New Concept In Las Vegas: Loose Slots, Cheape Drinks

gambling blackjack tables las vegasLas Vegas visitor numbers are up for the 9’th straight month, but gambling revenue keeps falling. Players aren’t stupid: When a machine (or a 6-5 blackjack table) can suck down $40 before you ever feel like you got going, you start to think about spending it on Las Vegas shows, tours, and restaurants. At least you know what you’ll be getting in return for your dollar!

One hotel owner is taking things back to “old school Las Vegas”: South Point owner Michael Gaughan has been loosening his slot machines and running some intense drink specials. (Wow… people who drink will gamble, and people who will drink more will gamble more… a concept seemingly lost on present-day Las Vegas). Gaughan realizes that he’s going to get that money you stick in the machine. Does it matter to him if it takes him 60 minutes or 90 minutes to get it from you? No… because he’s going to get it. Casinos were not built on winners.

las vegas slot machine

So, why not let you play a while on that same amount of money? Why not let you have fun and get some bang for your buck, just like you’d do spending money on a movie or anything else? How about letting you win once in a while, so you have good memories and want to come back!

For the past couple of Fridays, Gaughan has also been offering $2 drinks — ANY DRINK –all day long. And over this coming weekend (as I write this, July 16 and 17, 2010), he’s offering $2 drinks from noon to midnight. OK… so he’s going to make very little money on booze (and barely break even on top shelf stuff). So what? He’s got you in the casino. What are you going to be doing here, reading a good book? Hell no… you are going to be gambling! And the more people that gamble, the more money he makes.

Granted, Gaughan isn’t carrying the kind of debt that most of the major Las Vegas properties are carrying (and/or operating out of bankruptcy). And, he’s a very wealthy man who has no one to answer to. He owns the place himself. No stockholders or bankruptcy parties pushing to earn every last nickel.

But let’s hope for Gaughan to succeed. If going back to the loose games and cheap booze that Las Vegas was built on works for him, expect other properties to follow suit.

Unfortunately, you have to go a few minutes out of your way to enjoy the South Point. Their shuttle runs $8 (all day pass – call 702-889-4242 for shuttle info). Perhaps they should make it free so more of you who stay on The Strip would use it. But… the $8 is a drop-in-the-bucket for truly looser slots, the friendliness of a locals casino (a relatively brand new property at that), and if you hit them during one of their $2 drink special times, you’ve paid for the ride with a couple of drinks. (Follow our Access Vegas Twitter feed for drink specials).

If you are looking at how to do better gambling at the table games and slots, we can help you with that as well!

If you’ve been thinking about checking out a local’s Las Vegas property, check out one that is trying to do the right thing for their players and visitors!

Ted Newkirk
Founder/Managing Editor
Access Vegas

Consumer Reporter Tries To Bash Las Vegas… My Retort

A television consumer reporter from San Francisco evidently hasn’t been here in many years…   but then acts like he knows his stuff. Reference:
Vegas squeezing money for cheap rooms with expensive drinks

Remember when drinks at a casino bar were inexpensive, a buck or less? Those days are now just memories. $6 beers? If you are lucky. $10 cocktail? That is the new normal.

I responded on that blog, but don’t know if the post will be accepted or not. So… here is my response:

With all due respect, the days of the $1 drinks were pretty much gone when I moved here in 1993. (The Plaza downtown was a holdout on that until around 2000).

And… Casino Royale Las Vegas still has $1 bottled beer (varies) and $1 frozen margaritas 24/7 right there on the Las Vegas Strip.

Food and drink specials ABOUND downtown. Just walk around. Want a big pizza and pitcher of beer? $10 at Benny’s Bullpen in Binion’s Las Vegas. $1.99 still buys the huge shrimp cocktail at Golden Gate. $2 Heineken or Corona at Fremont Hotel. Too many more to list.

On top of that, you did not factor in inflation at all. You cite prices from 20 years ago and then are shocked that they have gone up! (Despite the room rates being at 1990 prices in many instances here in Las Vegas).

Plus, the savvy Vegas visitor doesn’t buy his liquid refreshment at the bar. Most hotel sundry shops have a full liquor section (cold beer, wine, hard liquor) and much more modest prices and no tip needed. Also, stores like 7-11, ABC, and other similar convenience stores on The Strip are great places to buy your bottled water, soft drinks, and beer and more realistic prices.

Per a drink costing you more at a video poker machine? Maybe not. If you play properly, you are only giving away (on average) about a nickel per play (at $1.25 a pull). It would take 80 plays to (once again on average) lose the $4.00. Note: Those are averages. Sometimes you may lose quickly. Other times you’ll be up and walk away a winner.

Look… if I vacationed in San Francisco, I’d have to pay the same drink prices you are citing at any decent bar. Oh… except that I’d still be paying through the NOSE for a hotel room. Look at what brand new hotels like Aria, Palazzo, and Encore are charging per night for some of the nicer rooms in the world. Then look at what a comparable hotel in San Francisco (or New York City or Miami) would cost. Not even close.

A Las Vegas vacation is still a bargain with no equal. If you are just not the kind of guy who enjoys Las Vegas, don’t come. Vacation somewhere else (and pay a lot more money)!

Ted Newkirk
Founder/Managing Editor
Access Vegas