Jimmy Buffett Margaritaville Casino Las Vegas – Winner, Winner… Chicken Dinner

We just returned from the brand new Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville casino at the Flamingo Las Vegas and the results are very impressive. Parrotheads (Jimmy Buffett fans) will enjoy it as will anyone who wishes they could sail away to a tropical island for a relaxing respite.

The centerpiece is the 5 O’Clock Somewhere bar (named after the country hit duet Jimmy Buffett sang with Alan Jackson) with ironically for Las Vegas does not feature video video poker (possibly the first casino bar in Las Vegas that doesn’t).

At 6 PM on a Monday night, the bar was full and while Monday Night Football and baseball playoffs certainly played a part, most people were actually just enjoying drinking and talking and having a good time just inches from the Las Vegas Strip in a stress-free atmosphere.

The lone craps table is right inside a set of front doors a la O’ Sheas, which should provide some great energy into the evening. A very busy roulette table sat with a similar configuration in front of an entrance.

Video poker is the same garbage payouts as the rest of the entire property. Typical Strip payouts, and what is typical of what you’ll find in local bars in town as well. Me, I primary play video poker at Vue Bar in Fitzgerald’s Las Vegas downtown (full-pay bonus poker, 8/5 with multiple progressives). Very few video machines at Margaritaville Casino Las Vegas as they are after the tourist gambler.

Selected blackjack tables are 3-2 (full-pay, traditional rules… you have to ask which ones are which) which is getting harder and harder to find in any of the “party” casino areas on The Strip. I didn’t press further about other rules. When I play blackjack, I either play at the $5 tables in the Golden Gate “boobie” pit downtown with the sexy dealers or (if playing seriously) at Palace Station (double-deck, hand-held, 3-2… plus since no mid-shuffle entry you can time your bathroom breaks right and miss a LOT of hands while enjoying the comped libations you get while playing).

The entire Margaritaville Casino was seeing brisk business for early on a Monday night. It really does feel like you are in another property altogether and actually the main Flamingo casino felt old and tired by comparison. The low ceilings really create that intimate atmosphere that studies have shown people like when gambling.

Cocktail waitress outfits are (for the most part) string bikini tops. Very, very nice. No, we were not rude enough to sneak a photo. We live in Las Vegas. We’ve see girls in next-to-nothing (both casino employees and visitors walking The Strip) all the time. But especially if you are from a cold-weather climate or visiting Las Vegas during our “cold” (for us) winter months, this place is a great respite. I can see visiting on a regular basis just for a drink at the bar and soaking up the tropics.

They must have really rammed customer service into the heads of employees. You couldn’t walk past one without them saying hello and that extends into the gift shop. Hint: Check out the “other” Margaritaville T-Shirt shop near the check in desk. Currently if you spend $20 or more, you can get a free margarita. Considering what a margarita will cost you at a place like The Flamingo, this is a great deal.

Overall Impression? Winner, winner, chicken dinner. Jimmy Buffett is going to have no problem keeping his fleet of aircraft fueled up off his cut of this thing. Between the success of both the Toby Keith pit and bar and Margaritaville, I’d expect to see more musically branded gaming areas. Michael Jacksonville, anyone? What musical group or performer would you like to see have their own Las Vegas casino area?

Ted Newkirk
Founder/Managing Editor
Access Vegas

Why Did All The Las Vegas Casinos Support Harry Reid Last Election?

Hi, I am really sad to write this as I have been vacationing every year in Vegas since the 70’s. First with my husband and then with my brothers and sister. 20ll is the first year we have not attended. Here is the reason. We were so disappointed when we found out that the casinos were shipping their employees on buses to vote. We could not believe that they would vote for Harry Reid, which is a vote for Obama who bashed Las Vegas and caused many cancellations and who is ruining this country. Just see how many people will be able to afford Las Vegas with this government.

I live in Florida, my brothers live in Indiana and my sister lives in Alabama. This year we stayed at my sister’s home in Alabama and spent our time and money in Biloxi, Ms. and had a wonderful time.

We will miss Las Vegas some, but we won’t miss your politics.

Thanks for listening,

Mary Anne


Ted Responds:

First, I’d suggest you read the Politics section of my blog post So You Want To Move To Las Vegas, Is It Right For You? and you’ll find out that Nevada isn’t exactly a state that bleeds blue. You might be surprised.

Gaming (and not just here in Las Vegas but all  over the US including areas you mentioned) gave significant support to Harry Reid (D-NV, US Senate Majority Leader) because they felt that the power he has would protect the industry from federal regulation and legislation that might not be gaming-friendly. His opponent Sharon Angle has never been a gaming proponent.

Ironically enough, Reid helped to assure that Angle’s top primary opponent Sue Lowden lost so he could face Angle. Lowden is a former casino owner, charismatic (which Reid isn’t), and a moderate Republican. Virtually every pundit believes that she would have been a slam-dunk. The Tea Party won the primary but lost the big battle in the race.

If supporting the gaming companies who are with you politically are important, here’s the breakdown:

  • Jim Murren (MGM Resorts including CityCenter, MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay, Luxor, Excalibur, Circus Circus, Monte Carlo and New York-New York) is a life-long Republican who endorsed Harry Reid. An asterisk here as Reid made calls to bankers when a partially-completed CityCenter was on the verge bankruptcy and a halt in construction and used his influence to keep the money flowing. Murren’s company did work very hard to get Reid re-elected.
  • Gary Loveman (Caesars Entertainment including Caesars Palace, Planet Hollywood, Paris Las Vegas, Bally’s, Bill’s, Flamingo Las Vegas, Harrah’s, Imperial Palace, Rio Las Vegas) gave the vast majority of his 2010 political contributions to Democrats (impacted by the support of Reid). Loveman’s 2008 political donations were split much more evenly.
  • Steve Wynn (Wynn/Encore) voted for Obama but is traditionally a Republican and has been an extremely harsh critic of the President (garnering national news).
  • Sheldon Adleson (Venetian/Palazzo) has been an unwavering staunch conservative Republican.

Ted Newkirk
CEO, Managing Editor