Reader Rant: The Thrill is Gone


Reader WannaBeRocker has had it with the nickel and diming, tight machines, and other various Vegas things.

I have a small rant to share about Vegas in general. First off by way of introduction, I live on the Canadian side of the border with Buffalo. I have visited Vegas 7 times in the last six years. But soon that will stop, and therefore my rant. Don’t misunderstand; I love the atmosphere, the vibe, the weather, the anticipation of another Vegas trip. I read the Vegas blogs and websites nearly every day. I check out Southwest for prices 3 or 4 times a week. I get email offers every week from Caesars and MGM as I am on their mailing lists. I guess you could call me a Vegas junkie. Sadly I will soon reach my tipping point of no return.

Casinos are everywhere nowadays. I would suspect the majority of the population has a casino within a short drive. I have 2 Canadian casinos and 2 American casinos all within a half an hour drive from me (suggest you check out Niagara Falls, great vacation area). Las Vegas is not that unique or different anymore. All the latest machines are right at my local casino. And you know what? I can win a little at my local casino. On my last two trips to Vegas, my biggest payout was $60. It gets very discouraging when the machines just suck your money with no reward. I am not a high roller by any means, but over $1500 was put in on my last trip with nothing in the way of winnings. That gets tired fast!

Okay, so Vegas has lots of shows. I try to hit a show each night of my stay, save for the night on Fremont Street. I have seen nearly every headline show, and most of the smaller shows Vegas has to offer. Some shows I have gone to a second time. Yes the ticket prices are outrageous, but you know, I’m on vacay and might not get the chance to see that performance again. But wait. A lot of the second tier shows have started touring, right to my local casino. And guess what? My tickets are comped! If I have to buy tickets, they are at half the price of what they would be in Vegas. So I am reluctant to pay for any more.

I have stayed at Flamingo, Monte Carlo, Harrah’s, Excalibur and Paris. So definitely not high class but comfortable. I mean after a day out you just flop and sleep, so I don’t need a fancy room. I have received comp offers for two “free” nights and some very low room rates of $21 a night. C’mon when your resort fee is higher than your room rate, it’s pure false advertising. Why not just tell people the real price to stay a night? It’s time for Nevada to stop this misleading sales gimmick.

One of Las Vegas’ pulls is its food and restaurant choices. I have my favs like anyone else. I recently saw that a certain buffet has again raised its prices. It would cost over $100 for two peeps to eat dinner at this buffet. Really? Only you can decide if it is worth it to you. That used to be one of the perks of Vegas. Cheap eats, gone gone gone. Replaced with high priced fare with top chef’s names attached to them. Are the named chefs ever there preparing the food? Thankfully there are still some reasonable places with good food and huge servings.

I think that when out and about in Vegas, I am open game for the hawkers of Cd’s, porn slappers, grand canyon trips, picture ops, costume characters, face cream and homeless. But to be constantly harassed by timeshare sales inside my home for a week? Is that any way to treat your customers? They must pay a good rental fee to occupy that space in front of the elevators or reception desk. I want to feel good on my vacation; I shouldn’t be forced to be rude to a pushy sales person every time I go out.

I read that Las Vegas set records for visitors last year, and this year’s predictions are even higher. So Vegas must be doing something right. Vegas used to have a lot of pulls to get you there. You used to come home with a suitcase full of coffee mugs, t-shirts, other gaming souvenirs, all gone, in exchange for exorbitant fees, watered down drinks and lower odds. As a Canadian, my money is only worth $.75 on the American dollar, not Vegas’ fault, but it is hard to justify a trip when my local casino seems to have better odds and comps. Vegas pulls are being replaced with pushes. All I can say is I’ve reached the tipping point. Las Vegas are you listening?

The thrill is gone!


[Cover: Michael Movestro]

29 Comments on "Reader Rant: The Thrill is Gone"

  1. I understand your feelings. You get nickeled and dimed at every turn. I have heard people say Vegas was better, back in the day, when the mob ran it. I was too young for Vegas back then but I wonder if that is true?

  2. Roger Cable | March 9, 2017 at 7:17 am |

    We have not been back to Vegas for 4 years. I can drive to Biloxi in 7 hours, and not put up with the airport hassles. And its expensive to fly to Vegas, and you always have at least 1 stop. Local casinos have all of the latest slots, and they give me free room and food. I don’t know if we will ever venture back to Vegas, because the rewards are just not there.

  3. Getting that way myself. The extortionate resort fees are a real kick in the balls when you’ve spent an entire day travelling from England!

  4. I’ve sure felt this way before. And when I did, I took a couple years off, and went to other cities. But I’m back. And I’ve always thought Vegas is different for everyone.

    On my recent trips, I’ve gone some hikes. For me, the March weather is perfect for hikes, and this is something I wouldn’t of considered 10 years ago.

    And with Lyft, it’s a lot easier to get to new places. Easy to get to some of the outlier casinos and play blackjack with friendly rules. Along with that, a lot easier to get out and try more local restaurants. Buffets are ok every once in a while. But for the price, I prefer a good meal at a regular restaurant. Might take a little research, but that’s also part of the fun.

  5. Patrick Campbell | March 9, 2017 at 7:43 am |

    I feel your pain and understand your frustration but may I suggest you give Vegas at least one more shot and when you come, stay off the strip. There are beautiful and luxurious resorts that deliver value as well as opulence but you won’t find them on Las Vegas Blvd. Think Green Valley Ranch, M Resort, or Red Rock. The gambling is so much better off the strip. No 6/5 Blackjack, no $25 minimum tables, no $5 per credit VP just to play 9/6 Jacks or Better. The rooms are lovely and comfortable. If you desire to see a show or enjoy the Bellagio fountains, they will be there and Uber or Lyft will suffice if you don’t want to take a cab or rent a car. Your hotel might even offer shuttle service.
    I’ve been coming to Vegas regularly for over 20 years and the last half have been spent almost exclusively off strip or downtown. I too scratch my head when I see visitor numbers continue to climb. Ridiculous resort fees, $5 for a bottle of water, parking fees, even for hotel guests! Will corporate Vegas continue to shove their hands deeper into our pockets until they’ve removed everything of value? I fear that they will.
    It might not be enough, especially as you are from north of the border, but consider enjoying this other part of Vegas (before it too disappears).

  6. I feel you. Since Vegas became a “resort town” nickel and diming you to death like some other “resorts”, I started comparing them to other “resorts”. The result was I’ve taken 2 of my annual trips I normally spend there and gone other places.

    Since the number of Vegas visitors increases every year, I doubt they even notice I’m missing.

    On a related note, Strip casinos have decided their target market are conventioneers and LA club kids (i.e. – dumb money), so they can screw the gambling odds at will without anyone noticing.

    Off-strip still has good odds and payouts though. I save my gambling dollars for Fremont Street now.

  7. Wannaberocker | March 9, 2017 at 8:16 am |

    Just by way of example. I was at Seneca casino in NF New York on Monday. It cost $22 for three of us to eat at buffet after our coupons.Tomorrow going to see Legends in Concert at Fallsview casino in Canada. These are comped tics. Next week Veronica voices is coming again comped.
    I can see the same shows usually for free, eat much cheaper, and gamble with what I believe are better odds than in Vegas.
    I might be better off to spend my gambling money locally.

  8. Not to mention trying to get a good sleep at night when there is a nightclub below your room or across the street going until 4am! Sadly, I am done too.. :-(

  9. I hear where you’re coming from. I’ve become a Vegas traveller post-“good” Vegas. And although I’ve visited AC many times over the years, I’ve truly sunken my head into the gambling world as locals sprouted up. Thus, my observation is lined with that.

    Basically put, I go to Vegas because it’s Vegas. I can get gambling at my local(s). Pennsylvania has some of the best BJ rules in the nation, and I have three within 30 minutes. I can stay in AC and casino hop, play at low minimum tables and higher ones, hit the pool, eat at a good restaurant or even a buffet. And all of that is why I’m a gambler who rolls back his gambling in Vegas. Even forgetting less than ideal conditions, I get to Vegas once per year, so I can’t take advantage of many great offers. That’s why I focus my spend in AC, where I can always have a getaway and enjoy myself, since it’s just over an hour away. Removing those expectations of play and spend in Vegas has made the last trips very enjoyable.

  10. lol Well nobody is forcing u to go there! That being said, no place can compare with Vegas! Yes the buffets have got more expensive, but prices always go up, they don’t go down, but there are some good reasonable price buffets left! Try the Palace Station, Main Street Station, The Fremont. The Fremont, 4 Queens & others Downtown don’t have resort fees, check around these are a few that don’t have resort fees, I hate fees too but, check around & don’t stay if they have a resort fee! We are the ones that let them do this! Stay away from resort fee hotels & parking fee hotels, if people stop going they will change! P.S. I think the odds are better downtown!

  11. I agree with many points raised here. My wife and I visit Vegas several times a year and what is pushing it towards the tipping point for us are the parking fees and the ever-increasing resort fees. We love the food in Vegas and have managed to find lots of restaurants there that serve outstanding food at very reasonable prices, but most of these places are located far away from the Strip in places such as Summerlin. Perhaps the answer (for us) is to dine and stay off-Strip and then drive to the Strip for the day. At least then we’re only hit with having to pay the parking fee rather than the triple-whammy (parking fee + resort fee + high food prices).

  12. Maybe go every few years instead of 6 trips in 7 years. I come all the way from NY and once a year is enough for me and even then I need a few years off from it. I NEVER stay on the strip and still deal with rising food prices, crappier pay tables, resort fees, etyc. I just dont think it works the same way it used to if you go too much. Make it a destination instead of a routine and you will enjoy it more even with the added nonsense.

  13. Couldn’t have been put any better than that. Going on my second trip of 2017 and number 15 since 2015 trip 25 overall and since trip 1 it’s been nothing but higher priced food and less winning. My sentiments are with you. Soon to be vacationing elsewhere (vegas at least once a year )

  14. shortarmsdeeppockets | March 9, 2017 at 10:13 am |

    We are kindred spirits! I’m in St. Catharines, go to LV every three months and been going since Summer 2011, Southwest out of Buffalo. But about 3 trips into my obsession, I discovered off-strip locations. Places like the Palms, Tuscany, Sam’s Town… great value, fun activities, and close to off-strip rental car agencies. My 21st trip is booked for August – staying downtown. I hear your concerns, but it’s still Vegas!

  15. Can only agree. I’ve only been coming for the last four years with another one in a couple of weeks. Have definitely noticed the changes. Try now to stay at 4 Queens….No resort TAX except WiFi if I use it. And there’s plenty of free WiFi spots to be had. OK, Fremont is a wild place till the early hours….But heck, who comes to Sin City to sleep. And at $20 for a 3 day bus pass and the RTCSNV app who needs Uber or Lyft!

  16. I found it to be more expensive during my trip last year. I always get comped rooms from Boyd properties, although they have recently changed their policy to stop back to back comped stays so I will need to figure something else out. I love Vegas, even though I have 2 huge casinos within 1.5 hours from me in CT. I go more for the climate and to see the desert tundra than for the gambling which we can now find much closer to home. 2017 might be the first year in a long time that I skip my annual Vegas vacation and take my cash somewhere else.

  17. Your gripe is a common one, Rocker.

    I have been using Vegas forums for more than a decade. I don’t remember a lot of “I’m done with Vegas” rants 10 years ago. They sure seem to be far more prevalent these days.

    As has been pointed out, there’s no shortage of new blood coming to Vegas, and the economy in the U.S. ain’t bad these days, so Vegas seems to have plenty of people lining up to visit. To that end, casinos/hotels don’t have to work quite as hard for that tourist dollar.

    There will always be a new generation of youngsters wanting to let loose, particularly on the strip, and they don’t know any better. As a 20-year Vegas veteran, I know how things have changed, and I’ve heard stories from those who have been there longer than me.

    I’m fortunate that my days on the strip are mostly behind me. I have been there long enough that downtown and off-strip attractions are more for me than the gimmicky of the strip. But I, too, am seeing the cost of my trips increase, and more than 3 or 5 percent per year. I have to wonder when I might be forced to scale back.

    If you’re not ready to give up staying on the strip, I can see why this is a highly frustrating time for you. I never made a conscious decision to give up the strip, it just happened. Thankfully I’ve found ways to keep Vegas enjoyable, economical and exciting 20 years after my first trip.

  18. A few years ago I had moved my stays to focus on downtown. I loved the ease of the buses out of downtown, and for the most part I rode the less crowded residential buses rather than strip buses.
    And my cost for all access 15 day pass was $17. Still is if you know where to buy them and are a senior.
    I liked the gambling, especially the poker at the Golden Nugget. Four Queens would comp me rooms for play on full pay DB VP.
    Then they stopped and I found it hard to get a quiet room.
    I’m 70. I need my sleep. Some of that I need in the middle of the day or early evening.
    At the Four Queens that might just be when the Heavy Metal band begins to practice in order too preform most of the night (in the lot owned by the D behind the 4Q)

    Recently, the Orleans and Sam’s Town were giving me free rooms, so in my 20 day visits I hopped to those for a while. They are quiet.

    My son and I would go to Red Rock on My Vegas vouchers. Now that deal is gone as are all the free food deals in Station Casinos.

    Recently my free rooms at Boyd went away on B Connected.
    Will they come back like YAH? I don’t know.

    Last trip I did 5 days in Laughlin for $22 total. Colorado Belle and Harrah’s.
    The Belle is still giving me 3 nights offers based on just live poker play. It is hard to find a casino that will do that. Oh, free means actually free. No resort fee. Harrah’s has a $10 resort fee and that is why I paid money for booking their rooms at $0 last December.

    Instead of hiking Red Rock Canyon, I’m thinking of spending a night in Mesquite with my son and then heading up to Bryce for some hiking there. I have never been there, but it looks interesting.
    I sure liked hiking Grapevine Canyon near Laughlin last year.

    Of course, some of the changes are not due to Vegas, but to me.
    I don’t now need the pizzazz.
    I can’t eat enough to make an expensive buffet worth the price. I can’t eat the rich, fancy foods of expensive restaurants.
    I can’t easily stay up for the late shows and still be alert.
    George Burns said that old people often like to be in crowds because there are people around them and they are packed close enough to keep the old ones from falling over. But that was in his book called Wisdom of the 90’s.
    I’m not 90 yet.
    I like to avoid crowds.
    I don’t celebrate change. That is one thing I like about Sam’s Town. The same wolf howls in the inside courtyard that has been howling for decades.
    Everything else is changing faster than I can keep up. It is a full time job to find the bargains and those I might locate this month could be gone by the time I go to Vegas or the casino may have changed its name and be in renovation.
    I like to count on something. Most surprises in Vegas are unpleasant.

    So, I’m drifting away. And like other posters, this year we have a new poker room in a brand new Rivers Casino just a half hour from my house. I’ll have to see how that pans out. I know so far that they have a 3-6 game (my favorite) but are pretty disorganized. Well, I won’t be there until April and then only once before I go off to Madrid.

    Now there is a very odd thing. My airfare to Madrid from Boston (where my son lives) is about what the airfare is to Vegas. My rooms in the heart of Madrid are $50 a night. My dollar is not doing too badly when exchanged for Euros. There may be a time when that feels like a much easier jaunt than Vegas. No gambling. But, hey, it’s Madrid!

  19. Tricky thing for me is I like Vegas but, only a small gamber. My SO likes gambling but, only Vegas a little. I manage @ 1 time per year and I am good with that although 2 would be better. A round of golf, an afternoon on a patio, a nice dinner, a show and a bit of gambling. My SO rarely sees daylight in LV:) We live in Niagara and I could take or leave the casinos there. We go there regularly but, 9/10 I just belly up to a bar, order a pint with a game(s) on, shoot 40 into a VP machine and watch the game while other people gamble hard. That $40 will get me through an entire game most times, especially if I only play job.

  20. I certainly understand the RANT. Every time I look at a site, there are more and more fees being added, or controls on the amount they comp. I have a trip planned in a couple of weeks, and I while I will gamble a bit, I will likely make sure it’s off strip and I will spend my money on other things than gambling for the most part. I too go to Vegas for the sake of what the place is. That being said, the visitor count might be going up, but when this many people acknowledge that things are getting out of hand, you have to hope that these mega-resorts tune into the pulse of their clientele and adjust accordingly. It’s my belief, that they do keep a close eye on these things, but they better be careful When it reaches a tipping point, the exodus of their clientele to other more “value added” places will turn into a freight train. People aren’t making the money they used to make and the slightest opportunity to go elsewhere to get value for their money will result in Vegas taking a very hard hit. I’m already planning my next trip – and it won’t include Vegas. (as of others have stated) and it shows you that the choice to go elsewhere has already started for many. Eventually the bodies showing up in Vegas is going to swing the other direction… I hope they find ways to change before it’s too late for them.

  21. Paul Clark | March 13, 2017 at 8:34 am |

    Agree with so much here! I’ve stayed on the strip and downtown, and not being a big gambler, I don’t get many comps or email offers, with the exception of the Four Queens. Coming from the U.K. It’s a load of money already with a flight to Vegas running at around $850 dollars, with costs of getting to the airport making it $1000 before I even set foot in paradise. I love Vegas, really do, but I have noticed prices gradually going up, resort fees going up all the time and now the cost of my holiday is getting harder to justify. Allowing for the flight, two weeks in a hotel, assuming I stay downtown, around $200 spending money per day, I’m looking at around $4500-$5000 for my holiday which I think is enough. So it’ll have to be 1 visit every 2 years, instead of once per year, occasionally twice!

  22. I fully agree that vegas has lost alot of its luster.. due to the increase in resort fees, buffets prices, and now the dreaded parking fees.. (so I guess all those “free parking signs” might find a new home over at the neon museum.)

  23. Cathryn Carter | March 13, 2017 at 12:40 pm |

    I agree with all the comments. I will add that a big disappointment for me is the steady de-theming of casino/resorts (plus the “resort fees”–ridiculous). Used to be such a fantasy world. Seems to be getting more generic–look-alike hotels without charm.

  24. I’m one of those conventioneers stuck on the strip for the most part. I do it for 10 days every year for the past 20 years. I would book us off the strip (and we used to do that for years) but it’s a royal pain to get 8 people to the LVCC from most off strip hotels and then out to dinner every night. But the more they nickel and dime us the more I start pricing off-strip hotels and study the logistics of doing it that way.

    Somewhere along the way Vegas became the land of the $25 breakfast, and that irritates me. Plus this year I have to start thinking about paying to park. I rent a car for 5 out of the 10 days and use the monorail for the rest. Does this mean that Caesars is going to charge me for 5 days where I don’t have a car? I have enough stuff to think about putting on a show that I really don’t want to have to deal with this crap. Plus the mid-tier Caesars hotel we book keeps cutting back on service and upkeep and has morphed into their low-tier. Want to charge me $30/night in resort fees? Include the parking. I’d happily swipe my room key to get into the garage. Or at least fix the damn elevators so I’m not terrified going to my room. And don’t get me started on the Flamingo closing the coffee shop, meaning the only breakfast I can get before 7 or 8 comes lukewarm on paper plates unless I go to the Linq.

    We don’t have tribal casinos in our state. If I really wanted to gamble, I could drive 2 and a half hours to Louisiana, but then I’m in a crappy little town in Louisiana. If I want Vegas, I will go to Vegas. My wife and I have gone on our own to LV a few times over the years, mainly because it used to be a place where we could do cool things on the cheap. Our anniversary falls in one of the slower months, so we can get great room rates then. But by the time we’ve paid for the room, the overpriced food, and a few shows, we could go on a cruise and see places we’ve never seen for about the same as we would spend in Vegas – and nobody is trying to sell us on a timeshare every 50 feet or put a escort’s card in my hand. This year we went to Belize, Roatan, and Cozumel. Next year we’re in Puerto Rico, St. Martin, Antigua, Barbados, St. Lucia, and St. Kitts.

    If Las Vegas wants my personal tourism dollars back, quit charging me more to get less. As for the convention side of my travel, the show isn’t going to leave the LVCC so I’m kind of stuck.

    • The only way to strike back is to not go. Silence is consent. Go to the casinos closest to you via car. They will listen if the message hurts their pocketbook.

  25. Most of these comments are ridiculous, Millennials travel 20% more than any previous generation, and the prices Vegas charges compared to Tokyo, Hong Kong, London, Paris, NYC, SF, etc. is a steal… even with the resort fees and other charges. Recently visiting, Macau is the old Vegas, go there if you want old style…

    • They’re ridiculous perhaps when comparing costs of those places you’ve laid out. I can guarantee I won’t get the same experience in Tokyo, Hong Kong, London, or Paris. You come on here and pass judgement while comparing apples to oranges. Therefore sir you’ve completely lost the plot on that front. The sentiment is that the grand nature of Vegas used to be, versus what it is now has resulted in the resorts gouging people with costs that aren’t up front while diminishing value. But then again – since you compared it to other places that aren’t Vegas, you wouldn’t seem to get that? I don’t know what point you were trying to make. Perhaps you can elaborate?

  26. Avoid the Strip and almost every one of your complaints will vanish.
    There are still plenty of resorts that remember how to cater to their guests.
    South Point is great. Green Valley and Red Rock, most of the places downtown.
    Vegas has evolved. You need to do so ,as well, if you are going to get value from it. There are still a number of decent buffets, and many offer BOGO coupons so you can get them half price. Take some of that Resort Fee money and apply it to a car rental or even Lyft and rediscover the thrill of it all.

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