ask for them at the window) about what kind of action you need for what kind of comps.

If you are in town with 2-3 buddies and serious about your sports betting, bring your cell phones and split up to cover as many books as possible before half-time. (Note: cell phones are NOT allowed to be used in the books themselves – read the numbers and then take a walk while you talk).

The beauty of Las Vegas is our “free market”. There are about 15 minor rules variations in the game of blackjack and if you don’t like the game at one casino, you can walk next door. If you don’t like the betting line at one casino, you can do the same. If you are betting some serious money, ask a number of casinos about comps and go with the best deal for you.




CEO/Managing Editor

Las Vegas New Years Eve Hotel Rooms Cost Too Expensive

Watched the Las Vegas New Year’s Eve festivities on TV last night/this¬†morning-sooo many people! Yet, it was reported, that the hotels were¬†bemoaning the fact that not as many people came as were expected! I¬†know you don’t control the hotel industry there, but why did the¬†hotels persist in charging $2-500 per night even when they weren’t¬†full? Also, if you were out and about on New Years Eve – could one¬†even get a place to play at a table or a slot machine on the strip or¬†downtown? How long did you have to stand in line to get seated at a¬†restaurant? We love Las Vegas, but it just sounded like tooooo¬†much – too much people and too much money to be enjoyable for New¬†Year’s Eve. What was your impression? As always we appreciate your¬†fair and honest reviews – wish we could clone you for this sort of a¬†report for a few of our other favorite destinations!!! Happy¬†Y2K – Jean Haka, Waukesha WI

Ted Responds:

There were rumors of people having trouble getting reservations at the nicer hotel restaurants and lines are always long during peak times like New Years Eve, Comdex, holiday weekends and the like. If anyone was here and wants to comment about the food or gaming availability, drop a line to¬†[email protected]¬†However, with hotels at only 85% occupancy, it probably wasn’t as bad as Memorial Day when the town is filled to the brim.

Count us among those unhappy with the price gouging. Las Vegas has always been a town where you get more for your money, and the hotels shot themselves in the foot with the high prices. Those of us who book rooms actually took a beating. I got a few reservations at the outrageous prices, but would have been much happier doing truckloads of reservations and making the same amount while getting more people to town. The hotels set the rates, not us. Our best advertising is word of mouth: you come to Las Vegas, have fun, and tell your friends.

Las Vegas wasn’t the only destination that got stung by greed. At¬†¬†you can read how hotels around the U.S. failed to meet projections. Another great article on how damaging this was for Las Vegas is at “New Year’s greed” –¬†




CEO/Managing Editor

Visiting Las Vegas The Week Before Christmas

Visited Vegas at just about the slowest time of the year, the week¬†before Christmas. We rented a car from Thrifty through your service¬†and didn’t regret it. At $19/day plus tax and just driving between¬†strip casinos and the Outlet Mall, it was well worth it.¬†(Incidentally, we booked our San Diego resort and car through your¬†service for the following 5 days, very pleased.) Regarding self¬†parking, always free, but the walk from the parking ramps to the¬†casino can be quite long, though.

Most large-production shows were dark; warning to November and¬†December visitors. We did see EFX and booked advanced tickets about a¬†month early through the MGM Grand to save service charges. EFX was¬†well worth the money and had a variety of “acts” which were long¬†enough to enjoy but short enough not to get board, including¬†aerobatics, Irish tap dancing, battling fire-breathing dragons, a 3-D¬†movie clip, and a little magic, among others.

We stayed at the Mirage, booked through your service. A gorgeous¬†reception area (huge fish tank), but a rather long wait (20+ minutes).¬†The receptionist was very friendly and interacted with us like a good¬†friend. All the staff was extremely friendly and courteous. A very¬†nice room and good mattress, except for loud shower noise coming from¬†the neighboring room. We thought the Mirage buffet was mediocre and¬†would not recommend. The California Pizza kitchen was good but would¬†recommend ordering one pizza for two people and saving room for desert¬†(we’re on vacation, you know). We are big eaters, but had to leave¬†pizza leftovers. We should have tried the Samba Grill as it has¬†all-you-can-eat marinated meats. We missed the Secret Garden as the¬†winds were too brisk. The pool was closed, but invited to swim at¬†Treasure Island, but didn’t; not warm enough. For us, this resort¬†sure beats out Bally’s, Imperial Palace, Maxim, and LV Hilton.¬†Another complaint at the Mirage was that the air was very stuffy; felt¬†like we had to get out of the casino. Rooms were same way; with AC on¬†too cold/damp, with heat on, too hot/stuffy. Maybe it’s just the time¬†of the year, no AC in the casino? Felt the same way in NY, NY casino.

The drive down the strip from the airport to the Mirage took more than 45 minutes but is a great introduction to Vegas. The corner of Tropicana and Las Vegas Blvd. was the longest wait, but the sights were great with the Statue of Liberty and the MGM Lion to look at. Inside the New York, New York was great with a Central Park and Times Square theme. Inside the Paris was great for its city street shops and sidewalk cafes to get a pastry and latte; very realistic. The legs of the Tour Eiffel go right through the roof. The ceiling was painted as the sky, a common scheme throughout Vegas hotels. It would have been a nice touch to paint the ceiling with a perspective of the Tower from those legs. They look cut off.

The inside of the entrance to the Venetian is gorgeous with fantastic¬†“old-world” murals painted on the ceiling and walls. The Venetian¬†shops area was okay, but the canal was nothing special. As you are¬†walking along the shops/canal, it just dead-ends at a wall with a fire¬†exit. You go over a bridge and just walk down the other side of the¬†canal. It would have been better if it was a loop; spoiled the¬†effect. The courtyard was impressive, but looked cavernous and empty.¬†Some of the shops are interesting and one-of-a-kind, and one in¬†particular sells porcelain dolls from Venice, where else, one of which¬†we had sent home. Had one of our best meals at a large beautiful¬†restaurant away from the shops (can’t remember the name, but is run by¬†the CheeseCake Factory). The lunch specials were huge premium-quality¬†pasta dishes under $10 (?).

The Bellagio is beautiful but definitely for the upper crust. The atrium was decorated with holiday flowers and trees. Just glimpsed the fountains from a window, but no time to catch a show. All the restaurants were way too expensive ($30+ entrees), so just passed them by. Wanted to eat at the buffet at 7:30 PM, but had a 2.5 hour line. Wanted to visit the art gallery, but just not enough time and seemed too expensive.

Saving the best for last, The Star Trek Experience at the LV Hilton¬†was great, well worth the $16; found a $1 off/person coupon in a¬†mini-magazine in our Mirage room. The starship models hanging from¬†the ceiling are huge and fantastic. The at-your-own-pace museum had¬†all sorts of props and costumes, but is very dark to take¬†pictures/video. The historic timeline would have taken an hour to¬†read; maybe to entertain when long lines are present, which there were¬†none. Exciting Star Trek clips playing constantly in the background¬†on giant view screens with theme music and familiar voices (they¬†should sell a video tape of the clip loop, but don’t). The “ride”¬†part is very well done, with a really cool transporter “beaming” onto¬†the Enterprise, a visit to the Enterprise-D bridge for a briefing, a¬†cheesy turbolift ride, and a very realistic ride in a shuttlecraft¬†escaping enemy Klingons (I thought they were our friends in the 24th¬†century?) and the obligatory fly-over of the LV strip crashing into¬†the Hilton Marquee, only to land on Deep Space Nine. The food and¬†drink were surprisingly good (gourmet) at Quark’s Bar (recommend the¬†Creole dish named after the captain of DS9). The wife’s Saucer¬†Section quesadilla looked like nothing special but the dishes were¬†futuristic. Since it was lunch, we passed on the Klingon blood wine¬†and other enticing drinks. I had to give the ambassador a hard time¬†for serving Tribble Tenders; how could you!! The Klingon and Ferengi¬†walking around the shops were true to life. The shops had some great¬†stuff, and had to have them ship me an Enterprise-D sculpture home (no¬†tax, but shipping). The Spacequest casino was okay, and had a nice¬†warp core to look at. The Mrs. won $45 with the nickel slots in ten¬†minutes (had to wait 30 minutes for someone to refill the machine to¬†finish the payoff!). In the main Hilton casino, looking bland¬†compared with what we have seen on this trip, I lost $40 playing table¬†blackjack while the Mrs. won another $60 playing nickel slots in our¬†total of one hour of casino play on our 4 day visit; who has time to¬†gamble.

Thank you Access Vegas News for your great newsletter. It was a great help in planning our vacation.

3’rd Person Legal Libaility Liability In A Nevada Hotel

Do you have information about a 3rd person law that protects hotels from¬†liability in case of accidents not caused by the hotel or a hotel¬†employee? I was injured at Rio.. Las Vegas in July 99…when a guest¬†luggage rolled into my path and I fell on top of the luggage,and floor¬†injuring my knees badly…The hotel has refused any reimbursement using¬†the 3rd person law, for my injures and expenses incurred. After asking¬†me how the hotel could compensate me.¬†Please let me know about this.

Ted Responds:

My personal attorney James Smith has a website at¬†¬†and is happy to give free initial consultation regarding Nevada legal problems. If any of you have similar situations, he’s the guy to ask.




CEO/Managing Editor

Las Vegas Deals And Comps

I really enjoy your newsletter and am taking my elderly parents out¬†there in mid March of 2000. We have reservations¬†at Bellagio. I take¬†them every year, last year we stayed at Bally’s, year before MGM.

There is nothing my parents enjoy more than getting a deal or comps of¬†any kind. There used to be a person who had a site that gave the best¬†deals. For instance. the steak dinner at Binion’s, for $?? .99 cent¬†shrimp cocktail at ??, breakfast buffet at ??, lunch buffet at ??,¬†IMAX show at ?? . etc..

They also told about the casino’s best comp programs when you sign up¬†for their casino cards. Like how quickly you could accumulate enough¬†points to get a free buffet or get one just for signing up.

I can’t find the site anymore and thought maybe you would like to post¬†such a list at your newsletter. A lot of times the info in the letter¬†didn’t change for months and that was okay. It uncovered some pretty¬†interesting deals a lot of tourists never would have known about¬†similar to your writings.

Please keep up the good work, I read you religiously.

Ted Responds:

The deals tend to change more than ever, although we have noted things like the $4.95 steak 24 hours at Ellis Island, the late night Binion’s $3.00 steak and the like.





CEO/Managing Editor

Grand Lux Cafe At Venetian Las Vegas Margharitta Pizza

Thanks so much for your informative newsletters … always look forward¬†to receiving them. I visited Las Vegas the first week in December.¬†Although I’ve visited the Mirage several times, this was the first¬†trip during which I ate at their buffet. Absolutely a fabulous¬†experience! The food was hot and very well presented. All you can¬†eat crab legs and peeled shrimp..what a deal!! The bread pudding the¬†Mirage is worth the price of an airline ticket!

We stayed the Venetian and ate several meals at the Grand Lux Cafe¬†just off the casino. I highly advise any of their salads and the¬†Margharitta pizza is just divine! It’s also great to be seated in the¬†little courtyard. It’s just far enough away from the casino floor to¬†be relaxing, but just close enough to still hear the “ca-ching” of¬†cash flowing!!

Cheers and happy 2000

Steak Special At Ellis Island Las Vegas Good

Randy Pendleton wrote:

Merry Christmas to you too Ted. I just returned from seven days in¬†Vegas last night, and the weather was perfect every day except one.¬†Returned to Indiana and it’s 17 degrees and snowing.¬†Also, thanks to your advice, I tried the steak special at Ellis Island,¬†and it was a super deal for the money. I tried the buffets at¬†Bellagio, Resort at Summerlin, Main Street Station, and the sea food¬†buffet at the Rio. Rio wins hands down however I had lunch buffets at¬†all of the others and they were all half the price of the Rio. Can’t¬†beat the ribs and pizza at Main Street, or the shrimp and deserts at¬†The Resort at Summerlin, or the prime rib at Bellagio. The cheese cake¬†was a toss up between Main Street, and Bellagio. I cant wait to go back!

Visting Laughlin and Grand Canyon Tours From Las Vegas

Thelma Brady wrote:

First of all I would like to thank you for your news letter every week, I have learned a lot about Vegas from reading them. Really enjoy them.

We recently returned from Vegas, spent about a month out there, went to Lake Tahoe for the first time (beautiful ). Also went to Laughlin too. Beautiful there, to we really love Laughlin its so nice and quiet out there. Also went back to Vegas, took the Grand Canyon tour which was very nice, but they tell you you are going to have breakfast and lunch, which is fine we thought.

First of all the the breakfast was a big joke, they took us to an airport I¬†don’t know which one very small all we got was a cup of coffee,juice, & a¬†danish which was ok not the best, but no tables to sit at very few¬†seats,because of all the tours that was there, so if your bus was one of the¬†last ones in you stood up to eat which wasn’t to easy.

Also when we got to lunch at the Holiday Inn we had to pay for our soda the¬†meal wasn’t that good (buffet) not much to pick from , mashed potatoes, no¬†gravy for them, and deserts at all. I would not recommend this trip to anyone¬†I knew was going.

Otherwise the trip to Vegas was wonderful as always.

Thank you for your time.