The action on Vegas’s casino floors can be fast and furious, as slot players hammer ‘spin’ buttons, blackjack players celebrate 21s and crap players whoop it up in the dice pit.
Money is spun, lost and won to the soundtrack of clinking glasses, rattling chips, tinkling coins and the electronic arpeggios of slot machines. It’s overwhelming. Still, with the nationwide spread of gambling, the experience has been dumbed down from the high-rolling James Bond image, and there’s little required etiquette: common sense and common courtesy should see you through.
Casinos range from the incomparably luxurious to the hopelessly dissolute. Top-flight hotel-casinos such as Bellagio's draw in celebs like Drew Barrymore and Ben Affleck. Hieroglyphs decorate walls of the massive casino in Luxor, while Downtown, Four Queens keeps gambling cheap and to the point.
Get rich/poor quick
The old and oft-told joke runs that no one in Las Vegas ever got rich through gambling except the owners of the casinos. For many people, it's a gag that's a lot funnier at the start of their trip than it is at the end. Gambling built Las Vegas, and the fact that the city is still expanding at record speed is proof enough that the novelty of the pastime is as bright as it's ever been.
Sorry to shatter your dreams then, but if you're thinking that you'll walk away from Las Vegas set up for life, you'd best think again. However, if all you're after is a little fun, having filed your gambling budget under 'entertainment' and prepared yourself for manageable losses, you're in the right place.
Casinos in Las Vegas are no longer just about gambling: casino attractions have evolved with the times. The circus acts at Circus Circus and the dancing fountains at the Bellagio remain, but resorts have also embraced adulthood. Nightclubs are all the rage, though you’ll need to win big at the tables if you want to really enjoy yourself within their swanky confines.
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Casino-wear: any outfit will do, from shorts to a dinner jacket, though you may want a sweater (the air-con is always cranked to the max).
Cheaper chips: downtown casinos – frequented more by locals than visitors – are smaller, less Disneyfied, and cheaper.
Getting in the door: the address we’ve given for each casino is its main entrance. This is the place to arrive whether you’re on foot or in a car. Here you’ll find the valet parking (for hotels that offer it) and directions to self-parking: some casinos have extra entrances at the side and/or round the back. These can be essential if you don’t want to spend hours stuck in traffic driving along the choked-up Strip.
Time: wear a watch, clocks are conspicuous by their absence in casinos, and as we all know, time flies when you're having fun.
While every effort and care has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this guide, the publisher cannot accept responsibility for any errors it may contain. Before you go out of your way, we strongly advise you to phone ahead and check the particulars.
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