Vegas Rants: Is Sin City Determined To Drive You Away?

Sammasseur asks the tough question that’s probably on lots of minds…

Last week, while editing a guest contributor’s article about the de-theming of Luxor Hotel Casino, I felt a long-brewing flame inside me suddenly become a flash fire. The article reminded me of all the things I fell in love with that Vegas was so intent on removing. And I felt the need for written rants about the path that Sin City is headed down.


“Has anyone seen those talking camels?”...

Guest contributor Barry B. broke down the details of how he’d like to restore the iconic Pyramid to its true Egyptian motif, and several of you agreed:

Chris in Nashville: I’d hire you to be the GM of the Luxor for sure! While we are at it, can we please bring back the quarter 80s arcade that was once in the atrium?

Aaron: Their attempts at modernizing their resort has had them step so far away from what it is, that it’s almost embarrassing. They should get back to what the place was designed to be. Nice article.

Rooster: If they made your suggested changes, I would totally stay at the Luxor again.

Alfred: Do all of your ideas, and change the 6:5 blackjack to 3:2, and I’d stay there.

Since beginning my own Vegas addiction in 2006, I’ve helplessly watched as some of my favorite attractions have been yanked out and tossed into that box labeled “When Vegas Was Better”. They include SPEED, the roller coaster at Sahara, the High Roller ride at Stratosphere (their own rollercoaster, not that slow-moving LINQ observation wheel), MGM Grand‘s Lion Habitat and the White Tiger Pool at Mirage.


Rio’s once-iconic “Show In The Sky” was cut back, trimmed down, and ultimately removed…

Then there are the gorgeous exterior fountains at Paris and Monte Carlo, the lobby aquarium at Mandalay Bay, Rio’s legendary Show In The Sky, moving statues and costumed Roman gladiators strolling around Caesars Palace …and on and on. With rumors swirling of both Luxor and Excalibur getting another strip-down, Barry’s article really hit home. It prompted me to finally vocalize something that I’m convinced is on lots of other readers’ minds.


The Linq Hotel – from dump to overpriced eyesore in the name of progress…

Not only have the attractions and free shows been ripped out, but the campiness and fun of hotel themes have been chiseled away ad nauseam. Sure, Imperial Palace was a flophouse. But it was also extremely affordable, had a unified faux-Asian charm…and those unforgettable Dealertainers. Now we have The Linq – a stupidly-named, generic exercise in blandness stocked with Ikea-grade furniture, glaringly-bright interiors and a hideous exterior paint job that defies explanation.


Sorry, SLS, but I prefer this…


…to this…

In an alternate universe, Imperial Palace regulars might have moved down to Bill’s Gambling Hall or up the Strip to Sahara to get their affordable room and themed surroundings. But not in THIS reality, where Sahara’s Moroccan stylings were jettisoned in favor of white-on-white at the absurdly-overpriced SLS (three letters that represent nothing, really).

Remember the Victorian-era rich woods, stained glass and gorgeous chandeliers at Bill’s Gambling Hall (originally Barbary Coast)? That stylish little hotel got put on a salt-free diet of beige, blandness and more beige. It was refitted and renamed the meaningless Cromwell two years ago (who exactly is Cromwell…a stuffy old butler?). Bye-bye, Victorian Rooms $4.99 steak and eggs…hello to Giada’s and $60.00 for a 7-oz filet. I’m sure that Giada’s dental work didn’t come cheaply, but should you have to pay for it?


$36.00 for ravioli…just because I can…

There was once a time when guests arriving at Paris were greeted with quaint French phrases. Those arriving at Luxor could take a Nile riverboat to their inclinator (an angular elevator in the pyramid). Treasure Island was alive with buccaneers and a swashbuckling outdoor show. The mirage-themed….er, Mirage was lined with bamboo accents and staff members wore tropical shirts (the volcano erupted way more frequently, too). Now the only thing that really sets these hotels apart from one another is the amount of their respective mandatory fees.

The fact that this trend continues could mean two things from where I stand. Either people don’t really care, or the powers that be aren’t concerned with what you want. When you poke around the internet and read things like “I’m done with Vegas. I can visit shopping malls at home and gamble at my local casino without being ripped off for everything”, you have to ask yourself who is right.


These prices are long gone…and so is the restaurant itself…

I still love Vegas, enough to visit at least twice a month. But you can believe that my spending habits, entertainment choices and lodging selections have been altered dramatically. At first, it was a retreat into the Downtown area. where hotels and restaurants were much cheaper, parking was free and resort fees where unheard-of. Then Fremont Street and the surrounding area got bit by the same dollar-sucking bug.

These days, the ancient and crumbling Golden Gate Hotel tacks on an additional $20 per day to your bill (for nothing, really). Mermaids and the 99-cent hot dog are both gone. Parking meters line the city streets, gates block your entrance into hotel garages until you pay up, and the Gold Spike‘s $5.99 Prime Rib special will set you back $43 at Oscars (and side dishes are no longer part of the meal, by the way).


Those talking statues have left Caesars Palace for parts unknown…

After Downtown and the Strip both nickeled-and-dimed me to the point of defeat, I scoured the outlying areas in search of new haunts. And what did I find? Themes! Value! Free attractions! Yes, they’re still out there, waiting for you die-hards to discover. There really aren’t many remaining, and even the resorts that offer these beloved relics of yesterday’s Vegas have been affected by money-grubbing, albeit to a much lesser extent.


Eastside Cannery – new, gorgeous, affordable…and NO RESORT FEES…

We’re talking the likes of Sam’s Town (excellent cheap Firelight Buffet and lovely Mystic Falls attraction and show) and Eastside Cannery (my favorite Vegas hotel – no resort fees, extremely reasonable rates, free Wi-Fi and Strip-quality rooms) on Boulder Highway.

Stations Casinos dot the entire valley, each one offering a different personality with plenty of attractions and dining options that won’t break the bank. My favorite of their value-geared locations is Texas Station for its atmosphere, cheap dining and movie theaters. Palace Station is my go-to for Feast Buffet, where weekday dinners are only $8.99. Breakfast is $6.99 Monday-Saturday (Sunday brunch is only $10.99 vs. $21.99 at Excalibur and $26.99 at Mandalay Bay), making it totally worth the drive for quality basics. And parking is still free…as it SHOULD  be.


Let’s not forget the wide array of smaller boutique hotels, like Rumor, Artisan, aging Royal Resort and Tuscany Suites that offer a lot more style and personality than the Aria “office complex” ever could. Unfortunately, most of these have tacked on mandatory fees like their Strip counterparts, but are far less expensive overall than the big boys. And you won’t have to stand in line and be subjected to a pat-down just to take a dip in the pool.

It’s no secret that Vegas casinos have seen a drop in revenue, resulting in actions to make up that money elsewhere. Bottle service, admission fees, higher show prices, fewer free drinks for video poker players, rationed complimentary cocktails using less alcohol and cheaper spirits, cutbacks on Player’s Club rewards. Maybe if they never rolled out the universally-hated 6:5 Blackjack odds, a bottle of water wouldn’t cost seven dollars?

I know that there are those of you out there, reading this now, who say “Things change. Vegas moves forward. The days of old Vegas are over”. To you, I respond “That’s true if you accept it”. But why have we as a collective group of Vegas-goers allowed this to happen?


Sorry, Holly…we’re not buying into your lies…

Can you really state, with total honesty, that it’s fair for this city to tack on Resort Fees, Parking Fees, Energy Surcharges, Live Entertainment Taxes, Customer Facility Charges, Concession Recovery Fees, Concession and Franchise Fees, Room Preference Fees, Telephone Call Convenience Fees, Ticket Convenience Fees, Credit Card Usage Fees, Live Reservation Operator Surcharges, Early Check-in Fees, In-room Safe Usage Fees…and many more…to your visit? How soon before they install machines to collect quarters before you can use the casino restroom?

When I was a writer for VegasChatter, we were made aware that some restaurants were starting to tack on an extra charge to serve you a glass of tap water along with your meal. Yes, tap water!

Isn’t it outrageous to you that free in-room coffeemakers, continental breakfast and wireless internet (things that are standard in just about every basic motel around the nation) are not provided in Las Vegas? Apparently not, because thousands of people shrug it off every day.


Stratosphere has attempted to counteract “Today’s Vegas” with an ad campaign that has wonderful intentions. Called “Take Vegas Back“, Stratosphere is running commercials and filling the city with billboards and print ads. They plead for a return to the days when average Joes and Janes could enjoy themselves in Sin City without having to be super-rich or super-gorgeous. Too bad the hotel itself is a bit hypocritical by charging a $24.99 plus tax Daily Resort Fee…and a bacon double-cheeseburger is $15.99 in their casual Roxy’s Diner.

Once this city is completely consumed by blandness, fraudulent extortion charges, soaring prices and declining customer service, this writer may reach the point where Vegas becomes the rare once-a-year destination. After all, there are plenty of other places to visit where you can get bang for your buck. You know…like Vegas USED to be.

It doesn’t have to be this way, though. Things could revert if we stopped being so docile towards this nonsense and actually spoke out/fought back/refused to go along. Perhaps we’re seeing signs of this already, at least in regards to MGM’s parking fees, where rumors of show closings and dramatically-dropping retail sales have surfaced.


HEXX and Budweiser Beer Park – two levels of scamming…

Why stop there? Let the hoteliers, restaurateurs and politicians know that you’ve had enough. Scott Roeben of put it beautifully when he exposed the CNF Concession and Franchise Fee at HEXX, Budweiser Beer Park, Cabo Wabo Cantina, Senor Frogs and others:

Vegas visitors have long bemoaned the fact hotels charge resort fees, but Cabo Wabo Cantina and a few other Strip restaurants charge this concession fee, and it’s far worse than a resort fee because you get nothing whatsoever for it. It’s just a fee tacked onto your bill.

The CNF charge is, in fact, worse than a resort fee, because guests typically don’t learn about the gratuitous fee until their bill arrives, when it’s too late to choose another restaurant.

Adding to the outrage of the CNF charge is the fact it’s added to your bill before the sales tax is calculated, so you’re paying tax on a tax.

What can you do if you’re presented with a bill that includes a CNF charge you didn’t know about? Refuse to pay it. Talk to a manager, demand the charge be reversed and raise holy hell. Tell everyone you know to stay away. E-mail. Tweet. Comment on Facebook. Rant. Rail. Fight back.

Let these venues know we’re mad as hell and we’re not going to take it in the cornhole anymore.

Scott has also gone on camera and used his site to expose other customer-gouging practices, particularly at MGM Resorts.

And then there’s Branden Powers, the man behind Golden Tiki and the new Evel Pie pizza joint in Downtown, who wrote this beautiful treatise on the “old ways” for Las Vegas Review Journal:

Because of my history with this great city, I want to make sure that its past is not forgotten. We need more Las Vegas. Nightclubs, arenas and professional sports teams are all great. But we need places where people can go talk to each other, share a cocktail and dine on a great steak while watching a classic performer.

People want to experience the Las Vegas of yesteryear because they love its history as much as I do. We need to make sure that is protected. Our history like all things in the desert is slowly evaporating. We never should have lost JUBILEE, the last classic showgirl revue. We should have rallied around it, supported it and funded it as a community.

It’s important that places like The Golden Steer, Frankie’s Tiki Room, Casa Di Amore, Hugo’s Cellar and The Peppermill Lounge, just to name a few, live on.

I intend to carry the torch and not only protect our legacy but also rebuild it anew with places like The Golden Tiki that seem as if they’ve always been there. Las Vegas Review Journal, August 12, 2016

If more folks had the fortitude of Scott Roeben and Branden Powers, Las Vegas could actually return to the days of being affordable. And it would be lots more fun than it already is.

Photos: [Sammasseur,,, Michael Movestro] Excerpts used by permission of Scott Roeben and Branden Powers

About the Author

A fitness buff and Vegas fan. Sam enjoys shows, bargains, and cheap healthy eats.

59 Comments on "Vegas Rants: Is Sin City Determined To Drive You Away?"

  1. Captain Ron | October 11, 2016 at 7:47 am |

    Sam, you are so correct! As a 3 or 4 time yearly visitor to LV since 2008 this year marks the first year I have gone 365 without a trip. The reason being is LV now feels like nothing more than an exercise in fleecing tourists. Gone is anything that was an advantage or bargain to the customer. Everything now feels like a one and done. I believe they want the 3 day tourist that spends everything in their bank acct. and doesn’t come back until they forget the burn and recover financially.

    If/when we go again we will stay at a Station Casino, we really enjoyed Sunset Station and only trek to the strip for sight seeing.

  2. theypullmebackin | October 11, 2016 at 8:15 am |

    Vegas Sun happens to have an article today on Skyline Casino – Coin slots and $5.95 prime rib.

    • Sadly one of the comments, if true, tells a deeper story:

      JaqueKeno1 6 hours ago
      “Because we’re not changing anything,”

      Except they got rid of old time employees. I know. I was there when employees were bemoaning many had gotten the ax. We stopped going there. I don’t like it when employees get the ax so owners can cut labor expenses and make MORE money. The Skyline was never hurting. They just did what many wealthy people and businesses do to increase profits. Give employees the shaft. Welcome to Corporate America, where the rich exploit the poor.

  3. Sadly it will take another downturn for “them bean counters” to feel the pain and roll back the money grubbing scams. Great read and so spot on. It certainly seems like legal pickpocketing by soulless corporations. People have multiple gaming options now. I’m as frugal as it gets and have not hit the point of no return but I do my homework before traveling to Vegas and generally only patronize those who offer fair value. It get more difficult every year to find these places. Thanks again for the well written article.

  4. Hear! Hear!

    An article worth sharing on FB, VMB, etc.

  5. Don’t forget to mention how going to the pool at any property used to be an escape from gouging, but now you cant get a lounger near the pool without paying ridiculous fees like $75 midweek and $150 weekends oh but that includes 1 bottle of water and lousy Wi-Fi

  6. Thank you Sam. Although I’m part of the problem I suppose, because I keep going back. But I LOVED Speed, even at $10 it was a great ride and every year we went up to Sahara just for it. We also miss the French phrases with the translations in the Paris bathrooms, they were funny and there’s no reason to have gotten rid of them other that being uptight. Also, we always come early and last year got the room we wanted but had to pay the early check-in fee. Wtf? The room is READY. What’s the fee for? And whoever decided to tear down Bally’s lovely neon-and-water entrance should be ridden out of town on a rail. So many others I could name, it makes you wonder how long Bellagio can afford to keep its iconic fountains, all that acreage devoted to an expensive attraction that they GIVE away, and doesn’t bring any people actually INTO the resort. Enjoy it now, folks.

  7. Great comment by Brandon Powers. LOVE LOVE LOVE Golden Tiki, as well as Frankie’s Tiki Room and The Peppermill Lounge. While we do like staying at the Encore, it’s nice to be able to have choices like the above to get a feel for the “old” Vegas. We also prefer to eat at restaurants off the Strip, because for one, the prices are a LOT cheaper (even Raku is cheap, compared to a comparable restaurant on the Strip), and the experience is different (as in better – less douchebags).

  8. I’m a 2 to 3 times a year visitor since 1989. Good read here. I can’t imagine anyone in my age group that could disagree with you. We were the ones dropping good money (to us) over a week long vacation, but the clubs n thugs n tits n ass crowd somehow became more appealing. Remember the stage behind the bar on the west side of Four Queens? Basically Frank Dean Sammy Englebert Tom Nat classics. God I prefer that so much to fat girls in pasties on Fremont. Really, I’m not that old, but I am disgusted with most of the changes I’ve seen. Remember when you felt safe walking down LVBD at 3:00 in the morning with your mom? Rant over. I gotta get back to work and save up some money to drive to the Detroit casinos where thete is less casino competion and better hospitality.

  9. jackie franklin | October 11, 2016 at 10:00 am |

    Great article

  10. I total agree with you. My husband and I only go once a year. I can shop at the mall and see a CVS or Walgreens on every corner here in Oklahoma. I want shows, entertainment and more bang for the buck. What Vegas use to be. Glitz and glamour of the strip and downtown, not someone trying to ring another dollar out of my wallet for nothing. How long before the casinos are more like the beggars on the street that have a bucket or cup pushed in front of you before you can walk in.

  11. Las Vegas executives believe that I travel to Las Vegas to spend lots of money. They’re close, but the reason I go is to HAVE FUN spending money. All of the various fees and bad odds mean I have less fun. So I spend less money in Las Vegas, and I explore other vacation destinations that want me to have a good time instead of trying to squeeze every dime out of my wallet as fast as possible.

  12. Awesome article! We were just having this conversation on my board! Oh how I miss some of those “old things!”

  13. Wannaberocker | October 11, 2016 at 10:44 am |

    Great article. I come to Vegas for a getaway. But soon there will be nothing to draw me there. I have like most people a casino within a half hours drive. Actually I have 3. My money goes further in each of these casinos than in Vegas. My last two trips to Vegas did not win a thing. The machines just take and take. It gets discouraging fast and then you stop feeding the machine. So they try to get the money out of you another way. I say make the odds better than at the local casino.

  14. Thanks, Sam. The de-theming is a real disappointment over the years. Not to mention the resort fees which are then taxed–soon to be higher with the football stadium. Agree with Matt about Bellagio fountains. Throw in the Bellagio conservatory?

  15. They keep making all these changes and adding charges. They keep removing the things that always made Vegas exciting and fun. They keep removing the flavor from Las Vegas and it is truly sad. What I don’t understand is why they keep doing it? Is it profitable to keep turning Las Vegas into the beige, flavorless capital of the world? Eventually aren’t people going to get tired of ….beige? I realize rich people will probably always go no matter what changes are made but I always thought it was the average guy, girl, couple that went, that really kept Vegas going. I hate all the changes I mean, do they really need a Walgreens/CVS on every corner? Makes me sad.

  16. Long gone are the days of the $99 RT airfare as well. I couldn’t find a flight 6 months out for dates in October for under $500 for a nonstop. If all of the above doesn’t deter the vacationer, the flights will be the straw that broke the camel’s back (pun intended).

    • Where are you coming from? I found airfare was decent this year.

      If you can stomach it, frontier and others often have some really cheap flights. Allegiant from St. Louis offers plenty of round trips for under $250 (incl. a bag) and SW has had plenty of round trips for under $300.

      Flying to LV, relative to flying to LA, Seattle, Phoenix, NYC, etc. from St. Louis is pretty fair.

  17. We used to visit every year since 2002 from Michigan, got married at Flamingo in 05 cuz we loved it so much. we haven’t been since ’14 and are planning a June ’17 trip for a 50th bday celebration. We LOVED the themes, miss the bargains, and HATE the pan handlers! June could very well be our last trip!

  18. Great article. I MISS the themes! I MISS the free attractions, cheap eats and FUN! My Speakeasy Swingers play at the Italian American club, built in 1960 and never blown up, and it’s true vintage Vegas! No cover in the lounge, $10 to dance to a 7-piece swing band the first Thursday of every month. Add us to your off-strip locations to check out.

  19. Debra Prentice | October 11, 2016 at 1:07 pm |

    Great article, and so unfortunately true, Vegas isn’t as much fun anymore. And I totally agree with the early check in fee… REALLY? Not all of us can make airline arrangements to comply with checking in at the hotel… is it just me or the sooner you check in, you can be out in the casino ?

  20. It’s definitely changing. The cost is challenging to where we are thoughtful about when we go.

    The change from casual quick dining at good cost to expensive fine dining all over is the toughest change for me. I can find the gambling that I want, and I’m not at the age where I want to stay in a flophouse room anymore. It just sucks that you can’t grab a halfway decent sandwich, bag of chips, and a soda in somewhere like Harrahs for $8.

    I’m with you about de-theming of Paris…What Caesar’s has done to that property in the last decade years is criminal. They let the rooms go to hell. They took out the fountains. They put in that god awful club that no one went to. They downgraded the buffet into being worthless. They put in those horrendous restaurants in front. Etc.

  21. Chris in Nashville | October 11, 2016 at 1:25 pm |

    There has to be a tipping point somewhere. There just has to be. I will always love Vegas because it is so much different than home, but I really do miss a lot of things that have gone away since my first trip in 2001. It’s too bad downtown is following the Strip’s lead in resort fees (ahem, Freemont Street Experience fee), lack of service and cutback of comps. Now when I go, I have my few things that I MUST do but don’t really bother going off my beaten path because there is nothing new and unique to see. It’s sad.
    While I much prefer the Barbary Coast to the Cromwell, remember it was going to be the Gansevoort. Glad we dodged that one.

  22. Karen Woodward | October 11, 2016 at 1:36 pm |

    As a visitor from ‘across the pond’ I applaud this article, moneygrabbing corporations are killing the place with their ‘resort fees’ and fees for just about everything except breathing! I adore Vegas, I’m fascinated with it’s history and love the madness of the place along with the beautiful scenic spots we can escape to less than an hour out of town. We usually come over for 4 or 5 weeks and tour round. This last trip we stayed in San Diego, Yuma, Sierra Vista, Tucson, Cottonwood, Flagstaff, Gallup, Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Monument Valley and 9 days in Vegas to finish. Absolutely NOWHERE else on our itinerary charged ‘resort fees’ and every place had free in room wifi as standard and also a pool. 2 years ago we stayed at the Stratosphere, planned to stay there again this time but found out that the fees had DOUBLED in that time! Absolutely crazy, so I found the old but lovely no resort fees Royal Resort and booked in there. Totally the right choice and the Strat missed out on our money. Noticed a lot more homeless people sleeping on the Strip than last time which makes me sad. Food prices have shot up too and I’d like to know why we can get a foot long sub from Subway in Santa Fe for $7.25 but it’s over $12 in Circus Circus? Dennys prices however seem to be the same as elsewhere thankfully. Saw Vegas The Show and was charged $10 for 2 small bottles of water, that’s even higher than at a London West End Theatre! I’ll always love Vegas and will continue to visit provided I can find places to stay that don’t charge resort fees and reasonably priced places to eat. I only have a certain amount of money to spend and I will choose to spend it in establishments that charge fair and reasonable prices. If everyone did the same then those rip off joints would soon get the hint!

  23. I can remember a time, and it does not really seem that long ago, where you would actually see slot attendants paying slot machine jackpot hand pays. Players would gather around the winner and offer congratulations.I cannot remember seeing a single hand pay jackpot for at least 2 years. As much as I enjoy going to Vegas, and dream of hitting a jackpot, the idea of actually winning is becoming just that, a dream.

  24. This article is spot on! I’ve been coming to Vegas 1-2 times per year since 1995, and used to love cruising up and down the Strip just to see what changes occurred in between my trips. Now it’s rare that I even set foot on the Strip — prices are outrageous and the fees charged are beyond ridiculous, and I fear that Downtown will soon be more of the same. The people will still come (at least for awhile), but, keep going on the path on which Vegas is now headed, and say bye-bye to the tourists. Nobody wants to go to the desert just to be ripped off. Bring back the production shows, the 3:2 blackjack and the cheap eats…that’s what brought many of us out there in the first place!

  25. Corporations run it all……..unlike the GOOD FELLAS of the good old days.

  26. Sam,

    Great article.   I can’t express how much I agree with your sentiments.   The continued fleecing of the average middle class Vegas visitor has become an increasing annoyance over the years.  

    Throughout my life, Vegas has always been a vacation destination.  As kid, in the 80s, I loved being dumped in the incidental arcade stashed in the back of the casino floor.  During my 20s, Vegas was still in its family friendly mode, which I can appreicate wasn’t some of the hardcores favorite era, but I very much enjoyed it, especially when having a young family.  The evolution to the current “What Happens in Vegas” Era has also been a lot of fun, but over the past few years we have seen it become “How much can we squeeze out of you” Vegas.

    With the introduction of MGM’s resort fees, restaurant consession fees, and paying for parking/valet, I have had enough.  It’s not that I couldn’t afford the nickel and diming, it is the fact I hate that the casinos think so little of their average customers by basically extorting them.  

    On average, we would vaction in Vegas 4-6 times a year (exclusively on the Strip).  Over the past couple of years it has become 2-3 times a year.  This year, I have refused to vaction in Vegas.  In the future, if I get the urge, I will only book trips to casios that I feel are trying to buck the current fee driven business model.  I hope more take this approach to remind Vegas that customers make profits not soul-sucking fees.

    I’m sharing this article as much as I can and I hope your readers do also.

  27. I miss the mandatory back-off playing smart 3:2 double deck blackjack at the Barbary Coast

  28. North Las Vegas is the new Vegas… Cannery, Jerry’s Nugget, Silver Nugget… loose machines, cheap eats, cheap rooms at Cannery!

  29. we stayed in 3 different hotels in september for a week and didnt see ONE hand pay done on the casino floor…..

  30. Tim Sheehan | October 11, 2016 at 5:22 pm |

    Great article. So true for me. Used to go to Vegas 4-5 times a year, now it is 2-3. Tired of getting fleeced from the time I got off the plane until I got back on the plane. I go for strictly gambling, and that is not appreciated anymore.

    Really loved the Linq comments “generic exercise in blandness”. I thought I was the only one who felt that way.

  31. Stayed at the Mirage last week. Got in late and decided to get a bite at the Carnegie deli. My wife and I each got a half sandwich, small scoop potato salad and a Diet Coke. Bill came to $34.00 plus tip. Not a good first impression.

  32. I have a timeshare in Vegas, so I always go once per year. But most years, it’s normally twice. This year was only once. Instead of spending 5 hours in a plane for only a long weekend, I am spending 2 hours in a plane to go to Tampa. When I went to reserve the rental car, I couldn’t believe how few extra fees Alamo charges in Florida compared to those that they charge in Vegas. The fees and taxes only added around 20% to the bill in Florida compared to 50% in Las Vegas.

    For this year’s trip, I probably spent less than 6 hours on the Strip all week. I spent most of my times at places that value me as a customer like Stations, Gold Coast, Orleans, Ellis Island, El Cortez, and California.

  33. This will be the first year in 5 years that im not going to LV.

    On my last trip the hotel wanted to charge me when i asked if i could check out an hour late…after i paid full price for my room for 5 days. You want a high floor for your room…thats an added fee. You want a king bed, more fees. You couldnt find any decent blackjack tables for <$50 hand. Wynn has their ridiculous odds at craps. i dont think i even saw anyone get a hand pay at any slot for the full 5 days i was in town. You stick a hundred dollar bill into a slot machine and 5 minutes later its gone. The buffet was $60 per person for mediocre food. I could go on and on and on but you get the picture.

    Im not cheap by any means, but youre just getting ripped off left and right everywhere on the Strip nowadays. No thanks.

  34. Thanks Sam……….great article. I, too, have cut way back from my usual 3-4 times yearly trip. I’m REALLY hoping another second time RECESSION in the past 10 years happen so Vegas can fall on it’s knees to, once again, beg customers to patronize the casinos. But that would hurt perhaps, 75% of the customers so maybe not. But you ge the idea.

  35. Great article. I used to frequent Vegas with my family when I was a young child. Sure, all I could do was go to Circus Circus, walk around, hit the arcades, but we also watched plenty of free entertainment around the city. I was so amazed with the bright lights and all the city’s “Vegasness.” Now as an adult, I feel like I have missed out on so many things like that Vegas legacy you touched on, the affordable and even free attractions, free parking, and no resort fees. We like to go to Vegas every now and then because it is only 4 hours away and it is an escape; but how I wish Vegas isn’t the overpriced and bland place it has become now.

  36. I used to enjoy walking down the strip with my buddies, oggling at all the pretty girls risking a fall or walking into something.
    Now you can’t go 5 feet w/o being accosted by a jagg off dressed like Batman or minion… Or someone trying to sell you their CD… Or night walks w/o stumbling over the bums sleeping on all the transition bridges between the hotels…
    Yeah, um no thanks. I’ll stay local and play at my local Californian Indian casinos for a bit then return to my home ( where the real gouging occurs: property taxes, govt. Taxes, etc)

    • Ooh, good point. The CD guys, water vendors, costume people, dancers, etc. It’s a pain to get around.

  37. I used to visit Vegas every 3-6 weeks. It was my weekend getaway, home away from home. I loved the progress that was made since I was 12 (now 32). Wynn, Sheldon, Bill, and Kirk provided grandiose places or places of diversity. It seemed as though the sky was the limit.
    I will admit I enjoy some of aria’s restaurants and Cosmo’s secret pizza, but it has all become glaringly sleezy. I don’t mean the drunken cartoon characters or the adult cards being passed out. I just feel like the whole VIP experience has been turned into used car sales. I now go stay with friends who live there or stay in hotels where I am still comp’d. For me, it was all down hill after Wynn sold Bellagio (still his best hotel). Wynn is beautiful, but it has air of pretentiousness that is ubiquitous in Vegas now. I like their beds and Sinatra’s is in my top 5 restaurants, but the service in the hotel is just not the same. It’s as if there is a bitterness between the everyday people running the hotel (bless their hearts) and the clientele. The desire to smile and help has been replaced by a worn down sense of simply needing to pay one’s bills.
    Vegas will prevail, I know she will. I refuse to agree with those who say she doesn’t make sense out there in the desert, and that she will look like a scene from an apocalypse movie one day.

  38. Eccles rice | October 12, 2016 at 1:29 am |

    I miss the days when actual desert separated properties, .99 cent shrimp cocktails, and you could hit the desert inn at 4 am and run into guys straight out of the movie Casino

  39. Lets not even talk about the possibility about limited drinks while gambling. that would end it for me,,,,

  40. Sammasseur, first let me thank you for the GREAT editing of my submission to the Vegas Bright web site. You truly made it better than it was. Thanks for that. Secondly, I agree with your broader comments wholeheartedly. I think the underlying change is that the powers at be are substituting short term gains for longevity of product. They will soon find out that this strategy is an overall fail. But then again, the people making these decisions today will be long gone by the time this is a realization. We’re all a victim of the “have it now” mentality of the millennial mind set. It is truly a shame that the entire city of Las Vegas will eventually be a victim of this activity. They will find out that they have turned a city into simply a dog chasing its’ tail.

  41. And The Mirage has cut room service. Eliminating 300 jobs and opened a 24hr ‘Pantry’. A tactic I suppose to get people out of their rooms into the casino.

    • This isn’t an LV thing…room service is dying everywhere because almost everyone loses money at it.

  42. Totally agree. Moved here in 1957 and grew up in Las Vegas. What they have done with the Strip and especially downtown is like the Galactic Bar scene in Star Wars…For those of us that have lived here a long time have also seen our school system go from one of the top in the Nation to the worst .. Just had to throw that in..Great article Sam!

  43. Bob Copeland | October 12, 2016 at 9:15 am |

    I love Las Vegas we would go four or five times a year now can only afford once or twice a year. Miss the cheap breakfast everywhere and the 99 cent shrimp cocktails. The last time I was there the room was reasonable but the resort was $28 a day for what. I don’t eat at the buffets anymore it is cheaper to eat at a non casino restaurant. MISS old Las Vegas been going there for over 35 years.

  44. Carolyn Donelson | October 12, 2016 at 9:32 am |

    I have been saying all these things for years. We have been going to Vegas since the late 80’s when our son’s were in college (one got a full scholarship) and we could afford going (from Detroit). We absolutely loved the atmosphere and low prices of meals. Kids were not allowed in a casino at all before the age of 21, we listened to our oldies music and sang along. The coins being put in the machines took longer but we loved it. Caring our little buckets of coins to be cashed in for rolls of coins to put back in was all part of the fun. The machines were loser which gave us so many more hours of fun. In my opinion, the day they decided to make Vegas a “family destination” was the beginning of the end. Who can really afford to gamble their money after all – the “baby boomers” – the retired people that’s who. Sure, the young people love the clubs but how much do they gamble? I honestly don’t car if I ever go back to Vegas but as long as our son lives there we will visit him and gamble at the “local” casinos only. You go Sam and be our voice of distention about the changes for the worse.

  45. Dean Chapman | October 12, 2016 at 2:42 pm |

    This is what you get with America’s beloved publicly held corporations. It’s all about the stock price and keeping the investors(who usually don’t know the first damn thing about the operation of the companies they invest in, and particularly the customers they’re trying to attract/keep)happy. Consequently, things wind up being run by pimply-faced MBA punks who know all about business theory and nothing about the real world of living, breathing customers. I, for one, will never set foot on the strip again when I visit.

  46. Adam(The Shaah) | October 13, 2016 at 5:41 am |

    Great article Sam!

    As a longtime visitor (over a decade), and now Las Vegas local I too am disheartened by the many changes for the worse the citys movers and shakers have implemented. Mark my words the next step will be charging an admission fee just to get into the casino. It’s coming folks. No longer will vegas be the place where the hotels ARE the attractions. Because everyone of them will have dethemed, and charged a ridiculous fee to just to enter.

    Having lived here for almost 3 years now I have seen the place I used to love turn into something I can’t even stomach. If I did not live here I wouldn’t visit the city anymore due tot heir outrageous fees for everything they can think of. Downtown USED to be excempt from this but has started to follow the strips lead. This is why I frequently use the phrase “Dpwntown has been stripified” in regular conversations with my fellow Las Vegas lovers.

    My feeling is that the city won’t be happy until they’ve run every last customer off. The only ones still coming will be the ones who say “it’s only money and I’ve got millions to spend” crowd.

  47. It’s all gonna go tits up soon, and as much as I love the place and hate to see it, the money men will only have themselves to blame for driving us out.

  48. What’s important to appreciate is that most of Vegas’ 40M+ yearly visitors are not Vegas obsessives like us, but are conventioneers and casual travelers. Catering only to us theme junkies may not be in the resorts’ or Vegas’ best interest. Bemoaning the loss of some of our favorite Vegas activities and eateries is understandable, but businesses tend to act on consumer consumption. I’m not saying the suits in charge haven’t made serious flaws in their corporate planning, but people are still buying what they’re selling.

    Further, the loss of these $5 food specials is understandable. One, inflation is a real thing. Two, those frequent specials were essentially subsidized by gambling revenue. As that declined, so does your free meals. I get the argument that poor gaming odds is what is driving gamblers away, which is leading to the decline in the casinos’ hold. But there’s not enough evidence right now to make that claim with 100% certainty. It may be a combination of that and societal sentiment towards gambling in general.

    So, yeah, I’ll be that guy. Vegas is changing. It always has, it always will. From a gambler’s paradise to a family destination to the clubbing capital. We’ll see what happens next. What we know for sure is that some won’t be happy.

  49. Wow you are absolutely correct! I miss all those things throw to the curb. I think from now on when I go out Vegas way I will also steer clear of the strip. It is awful what they have done. I miss the tiger pool at the Mirage and corny as they were the Caesars fountain statues. I have been a regular for many years but now I am thinking really? I think it may be time to see the rest of the world. I believe my last trip will be Nov 6th. Thanks for waking me up.. If I go back it will be Sam’s town or the Stations. I am sure there are many places that appreciate my dollars more than MGM or Caesars.

  50. And I just thought of something else that is pretty crappy. The Mirage can’t even afford to run the damn Volcano anymore? They cut that way back. I brought my son and daughter in law in February and we never even saw the volcano spew. hmph. yeah pretty disgusted now. For a good example look what has happened to AC. Ghost town.

  51. This article sums things up quite nicely and I thank the writer for validating what I have been thinking since 2012. Vegas’ contempt for the gambler, demonstrated by changes to table game rules and tighter slots, has turned off those who provided the town with its easiest revenue. People started gambling less because of the negative gaming changes and that led to spending more money on other things. I started going to LV years ago because of the huge variety of casinos, freebies and gaming options. But now I see most of The Strip as a tourist trap. There are restaurants and a gigantic shopping mall in my town (Destiny USA) and several casinos within 40 miles of home. Most show tours stop close to here, as well. So there’s no compelling reason for me to visit Las Vegas as it currently exists. It’s now an expensive money pit.

  52. Great Article!

    Exactly sums up what all of us are thinking.

    For me personally, Vegas started to turn me off after a few things,

    Ridiculous prices for food; lack of friendly customer service: Poor run hotel rooms: Resort fees: and finally the tipping point was MGM parking fees. If your going to increase costs, the overall quality of what you are paying for should increase as well. I don’t care if prices increase but the overall value of what I am receiving should increase as well.

    For most of us, its takes time, effort and planning to get to Vegas, whether if you are driving or flying. These fees and extra costs are more barriers or reasons not to visit but go somewhere else instead.

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