When Will Las Vegas Casinos Get Back To Customer Service and Decent Slots?

When are the casino’s going to realize that the main reason that most people come to Vegas is to play the slots? When they keep returning less and less it becomes no fun any more. When it becomes no fun people eventually quit playing. When they remove all hope of that winning streak that used to happen one time in ten, people will quit playing.

I live in Illinois and the casino’s here have done the same thing. I was talking to a casino host and she said ever since they put all the penny slots and reduced returns to players,the crowds just keep getting smaller.

I also was talking to a couple about this problem,that had just returned from Vegas. They said the casino’s were not as clean as they used to be, employees were not friendly, food way too expensive,and slot machine play was even worse than here in Illinois. They said they used to go to Vegas twice a year and now they don’t think they will return at all.

I think its time for the casino’s to give us back that small glimmer of hope if they want us dedicated slot players to become regulars again. My wife and I never missed a year since 1980, until now. We haven’t been there in two years, and don’t plan on it until things change. Old fogy maybe so, but until a glimmer of hope returns I’ll keep my money here in Illinois.


Ted Responds:

The trend toward penny slots has resulted in tighter slots, no question about that (a number of reports have been published on the topic). I won’t touch them. You have to put more than a few pennies in anyway. To really win, you need to be playing 50 cents or more per spin. Give me the quarter slots where I have a shot at winning!

No question some of the debt-ravaged major gaming players here need to step up the cleanliness and maintenance issues. There are glimmers of hope but you need to know where to look. The Stratosphere was just redone from head to foot, literally. The casino, the rooms you name it. Huge investment and everything is really nice. We’ll have a full report coming soon.

Station Casinos is more of a local place, but Palace Station (just across the freeway from The Sahara) has rooms that were remodeled just a few years ago and in great shape. As we’re reporting in a future issue, they are also really increasing their help and employees there are very friendly. We’ve also found great video poker payouts and looser slots.

We keep talking about El Cortez as a place that has also been remodeled (casino and rooms) and is actually a really nice place to enjoy. Plus, downtown simply has the looser slots and (in my opinion) more friendly employees. And it still beats (by far) a stand-alone casino in another state.

Ted Newkirk
CEO, Managing Editor

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Las Vegas Slots Are Too Tight, When Will The Casinos Wake Up?

After all the comments of slots being tightened, meals too high priced,unfriendly casino employees,and resort fees,my wife and I were ready to try Vegas again. BUT then we just talked to some people at our local casino that just returned from Vegas. The conversation was how all casinos are tightening payouts, but these folks said “If you think its bad here in Illinois, it’s nothing compared to Las Vegas. They have been regular Vegas goers for years and now say they will never return. It has changed my wife’s and my decision to return.

When are the casino’s going to learn that the majority of people going to Vegas on a regular basis go there to play the slots?

If the return on slots is so bad that it is no fun anymore the people will eventually stop playing them. The casinos in Illinois have noticed a dramatic drop in slot play, and when you talk to people at the casino’s its always the same complaint, they have reduced the payouts to a point where there is no hope anymore. No hope means No fun, which in turn means we quit playing.

Other things mentioned by the couple that just returned from Vegas were casino’s were dirty, food too expensive, unfriendly employees, and lack of comps.

I hope the casinos wake up before it’s too late.

Ted Responds:

Not much I can add to that. Casino employees who should be happy to just have a job need to brush up on their customer service. I disagree about the expensive food. Bargains still abound (especially downtown). A celeb chef restaurant is going to be expensive anywhere in the country.

Readers, the comment box below is all yours!

Ted Newkirk
CEO, Managing Editor

Trip Report – Elvis, Rio, Slots, Are Las Vegas Shows Running Around Christmas?

Just arrived back home from 7 days in Vegas. Had a great time!!!! Watch the Elvis program at Aria and it was excellent. I tried the $20.00 trick to the desk clerk and it worked, had a room facing the strip on a HIGH floor and she was so sweet to me during check in process, even wished me a HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! (stayed at The Rio).

I found the slots machines were really tight, until Friday night. I also found that Vegas was very very busy! Hopefully that is good sign that things are moving back up! We are going back for Christmas this year and never been there during that time. Are most of the shows running during the week of Christmas? How is the weather during that time?

Thanks for your wonderful info!

Connie from Florida

Ted Responds:

Very happy to hear you enjoyed your stay! It never hurts to mention a special occasion upon check-in and combined with a try at the “$20 Trick” (putting a folded up $20 bill between your ID and credit card and asking in there is a higher floor or preferred view available) probably has a good chance at success. They return the bill to you if they can’t accomodate you.

I do want to squelch a misconception many visitors have: It was long throught that the casinos loosened up their slots during the week, then tightened them up on weekends to “stick it” to the weekend visitors (who are paying higher room rates and airfare to fly in for weekends, a time of higher demand). Not true. The vast majority of slot machines have a computer chip in them to determine payouts, and that chip must be manually swapped out to change the odds. Doing this twice each week would be cost-prohibitive.

So, it was interesting to see that you actually experienced looser slots on Friday. The reason? Lady Luck. Hot and cold streaks and happen at any time. Glad you caught an upturn with your luck.

Las Vegas experiences the slowest two weeks of the year from the time National Finals Rodeo ends (Dec. 11 of this year) until Christmas. Christmas Eve falls on a Friday this year, so I expect a pretty good influx for the Christmas weekend. Traditional “family holiday” weekends like Thanksgiving and Christmas have seen a real uptick here over the past few years as far-flung family members agree to meet in Las Vegas.

To answer your question: Many (if not the majority) of shows choose to take this slow period and use it for vacation. You’ll still have a selection of shows, but it will be significantly reduced. Look at the bright side: Being here during the slowest time of the year means fewer (or no) lines, often lower gambling limits, less crowded tables and slots, a rare chance to almost feel like you have Las Vegas to yourself!

Ted Newkirk
CEO, Managing Editor

Female And Thinking Of Visiting Las Vegas Alone – Any Thoughts?

I was wondering what you and your readers thought of people who travel to Vegas alone. I have been coming to Vegas alone for several years now. My husband never cared for the gambling scene, he died approx. 4 years ago and now my boyfriend doesn’t care for it either.

I know my way around and wouldn’t go places I shouldn’t and times that I should not be there either.

I love slot tournaments and I love the spa’s during the day. This give me MY time and I can gamble morning til night. I only stay a few days and always ready to go back. Do I sound pathetic? Are there other people out there like me?

I always feel safe in Vegas, never had any trouble.



Ted Responds:

First of all, there is nothing pathetic about coming to Las Vegas alone regardless of your gender. In fact, because of the large number of conventions we host, it is very common for people to be here “alone” (sans their significant other) and outside of the convention simply doing what they want to do and see on their own.

And while maybe a little more common for men to do, taking off and hitting Las Vegas for a few days is absolutely nothing new.

As you noted, Las Vegas is incredibly safe as long as you don’t wander way off down a dark street or otherwise get careless. (You wouldn’t just leave your purse lying around or go somewhere with a stranger or similar at home, and obviously shouldn’t in Las Vegas). With SO MANY cameras both inside and outside the hotels, you are probably more safe here than most other destinations.

One tip for dining alone (if it makes you feel strange in any way, which it shouldn’t): Most of the great restaurants we have will serve you the full menu at the bar. No reservations required and usually no wait to sit at the bar, and you usually aren’t completely “alone”.

From personal experience living here, I venture out alone more than I do with someone else. The freedom is wonderful. You can just go at your own whim, see what you want to see, stop and play a machine if you hear it “calling” you. Stay out if you want. Go back to your room if you are tired. See a show at spur of the moment (good single seats to a show are often available day-of-show at the box office).

Now… granted, you should at some point introduce your significant other to Las Vegas because there is so much more to do and see than gamble. He can go to Pawn Stars or watch a game or have a scotch and cigar (or whatever he’s into) while you hit the spa or do your slot tournaments. And today’s modern slot machines are more video games than slot machines. People who otherwise aren’t “gamblers” have fun on the penny slots.

But I absolutely wouldn’t think twice about it. Sometime we all need our “me” time, and the few days apart from each other may provide a nice break and make you “miss” each other just a little bit and put some fire in the relationship when you return.

Readers, do you visit Las Vegas alone? Have you considered it? Any thoughts or suggestions? Hit us with a comment in the comment box below!

Ted Newkirk
CEO, Managing Editor

What Happened To Certain Slot Machines In Las Vegas?

I love this newsletter and look forward to reading every issue. You all do a great job and it’s greatly appreciated. My husband and I love Vegas. I am really happy that you’re doing articles on slot machines now because I love finding out about the new slot machine games before visiting Vegas.

My question on the slot machines is what happened to the Soul Train slot machines? I was reading about the slot machine before I visited Vegas, and was looking for the machine and never found it. What happened? Did the slot machine every hit the floor? I thought it would’ve been great fun, very nostalgic and I was really looking forward to playing it. If this slot machine is in Vegas, can you tell me where to play it? Thanks in advance, and keep up the good work on the newsletter.

Ted Responds:

Hats off to our gaming writer Victor Royer who has published more books on gaming than I have fingers or toes to count! (See Victor H. Royer books on Amazon). His new book on all the latest slots is just about to come out. We’ll be letting everybody know about it and giving away a few autographed copies as well!

By the way, you can read everything Victor has written for us at our Las Vegas Gambling

Soul Train was introduced in 2005. I’m not sure how widely it was distributed. Here’s how it works: The big gaming companies (the ones that own lots of casinos especially) will look at various slot machines which are in production and decide which ones they are going to buy and give a a try. Then, they put them on the casino floor. A slot idea may sound like a home run in theory, but turn out to be a dud. (From what I understand, a Clint Eastwood slot theme was expected to do very well and bombed). Others take off unexpectedly. As you may imagine, the ones that do well get more floor space while others are phased out.

Even if a slot is successful, it will often run its course as people gravitate to the newest games. Only a few games (Wheel Of Fortune comes to mind) seem to last forever. So, casinos will sell the slot to another casino (usually one of the older properties or downtown or now in other parts of the U.S. and even world) where the game will live on a few more years.

The odds of a game being around 5 years later aren’t that great. Having said that, maybe I just haven’t seen them. (I profess to be more of a table game player). Readers… if you know of a casino that still has Soul Train slots, please comment below!

Ted Newkirk
CEO, Managing Editor