If anyone who frequently visits Las Vegas, will tell you about the clubs, the shows, the buffets, the shopping, the immensity of the hotels, etc. The fact is, gambling as the number one reason to visit Las Vegas has decreased. It’s the experience, the late night events that research shows as the main reasons for vacationing in Vegas. Good gambling options especially on the Strip are far & few between, become a thing of the past.
Don’t get me wrong – Las Vegas is my favorite place in the world. And if you look for it, Las Vegas offers good gambling – you just have to look for it. To someone that loves Vegas as much as I do, there are some very annoying, if not aggravating, things about the place these days. My wife and I have witnessed the expansion of “Sin City” over the last twenty years – both the good and not so good. We remember the old Vegas, trying to transition from to corporation and ownership and the famous themes with the development of three-wing hotels on the strip.
We paid our dues in those beginning years – staying at the Hacienda (imploded for the building of Mandalay Bay), Riviera (recently razed for the convention center), and Lady Luck Downtown (closed for years, now Downtown Grand). Some of our best memories include:
- stopping to spin for free airfare at Vacation Village
- drinking great brews at the “Holy Cow” (a CVS now) across from the Sahara (which is now SLS) before the craft-beer-brewing craze
- the first time we drove through Red Rock Canyon without seeing the urban sprawl. Roads to Summerlain weren’t even completed.
- getting “fun books” at places like Lady Luck, Casino Royale
- seeing our first and THE FIRST Cirque du Soleil show on the strip “Mystere” for the first time
- finding 9/6 JOB almost everywhere
(Still wondering what this has to do with New England Casinos? I’m getting to it.)
But, I’m afraid some of the fun just doesn’t exist like that anymore, or at least what I consider fun. It’s changed. Parking fees, ghost taxes at restaurants, resort fees, show prices usually around three figures – all cut into the vacationer’s bankroll, after they are playing games with larger house edge. Just like Ellington said in the 40’s, “Things Ain’t What They Used to Be.”
But that is what businesses do – they continue to evolve. So, we have to continue to look for different experiences to “float our boat” because nothing stays the same – especially in Las Vegas.
Last week I was in suites at Cosmopolitan for 4 days and Westgate (the old Las Vegas Hilton) for 2 days. It was a great time. We look forward to new things now – lunch at Giada’s, great draft beer at Banger Brewing, and the best donuts ever at Donut Bar. What does this have to do with gambling in New England?
But, I’m glad to be back. To be honest, the pay tables and % payback in New England are comparable to the Strip (check Casino Player’s monthly stats), if not better and it doesn’t cost an arm & and a leg to get here, never mind pay for parking like MGM Las Vegas and Atlantic City. It’s Vegas style gaming with some of the amenities that are now lacking in Sin City.
The future continues to be promising for New England Casinos.
- MGM Springfield completed by 2019
- Oxford Casino, Maine will have two hotels available, one attached to the casino.
- Wynn Boston Harbor – completed by late 2019
- New Tiverton Casino in Rhode Island replacing Newport Grand
- Twin River Casino building a hotel….eventually.
- Maybe a third casino in Connecicut
- Mohegan Sun adding the new “Earth Hotel” late this year.
So, I guess the point is simple: drive less, pick your games wisely, use the NE Casinos’ bonuses and special offers during the holiday season and enjoy your recreational gambling closer to home – as well as the great entertainment, dining, and hotels they have to offer.
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