Las Vegas: A Budget Guide to
Glitter City

Version 3.2
Brought to you by Go-Gamble

Preface

Introduction

Table of Contents

Preface

This ebook is written in HTML form and can be viewed by calling the file up on your browser, just like any other web page. Since this ebook contains hundreds of internet links, it is best viewed while you are online so that you can take full advantage of the information contained herein. For webTV users and others I have posted an online version: Click here for online version This ebook is a work in progress. Feel free to download it anytime. Click Here for the latest online version You can share it with friends, as long as you do not make any changes. If you have a website and wish to distribute this ebook, just drop me a line

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Introduction

Las Vegas is THE adult gambling, adult fun, and entertainment playground of the world. It is a city founded and fueled by fun and excitement. Everything you can imagine is here, all done to excess. With some of the biggest and best hotel/resorts in the world and over 100,000 rooms Las Vegas is open for business and ready to play 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Even if you don't gamble, I believe that every adult with an open mind should visit Las Vegas at least once.

This ebook was written for the first time Vegas visitor and the veteran who is looking to get the biggest bang for their buck in America's desert playground. The average person who has not visited Vegas thinks it is an expensive place. Nothing could be further from the truth. I don't believe there is another vacation spot on earth that offers food, drink, rooms and many enterntainment options as inexpensively as Las Vegas. Read on, even long time players may be missing out on some bargains. Most of the tips in this ebook are avaliable to everyone, you don't have to be a high roller, or even a medium roller to take advantage of these deals.

Discover the fantastic deals you can capitalize on to save money on your next Las Vegas trip.

This FREE EBOOK will link you directly to:

rooms as low as $5 a night,
free transportation tips,
$30 mini suites,
inexpensive meal deals,
the best inexpensive buffets,
how to get comps,
the best funbooks,
free shows and attractions,
the best slot clubs,
working with a slot host,
how to get the casinos to email you super room deals and specials,
and how to obtain coupons for discount rooms, meals, and shows
.

Whether you are a high roller or a low roller, you can save money by taking advantage of the information contained in this free ebook. If you play your cards right Las Vegas is one of the least expensive places in the world to visit. This FREE EBOOK will put you directly in touch with the methods and means to make the most of the freebies and great deals on offer. Eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow, when you go home, you'll have to pay for it.

The deals and methods described in this ebook are current as of time of publication. The casinos can and will change their marketing strategies and their offers at will. Don't blame me if that 99 cent shrimp cocktail is now $1.49. These things happen, nothing in life is fair. I will try to show you how the smart players take advantage of what the casinos and Las Vegas has to offer. If you follow the methods in this ebook, you will enjoy the best of Las Vegas, at a very low price.


Table of Contents

Great Rooms as Low as $5 a Night Get There Cheap-Inexpensive Flights
Free Transportation 15 Great Free Shows
Take a Gamble Coupons and Fun Books
Slot Clubs, The Whys and Hows Comps-The Freebie Motherlode
Las Vegas Internet Resources Gambling Books
Let the Casinos Send You Deals Good Cheap Eats


Get There Cheap-Inexpensive Flights

The biggest single expense in a Las Vegas vacation is getting there, usually by air. Hey, the more money you save on airfare, the more you'll have for the tables. Keep this in mind when looking for an inexpensive vacation, avoid the advertised package deals. Invariably these "deals" cost far more than if you do just a little research and book the whole vacation yourself.

When searching for inexpensive air fares, you must be flexible in your travel plans. Avoid travel on the weekend and, if you can, query for flights in the middle of the week. The internet is a great help in this regard. Check out orbitz, yahoo, and cheap tickets to start.

Another great online resources for cheap air fares is Travelocity.com Once again, getting the best rates means you have to be flexible with your travel times. Click the "Travelocity Best Fare Finder" icon on the top right hand corner. You will be led through a simple search procedure which, hopefully, will match you up with acceptable departure and arrival times at a very good rate.

National Airlines, was founded by casino operators to compete with established carriers. National operates direct flights from from Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, New York, Dallas, and other centers, with plans to expand. National's goal is to pcombine reasonable rates, good service, and popular departure times. You can make online reservations here and decide for yourself. One plus for National, they will check your baggage's right through to the Rio and Harrah's right from the airport.

South West Air sometimes offers excellent Las Vegas specials, especially from the western United States, and will notify you by email when these specials are offered. Go to their website and get on their mailing list.

What is a good air fare to Las Vegas? $175 to $200 return from the Midwest and around $275 return from the east coast to Las Vegas is a decent rate on a scheduled airline. South West routinely offers return fares under $200 (sometimes under $100) from Texas, Oklahoma, Oregon, and California.

America West offers specials online and have recently discouted Vegas flights from the midwest as low as $198 return. It would pay to get on their email list.

Many so called charter airlines offer daily service to Las Vegas from various locations. These charter flights are not listed on the normal online reservation systems but you can still access them and, sometimes, get some absolutely outstanding deals. To get in on these deals, find out who the major Las Vegas vacation wholesaler is in your area. Check the ads in the travel section of the local weekend newspaper. You will have to dig a little to find out who the wholesaler is. You could even ask some travel agents. Once you know who it is, contact them directly and simply ask if they are running any specials. Some of the wholesalers have web sites and update their prices daily. I have seen wholesalers post return prices to Las Vegas from midwest cities as low as $98. I don't think you could get a bus ticket this cheap. If you get a rate this low, book it.

One of these charter operators is America Trans Air. ATA has been flying to Vegas from many cities for decades and they recently started posting their specials online. Click here to check them out.


Great Rooms from $5 to $50.00 a Night

Rack rates (rack rates are the posted rates, actually the maximum rates) for hotel rooms in Las Vegas can run to over $2,000 for suites in the larger hotels. The rules to get a great cheap room are simple. Look around and ask and then keep asking. If the rate looks good, book it. If it looks too high, tell the reservation clerk that you have a better deal somewhere else and will they match it, or at least come close. The smart visitor, if they are willing to be flexible, insistent, and dig a little, can get a good, clean, well located room under $30 a night, or even less. Here is how.


Downtown

Much maligned, downtown Las Vegas offers fantastic bargains in food, rooms, free entertainment, and low stakes gambling oportunities. The casinos are all clustered together and that makes it easier to hop from one to the other. Fremont Street can get a little seedy late at night and it is not a real good place for kids but no one need fear for their safety downtown.There are complaints that downtown Vegas is dirty, tacky, crime ridden, and that parking is hard to find. Some of the casinos are not as well kept as the posh places on the strip, but most of them are just as well run and as clean as any other place. Is downtown tacky? Tacky, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. Some people think the whole city is tacky, some people think it is great, it depends of your point of view. I wouldn't say downtown is tacky as compared to the strip, maybe just more colorful. As for the 'crime problem'. Downtown Las Vegas is has less visible crime than any other city of its size in the United States. Downtown does attract the down and outers, just like any other city, because the 'services' they use (the Salvation Army hostel, courts, police station, etc.) are located in the area. However, the police and security presence downtown is very heavy and, it seems, you are never out of sight of some security personell. Other than seeing the odd drunk or homeless person, I really don't think that anyone who can walk and talk and has control of their faculties would have any trouble in downtown Las Vegas. If you are there to gamble and have fun, you won't have any trouble.

I have actually found that parking and driving downtown are easier than on the strip, which sometimes resembles an eight lane parking lot. The parking structures are numerous and traffic is usually not that much of a problem. Most places issue you a ticket upon entry but getting it validated is not a problem and the distances you have to cover on foot are a lot less than some of the forced marches from the parking garages in the new strip casinos.

That said, let's look at some of the bargain room rates downtown has to offer. One of the best room deals in Las Vegas is, perhaps, the least known. According to their website Jackie Gaughan's Gold Spike Hotel & Casino offers rooms 365 days a year at only $22.00 a night plus tax. They throw in a FREE breakfast or a two for one meal deal. The Gold Spike is located just one block north of Fremont, on Ogden in downtown Las Vegas. You can check availability and reserve a room online. Their mini-suites are only $33.00 a night. Check out my page on the Gold Spike. If you are into economy, this is an excellent place to start.

The class venue downtown is, without a doubt, the Golden Nugget. They will often discount their rooms as low as $39 a night. For a $17 a day difference between this place and the Gold Spike, the Nugget is a bargain. Get on their mailing list and check out their website frequently for their specials.

The Las Vegas Club is a personal favorite because they offer the gambler tremendous deals. Thy boast very liberal blackjack rules, rooms as low as $30, and are well located in the heart of downtown.

Some other popular downtown spots that offer good value are: Main Street Station, the Plaza, the Four Queens, the Lady Luck, and Fitzgerald's. The Golden Gate Hotel Casino is another option. It is the oldest hotel in Las Vegas and a real original. One of the gems of downtown.


North Strip

Another room option that is sometimes neglected by the Vegas visitor is the cluster of casinos known as the north strip. The Stratosphere, whose majestic tower dominates the skyline of the whole valley, is the far north outpost of Las Vegas Boulevard. The Strat offers rooms starting @$36 a night midweek.

The Sahara, just down the street, starts rooms @$32 a night midweek.

Circus Circus is a good budget venue if you have to bring the kiddies to Vegas. Midweek rooms run as low as $29 and the location offers a little more action with the Riviera across the street and the Ho next door.

How does $26.90 a night sound? Check out the Westward Ho. These are not deluxe suites but, how much time are you going to spend in your room anyway? Check your local paper for Westward Ho "seminars". They have been known to take to the road to promote the casino with FREE room offers.

The Stardust is one of the original big Las Vegas hotels. They often reduce their older rooms to under $39.


Mid Strip

If you want a budget priced room at a premium mid strip location, check out the Imperial Palace. I stayed there once for three days @$15 a night. They threw in two buffet dinners and some other goodies AND the third night was free. I figure that, subtracting the freebies it cost me about $5 a night. This was an internet special, not a comp, and was avaliable to anyone. The IP is not a five star hotel but the room was clean, quiet and cool and the mid strip location is excellent.

The Barbary Coast is an often overlooked option right in the middle of all the action. Their website offers rooms as low as $39.


South Strip

The south strip is the home of many big new (expensive) casino/hotel/resorts. Don't expect any bargains at MGM Grand or Mandalay Bay. However, if you want to sample these mega resorts and not bust your bankroll, check out these alternatives:

The Boardwalk-Holiday Inn sometimes offers rooms online for $29.99. This is just about the best you can get on the south strip.

The Excalibur, on the corner of Tropicana and Las Vegas Boulevard, offers midweek rooms @$49. Beware though, lots of families with kids here, sort of an ungraded Circus Circus.

The San Remo is just steps from the Tropicana and MGM and offers excellent rooms starting at $48.


Off Strip Casinos

Located 30 minutes south west of Vegas, in Jean, Nevada, near the California border, the Nevada Landing Hotel & Casino offers good value. Midweek rooms or on offer as low as $18 if you reserve them online.

A sister property, also in Jean, the Gold Strike offers online reservations at $18 a night.

The Gold Coast casino is an excellent venue, located a mile west of the strip, across the street from the Rio. They offer lots of amenities including free child care and a bowling alley. They post their internet specials here. I have seen rooms posted as low as $29 a night, midweek.

The Boulder Station sometimes posts their room specials here. A typical summer offering would be two nights plus a two for one buffet for $56. That's $28 a night plus a half price buffet.

Arizona Charlies advertises midweek rates on the internet from $39. It is a favorite of locals and visitors alike.

Another personal favorite are the Station Casino properties. They are all located off strip but offer tremendous value for money. You can search online and usually find midweek rooms under $40. Here are links to information pages: Palace Station, Texas Station, Boulder Station, or the Sunset Station

Circus Circus, Sam's Town, and the Stratosphere often have rooms on offer under $40. Try their toll free numbers listed on each individual page.


Some Final Tips

If you don't want to stay downtown or want something a little nicer it's still not hard to find a nice room under $30, if you are flexible. The best rates are offered Sunday through Thursday nights, except for holiday weekends. Additionally Las Vegas is very quiet in the weeks before Christmas and just after the New Year, except for Super Bowl weekend and the big conventions like Comdex. If you plan your trip with these dates in mind, and are flexible with your travel plans, you can get an excellent rate on a strip or downtown hotel.

Click the banner on the right. This will connect you to the Hotel Reservations Network. Check out the search function contained on the page. You can compare rates on this site, and book your room online. Remember, your best chance of booking an inexpensive room is Sunday through Thursday in the slow season, from June right through the end of the year. Conversely, January, the winter season, holiday weekends and conventions (especially Comdex) see room rates rise dramatically. Also, booking way ahead is a great strategy. As the hotel fills up, they tend to raise their rates.

This hotel reservation service has dozens of rooms at excellent hotels under $30. I have found many rooms here at good casinos listed as low as $19 a night, midweek. You can find many midweek bargains here at places like: Fitzgerald's, the Four Queens, Las Vegas Club, the http://www.go-gamble.com/casinolvimperialpalace.html, and many more. I have found rooms there online at this site for as low as $19.00 a night. By the way, all these quotes are per room, NOT per person.

Some of the best casino room deals appear in the Los Angeles newspapers. If you can't get a copy of one, click here. Phil Feldman performs a valuable service by posting the weekend ads from LA newspapers and he updates this page EVERY WEEK. Isn't technology great? Recent ads featured the following: Sahara $24, and Lady Luck $24.50. Phil also lists deals in Laughlin. If you use this resource, be sure to tell the reservation clerk you are quoting an ad from the Los Angeles newspaper. Also, send Phil an email to let him know how much you appreciate his hard, and unpaid, work.

If you are still striking out, and I find that hard to believe, try calling the casinos directly. Click here for a handy 800 # reference for Vegas casinos. Use the toll free number I have posted. Tell the reservations clerk that you have another offer for a $29 room, but you would rather stay at their hotel. Can they match it?

Another ploy is to phone the casino and ask for the "internet special". You might be suprised at the result. You can click here for a handy list of Las Vegas hotel 800 numbers.

Some final words of advice: plan ahead. Don't just arrive in Vegas on a Saturday and expect to get a good rate, you might not even get a room as many hotels and casinos will not even book a Saturday arrival. Make sure you can get a room to coincide with your other travel arrangements. I will never forget the elderly woman who emailed me that she and her disabled husband were arriving very early Sunday morning (she was getting a really good airfare from those online people that Captain Kirk promotes) but she couldn't get a room before Sunday afternoon. She wanted to know if I could help. I checked the calendar and it turned out that her cheap airfare landed her in Vegas at 1 AM Thanksgiving Sunday, a very busy weekend and almost impossible to book.

Coupons are another great way to cut the cost of Las Vegas accommodation. Casinos issue these coupons through various publications such as, their own funbooks, and, The American Casino Guide. The Las Vegas Advisor is one of the best sources for coupons. A one year subscription gets you coupons worth hundreds of dollars. Subscribers to Casino Player are also rewarded with some very valuable coupons. These coupons all have restrictions, remember, they are trying to fill their rooms in the off times. They also have expiry dates so check them carefully.


Let the Casinos Email You Specials and Deals

Many casinos have caught on to internet marketing and some of them are starting to send out superb offers to registered email recipients. These deals are usually offered for a specific, limited time. Registering with the casinos puts you under no obligation, you don't even have to join their slot clubs. However, it does put you on a recipient list for some excellent room offers. If you are a bargain hunter you should really take advantage of these deals. Click the various links to get signed up now. Register at the guest book page or wherever else is appropriate.

Bellagio

Boardwalk Holiday Inn

Caesars Palace

Golden Nugget (this is a good one, click on 'sign our guestbook')

Mirage (scroll down and click on 'sign our guestbook')

MGM Grand

Treasure Island (click on the icon 'sign our guestbook')


Good Cheap Eats

Casinos use cheap food to draw traffic. Once you are in, they hope to entice you over to the profit making games. This provides a great opportunity for the hungry visitor to cash in, once again, on their offers. In keeping with the Vegas tradition of overdoing everything, most casinos now offer all you can eat buffets for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Besides the buffets, Las Vegas offers some extremely cheap meal bargains. Generally, the best deals are offered late at night and earlier in the morning, with prices increasing as the day grows longer. Also, consider the downtown or off strip 'locals' casinos for the best meal deals. I will only touch upon them in general terms because the specifics change over time. You will, however, get a good idea of what the bargains are, where they are, and you will not go away hungry.

The Wild Wild West Casino sometimes offers a free lunch deal (including beer) in exchange for a $20 buy in at the video poker bar. This is actually a comp, but hey you have to eat, and, you're here to gamble anyway.

Arizona Charlies is a well known off strip 'locals' casino that gives excellent food deals. Each month a new $3.99 All-You-Can-Eat Dinner Special is featured on the menu at the Sourdough Cafe. Also on offer is a $2.49 breakfast of sirloin steak & eggs or ham-steak and eggs served 24 hours daily. A $6.95 porterhouse steak or prime rib dinner special is also served 5 to 10 p.m., seven days a week. These prices are tough to beat.

The Holiday Inn Boardwalk Casino, on the South Strip, has a New York style deli with good cheap food. They serve shrimp cocktails for $1.49, three castleburgers (White Castle?) for $1.29 and a 24 hour bacon and egg breakfast for $1.49. They also offer an inexpensive buffet.

Besides great cheap rooms, the Gold Spike Casino also has great food deals. Some of the deals on offer include 50 cent shrimp cocktails, and a roast beef or ham dinner for $2.50. This is not really a family place, however.

Off the strip, but worth the trip, the Orleans Casino offers an excellent buffet for the price. Running only $3.45, $4.45, and $6.95 for breakfast, lunch, and dinner respectively, the Orleans specializes in Creole and Cajun fare. The price and quality of their breakfast buffet make it one of the best in town. Besides the ethnic fare, the buffet has an excellent salad and dessert selection. The breakfast buffet is excellent

Another off strip jewel is the Gold Coast Casino. The buffet here is a little smaller and a little quieter. Diners can sit in booths for some measure of privacy. Prices are reasonable at $4.45, $6.45, and $8.95 for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

The Imperial Palace is a good, inexpensive place to fill up at the center strip area. Their Emperor's Buffet is a little pricey for breakfast at $4.99 but lunch for $5.99 and dinner for $7.99 are reasonable for a strip casino.

The Fiesta serves one of the best buffets in town. At $3.49 and $6.99 for breakfast and lunch, you will not be disappointed. Dinner at $8.99 is served from twelve live serving stations and is guaranteed to please.

If you happen to be downtown, with a little more money to spend, slip over to the Main Street Station. Arguably one of the best buffets in town at $4.99, $6.99 and $9.99 for dinner. They also have an onsite brew pub.

If you have a car, drive out I-15 to Jean, near the California border. There you will find the Gold Strike Hotel & Gambling Hall, and the Nevada Landing Hotel & Casino. Both of these venues offer good meal deals. The Nevada Landing offers: Prime Rib (10 oz.)@ $4.99; Bacon & Eggs @ $1.99; Giant Shrimp Cocktail @ 95; Steak and Lobster @ $9.99; New York Steak (12 oz.) @ $4.99 and a 99 cent 3 egg breakfast special. Gold Strike's buffet runs only $3.99 for lunch and $4.99 for dinner (more on Friday and Saturday).

The 99 cent shrimp cocktail is a Las Vegas original and is still a big attraction. The first, and maybe still the best, is offered by the Golden Gate, downtown on Main and Fremont. The Golden Gate is a real small place but very friendly and worth the trip.

Rib lovers absolutely have to partake of the superb rib dinner offered six nights a week at Ellis Island on Koval Steet, just behind Bally's. For only $9.99 they serve a whole strip of back ribs with the fixin's. This special is offered in the brew pub only. It begins at 5PM and the few tables soon fill up so be prepared.


Free Transportation

On your own, you can get around Las Vegas quite well for free if you are willing to mould your schedule to that of the shuttle bus service. If you are staying on the South or Center Strip, the center of the Las Vegas Universe, you can travel everywhere by foot or monorail.

First, let's get out of the airport. The Station casinos, Palace Station, Sunset Station, Texas Station, and Boulder Station offer an extensive airport to hotel shuttle service. This service is for registered guests only. You can find the individual schedules here: Boulder Station Casino, Texas Station Casino, Palace Station Casino, Sunset Station Casino

Vacation Village, the Showboat, and the Westward Ho will also bus you to their casinos, if you are a registered guest. Many of the other casinos will arrange transportation from the airport, especially if you are known to them. If you have cultivated a relationship with a particular casino, or slot host, you should be able to get them to commit to picking you up at the airport when you make your reservation.

The Station casinos, Palace Station, Sunset Station, Texas Station, and Boulder Station, run the most extensive system of shuttle buses. I guess they have to because of their location, but, they will haul anybody, no questions asked.

The Palace Station shuttle runs between the casino, The Tropicana, and the Fashion Show Mall. Check the online schedule.

The Boulder Station shuttle runs between the casino, the Sunset Station, the Fashion Show Mall, and the Sunset Station. Check the online schedule.

One of the best great free transport deals in Las Vegas runs from the South Strip to the Center Strip. Every five minutes the monorail whisks passengers between MGM Grand and Bally's. There is no long wait, its not too crowded, and best of all, IT'S FREE.

Sam's Town Casino runs a shuttle from the Hotel San Remo to Sam's starting at 9:45am and running every hour until 10:45pm. It runs from Sam's to the San Remo every hour starting at 9:15am, until 10:15pm. The Fiesta runs an irregularly scheduled shuttle to and from the Fashion Show Mall. Contact the casino for the current schedule. The Hard Rock runs an hourly shuttle to the Stardust, Fashion Show Mall, MGM Grand, then back to the Hard Rock.

Sam's Town runs a fleet of shuttles that travels to the Stardust, Bourbon Street, Hotel San Remo, California downtown, Fashion Show Mall, and Harrah's. Check directly with the casino for routes and schedules.

The Coast casinos also run a shuttle service between their casinos: the Orleans, the Barbary Coast, and the Gold Coast. Contact the casino for the current schedule. Mandalay Bay runs a free public tramway running between its properties, Excalibur and Mandalay Bay. It stops at the Luxor on the way back north. It runs every 15 minutes, 24 hours a day.

A free tram also runs between Bellagio and the Monte Carlo, which is a good thing because it is very difficult to access the Monte Carlo on foot.

A lot of people rent cars in Las Vegas and this is actually the preferred option. Rates are very good and many times you will be able to find deals for a free third day after you pay for the first two. Most rental agreements offer unlimited mileage. Driving in Las Vegas is not that difficult. Although the locals complain bitterly about jammed traffic I find driving in Las Vegas no worst than driving in Detroit or any other major mid western city. Don't be afraid to rent a car, it is inexpensive and will give you the most mobility.


15 Great Free Shows

The best things in life sometimes are free. At least in Las Vegas, some of the best shows and attractions can be enjoyed gratis. Enjoy these free shows, presented in no particular order.

The Fremont Street Experience tops most lists as one of the premier free attractions in Las Vegas. Planned as a way to attract people and spruce up downtown at the same time, it is certainly a unique attraction. The Experience is a huge, themed sound and light show that takes place on a canopy covering the pedestrian mall on Fremont Street, downtown Las Vegas. Shows take place on the hour every night from 8pm until midnight. Take in this show. Where else can you get a free light show that runs four city blocks, surrounded by casinos?

In a city of superlatives, the Rio is, certainly, one of the best. Their Masquerade Village gives visitors an excellent free taste of a Las Vegas show. The show consists of dancers, musicians, and aerialists who perform on or above the stage daily. Wednesday is dark. The Masquerade Village makes the Rio a must see free Las Vegas attraction.

The pirate battle at the front entrance to Treasure Island is a long time Las Vegas favorite. Watch the Royal Navy battle the pirates of Buccaneer Bay right on the Vegas strip. Shows run vary and high winds will cause a cancellation but this is another Las Vegas must see, and the price is certainly right. If you want a great seat, go to the lounge located in the casino just on the Buccaneer Bay shoreline. You can get a ringside table for the price of a few cokes and a order of fries. Get there about an hour before showtime, unfortunately children are barred.

The Mirage has two great free attractions. First is the volcano that erupts periodically to light up the night sky. The other attraction is the rare white tiger habitat. These are among the rarest animals in the world and the only place you can see them is in Las Vegas. Without these free attractions the Mirage itself would certainly rank as a free 'must see'. In many ways this was the resort that started the present themed building frenzy on the strip.

While you are at the Center Strip, stroll over to Caesars Palace and visit the Forum Shops. The exclusive specialty shops of Rodeo Drive, Paris and Milan have been transplanted to Las Vegas. No bargains here but the window shopping is free. Check Caesars out while you are there, it is the original high roller paradise.

Sports fan will enjoy the Las Vegas Club Sports Hall of Fame. This attraction exhibits the largest private collection of sports memorabilia in the world.

Located at the corner of Las Vegas Blvd and Spring Mountain Road (across from the Venetian) the Fashion Show Mall is THE upscale mall in town. Neiman Marcus, Saks, and their elegant cousins stand ready to accept any of your money the casinos didn't get.

Now that you've checked out the expensive stuff, drive south down the strip to the Beltz Outlet Mall. This is billed as the largest outlet mall in the world and, if you get tired of the excesses of Las Vegas gambling, you could certainly spend a day here enjoying the excesses of Las Vegas consumerism. 140 stores at this mall are open for your shopping pleasure seven days a week.

Away from the strip Sam's Town presents a daily "Sunset Stampede" sound and laser show. Like most light shows, this Boulder Strip attraction is best viewed at night. Sam's Town gives patrons good value for their money, a coupon clipper should go here anyway.

New York New York is a city-themed Las Vegas landmark, and pacesetter. The famous Manhattan skyline is reproduced (reduced size of course) as are the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, the harbor, the Coney Island rollercoaster, and many other landmarks. The New York theme is extended to such features as the New York Slot Exchange. This casino proves you can do New York in a day.

Close your eyes and imagine yourself in Venice in the 16th century; the commercial and cultural center of the world at that time. Imagine strolling entertainers, the world's best artisans selling their wares along the canal, and a casino. Well, wonder no more. The Venetian is another entry into the bigger, better Las Vegas sweepstakes. This themed resort includes a Grand Canal, St. Mark's Square, gondolas, and replicas Venetian landmarks such as the Doge's Palace, the Rialto Bridge, the Ca D'Oro and the Campanile Tower. Anytime you get a chance to look at something that cost $1.5 Billion to build (and isn't a government project), take a look. An absolute Las Vegas 'must see'.

Mandalay Bay is really an attraction in itself. This gleaming golden casino beckons as your plane touches down. Some of its features are: an 11 acre water park with beach and a wave pool, a Four Season's Hotel contained within the main hotel, and the obligatory numerous bars and restaurants. Las Vegas newest is free for gawkers.

Everybody raves about Bellagio. This mega-resort is another $1.6 billion playground you can, and should, see for free. Would you spend $10 million for a chandelier and then put it in a casino. Well, that's what they did here in a resort themed after an Italian village on Lake Como. A five story conservatory, upscale shopping arcade, a 10 acre lake, and much more to see in this "must see". Don't bother to bring your kids unless they are registered guests, they won't let them inside.

The Imperial Palace auto collection is nominally a for pay attraction but you should be able to get tickets through their slot club. If not, you can usually promote a coupon or, sometimes the hotel gives away coupons out front. This is one of the best private classic auto collections in the United States.

The Tropicana houses a gambling museum that traces the development of gambling in Nevada from its earliest days. Once again, this is nominally a for pay proposition but you can usually get free passes at the casino.

This is not a free show, but if you work it right, you can get it for free and it's a Vegas 'must see' anyway. The Stratosphere Tower really does tower above Las Vegas and gives an unsurpassed view of the valley. It's usual cost is $6, but, bartenders and other personnel are empowered to give you a VIP card that includes a free pass for two to the tower. Stop by the bar, play some video poker, buy a drink, give them a tip, and ask for a VIP pass to the tower. Once there, you can get another pass for a return trip by purchasing a drink at the Top of the World Bar on the 106th floor.

Paris Casino has become another free Las Vegas 'must see'. You have to be impressed by the exterior architecture, and the attention to detail that permeates this venue. I was particularly impressed by the faux Eiffel tower that rises from the floor of the casino, the Parisien style cobblestone lined shopping/restaurant area, and the staff uniforms. Magnifique!

The MGM Grand is also a free 'must see'. It is the biggest casino hotel in the world and there is always a lounge act rocking and rolling in the main casino just off the entrance from Las Vegas Boulevard. Check out the free show.


Take a Gamble

You're in Vegas, right? So loosen up. Take a chance on some of these deals.

The Lady Luck usually offers a free afternoon show that you can take in for the price of a drink (about $5.95). An excellent show for the price.

Recently the Fitzgerald Casino/Hotel downtown has offered free late afternoon and evening shows. Definitely worth the one drink minimum. The Flamingo Hilton on the strip has been giving out free ticket to their topless afternoon show. There is a two drink minimum.


Coupons and Fun Books

If this is your first trip to Las Vegas, or you are on a budget, look to coupons and fun books to reduce your costs. They are also a great way to introduce yourself to the different casinos. Part of the fun of this town is discovering what lies down the road.

Your sources for coupons are all over. The Las Vegas Advisor, the publication American Casino Guide, and free magazines that can be found in racks all Las Vegas are the best sources for coupons. Many casino funbooks can be had simply by asking at the slot club. You may have to show out of state ID to get them. Some casinos reserve their funbooks for registered guests only. Ask when you check in. Even if you are not staying at a casino, some motels have deals with casinos to provide their guests with funbooks. Once again, ask, ask, ask.

Don't overlook the value of these free coupons. The Las Vegas Advisor, for example, sends new subscribers dozens of extremely valuable coupons. 2 for 1 room coupons (buy one night, your second night is free) are offered for several casinos. Dozens of 2 for 1 buffet, dinner, and show coupons and free buffets and meal coupons are also presented.

The best coupons, though, are the gambling offers. Here are some examples:

Sunset Station $25 Get out of Jail Free card. Bet up to $25 on blackjack. If you lose, present the card and GET YOUR MONEY BACK. Is that worth $25?

Ellis Island $5 cash. Join their slot club and get $5 cash. They pay that much just for your address.

Several Casinos offer a free ace coupon. If you present this coupon your first blackjack card is an automatic ace. Is that a deal?

Some casinos offer matchplay coupons. Bet $5 with the coupon at blackjack, if you win, the casino pays $10. Another great deal.

Once again I have to mention John Kelly's coupon exchange. Click over and trade coupons with John. Besides the coupon exchange his website is a terrific Las Vegas information resource.

Funbooks are coupon booklets issued by specific casinos. The Lady Luck funbook is consistently rated as the most valuable in Las Vegas. If you are downtown anyway, head over there and pick one up.

The Frontier and the Hard Rock also offer excellent and worthwhile funbooks.

The Riviera, Palace Station, Imperial Palace, and Circus Circus also offer very good funbooks that are worth getting.


Slot Clubs, The Whys and Hows.

The first three rules of getting your share of casino giveaways are:

JOIN THE SLOT CLUBS!

JOIN THE SLOT CLUBS!!

JOIN THE SLOT CLUBS!!!

Do I make myself clear? Many people, especially newbie gamblers, don't want to join slot clubs because they don't want to give the casinos their name and address. They are afraid the casinos will MAIL THEM SOMETHING. Yes! That's the idea. You want them to mail you something. How else are you going to get those special room offers? The moral is, don't be afraid to join the slot clubs. Join them, use the cards they issue you, and wait for the deals to arrive in the mail.

The casinos are in the marketing game. They can't make any money unless they draw people into their shops to stay and, especially, to gamble. The advent of swipe cards and computers has been a boon for both the player and the casino. It lets the casino track the player and his play accurately. It also lets the player feel like he is part of an 'exclusive club'. If management feels it needs a boost in business during slack times, it pulls out the old slot club mailing list and sends out the promotions.

Two casinos slot clubs are standouts because they allow you to rack up points at allied casinos across the country. Harrah's was the first casino chain to institute this policy. Your Harrah's slot club card accumulates play in Reno, Las Vegas, Atlantic City, and other locations. This is an excellent deal if you travel to different casino venues. The Station Casinos run a similar program. Join their slot club and all your play at the 4 Las Vegas station casinos is counted.


Comps-The Freebie Motherlode

Comps (short for complimentary) are rewards that the casinos give to players. You could think of it as a sort of reverse tip, a thank-you from the casino to the player for your patronage and loyalty.

Follow these simple rules to get the comps you deserve:

mandalaybay.html 1) Gamble at the casino that wants your business. If you are a small player, don't go into Caesars and expect them to comp you a suite for an hour of quarter slot play. If you are a low roller really looking for bargains try the Wild Wild West, Westward Ho, Nevada Landing, Lady Luck, Las Vegas Club, Silverton, Gold Coast, Gold Spike, the Plaza, the Reserve, or Fitzgeralds. Mid rollers should try Luxor, Boardwalk Holiday Inn, Las Vegas Hilton, Fiesta, Arizona Charlies, Sam's Town, the Station Casinos, Harrah's, or the Hotel San Remo. High rollers move over to the Venetian, Caesars, the Rio, MGM Grand, Mirage, Bellagio, or the Golden Nugget.

2) Join all the slot clubs. Put some play on the card. You never know what kind of offer they will send you. It is not unheard of for players who joined and never played to get fantastic offers in the mail.

3) Get multiple slot cards. When you join, tell the clerk that you like to play two machines at once, so you need two cards. Then, you play with one and let your wife, or companion, play the other. If you are a high roller, or you both play really do play two machines at once, both of you should join and get two cards.

4) Get to know a slot host. This is the best advise you can get to getting the most out of your comps. A good slot host is worth their weight in comps. Once you've found one, never let them go, introduce other gamblers to them, don't be adverse to being nice to them or even giving them small gifts. This can pay huge dividends. Let them know what your preferences are-food, shows, rooms etc.

Jean Scott in her book The Frugal Gambler, presents an expanded, down to earth guide to comps for the Las Vegas gambler. Buy it here.

Regarding comps, your motto should be: Get comps for your play, don't play for your comps. That is, make sure your play gets you counted for comps by following a few simple rules, but don't blow $4,000 at the blackjack table to get a $10 buffet comp.

For more information on Vegas comps click over to the Go-Gamble Guide to Comps.


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