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Kentucky Derby / PBR Rock Bar / MGM Grand / Golden Gate / The D Hotel / Double Helix Wine & Whiskey Lounge / Town Square / Station Casinos / Sigma Derby / → All Tags
The fastest two minutes in sports is just a few weeks away and we’ve got you covered if you plan to celebrate the annual Run for the Roses from afar.
If you’re more of a hands-on sort of person, you can always play your own version with Sigma Derby at the D downtown and MGM Grand on The Strip. Otherwise, drink specials and betting lectures will be happening all over town. We aggregate them below, and will update this post as new events are announced. The Kentucky Derby takes place May 3.
It’s no secret that we at VegasChatter have an
addiction appreciation for the classic coin-operated horse racing game known as Sigma Derby. We’ve mentioned it more than a few times, and even teamed up with The D to send five lucky readers to the casino's Sigma Derby tournament last year. The Derby is this writer’s favorite casino game. It’s got the lively atmosphere of a craps game with the budget-friendly stakes of penny slots. Despite the high house edge (typically around 15%), the pace is slow enough that a few bucks go a long way. So, when outside of Las Vegas, how is a VegasChatter writer supposed to get his racing fix? By tracking down the nearest Sigma Derby game, of course!
Vegas News / Vegas On Strike / Downtown / Downtown Vegas / Fremont Street / Fremont Street Experience / The D hotel / Plaza / Main Street Station / Las Vegas Club / Golden Nugget / Golden Gate / Fremont Hotel / Four Queens / → All Tags
The local news in Las Vegas isn’t always that interesting outside of Las Vegas. As last week ended, the local news turned into news that would affect tourists and residents alike. The local Culinary and Bartenders Union approved a strike against 10 Downtown Vegas casinos.
Binion's, El Cortez, Four Queens, Fremont, Golden Gate, Golden Nugget, Las Vegas Club, Main Street Station, Plaza and The D all have expired contracts with the union. Shortly after the strike was approved, the union started getting their troops in order to picket outside the hotels beginning April 12.
Closings / Raack N Roll / The D Hotel / Entertainment / Shows / → All Tags
VegasChatter Twitter friend and Raack N Roll fan @George Addams brought us news of the impeding closure on Sunday. We were able to confirm yesterday that the topless production's one-year run was coming to an end tonight.
Coffee / Downtown / Downtown Vegas / The D Hotel / Golden Gate / → All Tags
At the D, guests who can't function without that morning cup of java will now need to head downstairs to grab some, or bring their own coffeemaker.
We've confirmed that the downtown hotel is removing all of its in-room Keurig machines and that there are no plans to replace them with something else right now. Guests will need to head to D Grill or McDonald's to get their caffeine fix if they don't want to bring a travel coffeemaker with them to Vegas.
Located a block off Fremont, Stevens plans to turn the lot into events grounds for everything from "concerts to food-and-arts festivals." And, the work towards that end has now commenced.
Gambling / Video Poker / Downtown / Main Street Station / The California / Las Vegas Club / Downtown Vegas / Plaza / The D Hotel / Golden Gate / El Cortez / Golden Nugget / Fremont / Four Queens / Downtown Grand / La Bayou / Mermaids / → All Tags
Last week, we reported that Downtown Grand lowered its video poker pay tables shortly after they opened. Nobody was happy to see this reduction so quickly, but Downtown Grand's video poker only went from bad to worse. Most people concerned with playing good video poker games wouldn't have played the better option at Downtown Grand, anyway.
The reaction to Downtown Grand's video poker pay tables led us to check out how other downtown casinos compare. According to vpFREE2, there are plenty of good video poker games to be found downtown. Here's a list of the best games in each casino with percentage of return. They're broken down only by the best game(s) offered. Click on each game listed to find details on how many of those games are in that casino, where they are located, and what other good video poker games are available.
Resort Fees / Downtown Vegas / Downtown / Golden Gate / The D Hotel / Vegas Observations / Hotel Rooms / → All Tags
The ‘No Resort Fee’ era of Downtown Vegas came to an end over the summer when Golden Gate and The D introduced $20 a night charges. CEO Derek Stevens didn’t sugarcoat the decision, explaining it was necessary in order to compete on third-party travel search engines that sort hotels by price. Competitors like Plaza, who were already using resort fees to make their nightly rates appear lower than they really were, have been consistently outranking those hotels that don’t charge such fees. Golden Gate and The D took the if you can’t beat ‘em, join 'em approach and introduced their own fees, while lowering their displayed rates, in August.
While we hate the resort fee game, it clearly makes a difference for hotel operators. Since tacking on the $20 upcharges, both The D and Golden Gate have slashed their room rates and are now dominating listings on travel sites like Priceline and Orbitz. We checked Priceline for the cheapest room we could find next week and The D came out on top. Its $11 advertised price will actually be closer to $35 once the resort fee and taxes are added on.
Drinking / Beer / Golden Gate / The D Hotel / Fremont Street / Downtown / Downtown Vegas / → All Tags
The first-ever Golden Gate Beefest is set for Saturday, September 14 and will offer "more than 60 craft beers from 50 breweries around the world." We wanted to know just what that meant, though, so we asked for a rundown of the brews and received one. Here's what will be on tap:
Sportsbooks / Main Street Station / The California / Las Vegas Club / Downtown Vegas / Plaza / The D Hotel / Golden Gate / El Cortez / Golden Nugget / Fremont / Four Queens / William Hill / Station Casinos / Downtown Grand / → All Tags
Downtown Vegas is great in so many ways and is getting better by the day. There are new restaurants and bars popping up nearly as quickly as we can say Downtown Vegas. Gambling is alive and well there, too, but there's one thing that's lacking for sports bettors. Unlike casinos on the Vegas Strip, not every downtown Vegas casino has a sportsbook. Sure, you can watch the games at many bars, but you can't always wager and watch at the same place. With football season coming up, we thought we should rundown the sportsbooks in Downtown Vegas:
The Plaza introduced a big, bright renovated William Hill sportsbook earlier this year (seen above) and they share it with sister property, Las Vegas Club. This is probably the largest sportsbook in Downtown Vegas with easy access to Pop Up Pizza. There are plenty of tables and chairs for you to eat. It's almost as if they're encouraging us to eat pizza. Twist our arm.
Resort Fees / Downtown Vegas / Downtown / Golden Gate / The D Hotel / WTF / → All Tags
First came Plaza's $10 resort fee a year ago and we feared the start of a trend in a once fee-less Downtown Vegas. Then, last month, Golden Nugget instituted a $5 Fremont Street Experience Fee. Sorry, make that a $5 Downtown Destination Fee. (They can argue that it's not a resort fee all they want, but we're calling a spade a spade.) And now, Golden Gate and The D Las Vegas are joining the party nobody wants to see they've RSVP'd for at the bottom of their hotel bill.
Both Fremont Street hotels will enact at $20 a night -- yes, $20 -- beginning August 19. Why? Here's the official statement from CEO Derek Stevens:
Effective with any new reservations for arrivals on August 19, 2013 and beyond, the D Las Vegas and Golden Gate will implement a $20 resort fee per night, which we will offset by offering the most competitive room rates in town. Guests also will be provided free high-speed Wi-Fi access, $10 off the D showroom tickets, and free local and toll free phone calls.
Over the years, I have been a critic of resort fees in Las Vegas. But now, the reality is that over 85% of all hotel rooms booked today in the city include a resort fee. This puts our hotels, the D Las Vegas and the Golden Gate, at a disadvantage when consumers book their stays online, as most consumers initially evaluate hotels by price. We’d like to be fairly considered when consumers are making their reservations and don’t want published rates to distort consumer choice. Our resort fee will enable us to offer lower room rates while adding free Wi-Fi and show discounts, and our total room cost will be a very competitive value in the marketplace.
Golden Gate’s new rates are now reflected on their rate calendar. A screen grab is shown below.
The D's rate calendar, we're told, is still being finalized so reps want you to refer to this screen shot for a true reflection of the pricing to come:
We know you have an opinion on this, so leave it in the comments. Meanwhile, our dreams of a resort fee-less Downtown Grand have pretty much disappeared.
Drinking / Aria / Flamingo / Mandalay Bay / The D Hotel / Encore / Margaritaville Casino / El Cortez / Red Rock Resort / Palazzo / Drink Service / Vegas Observations / → All Tags
Besides friends -- new and old -- and good times, there's one thing that goes with a gambling session in the casino and that's a decent drink. Or, five. Recent sessions have reminded us that size matters when it comes to drink service. Bigger isn't always better. In fact, bigger usually isn't better when it comes to having a few cold ones.
Playing blackjack at Mandalay Bay recently reminded us how big that casino actually is. It struck us for two reasons: 1) It took us a while to find an open table with rules and minimums that fit the bill (3:2, $15) and 2) it took forever to get a drink. The slow drink service wasn't entirely the cocktail waitress' fault. She was the only waitress for a busy pit of tables. These things happen. It was a good thing that we just finished dinner with bottomless wine (!) at Charlie Palmer Steak and didn't really need more drinks.