The Time Out Las Vegas casino guide

High rollers, whales, this isn’t for you. All other chip-chasers, read our guide to the best casinos in Las Vegas. Be lucky. And if you can’t be lucky, be gutless…

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Left to right: Las Vegas gambling in action at Gold Coast, the Flamingo and Caesars Palace casinos

Left to right: Las Vegas gambling in action at Gold Coast, the Flamingo and Caesars Palace casinos

There’s this little activity that many visitors to Las Vegas (and plenty of locals too) like to do: It’s called gambling. Perhaps you’ve heard of it? Since the momentous legalization of the Las Vegas casino almost 85 years ago, wagering money on machines, table games and, later on, sports has been the backbone of this city. Which, of course, explains all the casinos in Las Vegas. Return visitors often find a particular casino they like and come back time after time. But for the first-time guest, choosing a casino in Las Vegas can be daunting when there are so many options available.

Depending on your budget—and we do suggest you set a gambling budget and stick to it—the selections range from opulent to frugal. Casinos at properties like the Wynn, Encore, and Aria are among the finest in the world, with price tags to match. If your wallet isn’t quite that fat, there are extensive midrange casinos up and down the Strip and Downtown, like Luxor, Planet Hollywood, and the D. But, if you’re in a pinch, off-Strip properties such as Arizona Charlie’s and Sam’s Town are your best bet for Las Vegas casinos in which you’ll get a decent bang for your buck.

The best casinos in Las Vegas

Aria casino

  • Critics choice

Aria contains the only gambling space within the CityCenter complex, and its casino is a contemporary beauty, with 150,000sq ft of space. The expected table games and slots are surrounded at the fringes by restaurants, shops and cafés—and natural light makes its way

  1. CityCenter, 3730 Las Vegas Boulevard South, (at E Harmon Avenue)
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Caesars Palace casino

  • Critics choice

Few casinos offer the limits or the atmosphere of Caesars; when there’s a big fight in town, limits on the main floor can go through the roof. The sports book is one of the liveliest spots to watch the action, and accepts some of the biggest bets. You get a good view

  1. 3570 Las Vegas Boulevard South, (at W Flamingo Road)
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El Cortez casino

  • Critics choice

Boasting slots "41%" looser than the Strip, El Cortez is the place to go if you’re short on cash and high on hope. Here you can also still find coin-operated slots, an all-but-extinct animal everywhere else in Las Vegas. Craps minimums go as low as $3, but 10x odds

  1. 600 E Fremont Street, (at N 6th Street)
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Golden Nugget casino

  • Critics choice

The Nugget’s elegant marble lobby may seem out of place on Fremont Street, and the high minimums (mostly $10 for craps and blackjack) in the nicely renovated casino are unusual for Downtown. There’s a segregated pit for players with larger bankrolls who want to

  1. 129 E Fremont Street, (at S Casino Center Boulevard)
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Gold Coast casino

  • Critics choice

Boyd Gaming took hold of Coast Casinos in 2004, and for years it has relied on its proven formula for success. Locals love the GC’s machines and the players’ club, both of which often take top honors in the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s "Best of Vegas" survey.

  1. 4000 W Flamingo Road, (at S Valley View Boulevard)
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Hard Rock casino

  • Critics choice

A mid 1990s beast it may be, but this is still a hip and extremely popular gambling den. The casino remains small by Vegas standards: only some 800 slots and video-poker machines, and 76 tables. The main floor is one big circle, with an outer hardwood walkway and an

  1. 4455 Paradise Road, (at E Harmon Avenue)
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Luxor casino

  • Critics choice

The massive casino, decorated with hieroglyphics and "ancient" artifacts, is filled with the latest high-tech slot and video-poker machines. Expect $10 minimums at blackjack and craps, higher on weekends. For poker players, the card room offers weekend action so lively

  1. 3900 Las Vegas Boulevard South, (at W Hacienda Avenue)
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Mandalay Bay casino

  • Critics choice

The 135,000sq ft casino is airier than many, with 2,400 machines (including nickel video slots that take up to 45 or 90 coins), but you have to hunt for good video-poker machines. Table games—122 of them—include blackjack, roulette, craps, Let it Ride, Caribbean

  1. 3950 Las Vegas Boulevard South, (at W Hacienda Avenue)
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Monte Carlo casino

  • Critics choice

There are plenty of $5 blackjack tables, many 5¢ opportunities among the 2,200 slots, and a bright, casual atmosphere. Players appreciate the details: stools with backs at every machine, wide walkways throughout the casino and even single-zero roulette. The Monte

  1. 3770 Las Vegas Boulevard South, (between W Harmon & W Tropicana avenues)
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Orleans casino

  • Critics choice

The theme at the Orleans is more Disneyland than French Quarter. Still, the locals don’t seem to mind, mostly because the Vegas-style action is very real. Located very close to the Strip (and within a five-minute walk of the Palms), the Orleans is one of the few

  1. 4500 W Tropicana Avenue, (between S Decatur & S Valley View boulevards)
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Planet Hollywood casino

  • Critics choice

In previous years Planet Hollywood’s casino underwent a number of renovations. It seems to have finally hit a groove, and its race and sports book is one of the most comfortable around, with 33 plasma TVs and a VIP lounge.

  1. 3667 Las Vegas Boulevard South, (between E Harmon Avenue & E Flamingo Road)
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Red Rock Resort casino

  • Critics choice

The name of the game here is machines: there are more than 3,200 of them, split evenly between slots and video poker. Table minimums are reasonable.

  1. 11011 W Charleston Boulevard, (at I-215)
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Rio casino

  • Critics choice

The casino is huge, sprawling for two blocks, and the predominant colors are green ($25) and black ($100): at weekends, it’s hard to find $10-minimum blackjack. Smaller-stakes gamblers should aim for the lower-limit tables in the outlying areas of the casino or,

  1. 3700 W Flamingo Road, (at S Valley View Boulevard)
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Silverton casino

  • Critics choice

Its location, just off I-15 several miles south of the Strip, doesn’t flatter the Silverton. However, this is a surprisingly attractive property that, while by no means offering the Cosmopolitan or Aria much competition in the coolness or extravagance departments, is

  1. 3333 Blue Diamond Road, (at I-15)
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Tropicana casino

  • Critics choice

The recent renovations expanded the casino to 50,000sq ft—a welcome addition that includes a new high-limit area and a significantly larger race and sports book. Thankfully, they didn’t get rid of the swim-up blackjack.

  1. 3801 Las Vegas Boulevard South, (at E Tropicana Avenue)
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Wynn Las Vegas & Encore casino

  • Critics choice

As you might expect, the action at Wynn is both sophisticated and decidedly pricey. Blackjack minimums start at $15, with a few single-deck games that pay the reduced 6:5 for naturals; hotel guests can also play 21 poolside at the Cabana Bar. Craps minimums are similar

  1. 3131 Las Vegas Boulevard South, (between E Desert Inn Road & Sands Avenue)
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