Last year, I ranted about the changes in Las Vegas in 2016. I felt it was getting farther & farther away from what I thought an epic gambling destination should be. Yes I know – things change quickly in “lost wages.” But, I don’t have to take it with a smile.
In thirty years of visiting Las Vegas, I have seen more changes than I would like to remember. From staying at the Hacienda & the Riviera in the late 80’s, to staying at Aria & Cosmo now, the differences in the Strip alone are mind-boggling. There are still things that I wish were part of the Vegas fabric.
Before my previous rant last year (see Las Vegas – No Christmas Cheer, Just More Scrooge ) free parking in Vegas became a thing of the past. This, for some reason, put me over the edge in rage. It just seemed that a sacred Vegas staple had fallen – what would be next???
Remember these changes on the Strip during 2016?
- Paying for self-parking, paying for valet parking and paying for parking even as a hotel guest (oh, the humanity)
- Porn slappers being replaced by “performers” or buskers all over the sidewalks and pedestrian bridges
- Economic level Strip properties like Boardwalk, the Sahara, Monte Carlo, Barbary Coast, and Imperial Palace replaced by up-scaled versions like Mandarin Oriental, SLS, Park MGM, Cromwell, and the Linq respectively.
- More 6/5 blackjack than 3/2, and tighter rules up and down the Strip.
I could go on, but………why? What’s done, is done. I imagine I can belabor the point. I can criticize Jim Murren of MGM, CEO’s at Caesars Entertainment, and Steve Wynn for the monopolies they present on the Strip and the changes they have been able to forge, but it would just be an exercise in futility.
Instead, I wish to consider two directions that will help me come to my senses.
First, it’s time to embrace those changes influenced by the Great Recession of 2007 and open my eyes to the wonderful new Vegas Strip. So much beautiful architecture, new casinos, wonderful amenities, and fabulous dining and entertainment opportunities in Vegas to enjoy. Gambling and enjoying a rejuvenated Downtown, as well as taking advantage of all that is the ever spreading urban sprawl into Henderson & Summerlain.
So many new and improved options, one visit per year from the East Coast is just not enough anymore.
The second direction is accepting the fabulous gambling, hotel, dining and entertainment options right here in New England – and it’s only going to get better when the current seven casinos expend to 9, 10, or even eleven. Here in New England, we have casinos for every desire – from small convenience casinos to Mega-resorts, two (four counting the future MGM Springfield & Wynn Boston Harbor) that rival anything on the strip, without the fees, WITH free drinks, 5 star dining, enough “oonze” and clubs to get your groove on, fantastic entertainment, & FREE self & valet parking. You can visit Foxwoods & Mohegan Sun in a few years when you want to remember what the Vegas Strip used to be like.
I have loved Las Vegas and will continue to do so. But my friends, I have no podcast to verbally express myself (but we will see what the future brings) like so many of my favorite Las Vegas podcasters. I will continue to listen and be guided by my friends on my iPhone – Tim & Michele Dressen of “Five Hundy by Midnight,” Mark Wojtowicz at “360 Vegas,” , Mark & Dr. Mike at “You Can Bet On That”, Scott Roeben at Vital Vegas, Tony Snyder at “The Vice Lounge Online,” Jullian at VegasConfessions, Michael Trager & Co. at TravelZork, and even the newest podcast sensation CousinVito’s Casino Podcast.
As I continue to depend on these experts for my Vegas news & advice, I suggest you all do, too. So I say,
Viva Las Vegas, and Viva New England!
Binbin – NE TimeGambling.com