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Our last trip to Las Vegas?

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Our last trip to Las Vegas?

There has been several post over the past few months from some of us how Las Vegas has changed, but not for the better. Many have responded to those threads with agreement and understanding, and others claim we are whining and need to move on. I don’t think we are whining but I agree it’s time to move on. I will try to put into words what I and others feel has happened to “our city”.

As I already stated it is hard to explain, but in the 80s, 90s you felt special just being there. My first trip was in 1983, so I don't know about earlier times, but I do wish I could have seen the Rat Pack live.

The places we liked to stay back then were the Tropicana in the summertime for the great pool, and the MGM Grand (before it became Ballys) in the winter. If the weather was not to hot we enjoyed walking the Stip in the day time, sometimes you had the whole sidewalk to yourself for a minute or so before you came across someone else. I still remember the large rose bushes shaped into small trees that lined the front of Ceasers Palace, and I think there was a Shell service station where the Mirage is now. Most of the foot traffic was around the Stardust, Westward Ho, and Circus Circus.

At night we would dress up just a little, depending on where we were planning on dinner then hit the casino, buy in at the crap table or the black jack table for a couple hundred dollars and play for several hours, and more often than not the floor person would come over and offer us dinner without us asking. I guess dressing nice made the difference, we are not high rollers, I was just a construction worker that made a decent living. Most casinos had great lounge shows with a two drink minimum, but the drink prices were very cheap.

We could play the nickel slots for hours on $20 worth of nickels. I remember hitting a $500 jackpot on a dollar machine back in 83 and that was a lot of money.

There is much more to it than what I listed above, these are some of the things that stand out in my memory and I wish I was better able to explain the frustration I felt over the high prices, bad odds, and the feel that the place was trying to suck every last penny out of our pockets on our last few trips over the last few years or so.

Las Vegas would almost always get all of the money we took with us trip after trip and send us home with smiles on our face. Now they get all of our money but we are not smiling, and that is the big difference.

So we will be taking a break from Las Vegas for some time, we can get our gambling fix with a couple hour drive to Shreveport

New York City, New...
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1. Re: Our last trip to Las Vegas?


Las Vegas will still be here when you decide to come back!

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2. Re: Our last trip to Las Vegas?

So well said Ship! Our first trip to Vegas was in 1985 and your absolutely right, it's hard to describe all the things that made it so great. Restaurants weren't gourmet but you got a good meal without spending a small fortune, you could get steak and eggs anytime for $1.99 and your waitress would stop and chat with you. Walking the strip was so easy, not crowded but busy. The pit boss would spend time talking to you "first time in Vegas?" "are you enjoying your stay here?" "anything I can do to make your stay more pleasant, just let me know" and sometimes he would offer to comp you a buffet. You could sit a one of the casino bars, order a cocktail, for about $3, throw $10 into the video poker machine and sit, sipping that cocktail for a long time. You could see a headliner - not just on a Friday or Saturday night but any night during the week too. We'd win some, lose some but most times, we'd spend all our money but we'd come home saying it was the best trip - ever. There were no players cards then, everything was just less expensive so you got better value for the money you spent.

It's too bad really - I miss the old Vegas too.

Saskatoon, Canada
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3. Re: Our last trip to Las Vegas?

$3 is a lot for a cocktail in the 80s.

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4. Re: Our last trip to Las Vegas?

I hear how cheap everything was in the 80's but remember that it was 30 years ago. Everything has gotten more expensive. Houses, cars, ect. You can't expect people to charge 1980's prices do you? They will go broke. I remember gas was about .95 cents a gallon when I started driving. Prices goes up but so as our pay. People were happy making a 1000,00 a month back then. I would be jumping off the roof if I made that now.

not Pittsburgh
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5. Re: Our last trip to Las Vegas?

I also understand your concerns and agree for the most part.

Vegas is a much fancier place than it was long ago. Let's face it the old Thunderbird or the Desert Inn were just glorified motels built on a huge scale with oversize dining/showrooms. This was back in the early 70s. My first visit was in 1974. The emphasis was gambling foremost with the headliners thrown in to give you a break away from the tables. Food was fuel. The prime rib buffet for $4.99 and etc.

Today, by fancier I mean that every restaurant or lounge has some flashy gimmick to get you in their door. A bar with a "wine angel" a young lady in a rappelling rig who retrieves your drink through the use of an overhead crane. All very artistically done without a doubt. Or the ice bar with 700 varieties of vodka, every one of them served in a glass carved from the ice of a glacier in the arctic that is flown in on a private jumbo jet every 45 minutes. to me this is all style without substance.

In times gone by just being here meant you had some money to spend (lose). Now if you don't take a suite and a limo and have a private concierge you can count yourself among the proles, the great unwashed.

They will still tolerate you and your kind. That's why the McDonalds is still there. But please don't get in the way. Don't bother even looking in the windows at Bulgari or Prada, just keep moving please.

I don't have a brilliant summation for this diatribe. I'm just concerned that Vegas is, like others here have stated, cutting everything to the bone except the quest for ever higher profits. What we seem to be offered is smoke and mirrors.

This town used to be magic now it's a magic show.

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6. Re: Our last trip to Las Vegas?

Dave 2006 You got that right planning my next trip now. Ive been going for a long time myself. And cant wait to get back.

Down Under
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7. Re: Our last trip to Las Vegas?


Our first visit was in 85 and lots of your comments bring back fond memories as does m1k2s3's comments.

It definitely was better value in those days in almost every area.

"This town used to be magic now it's a magic show " ___I like that mike ___how true but we keep coming back and still enjoy our visits.

Edited: 26 September 2013, 07:35
Walsall, United...
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8. Re: Our last trip to Las Vegas?

I understand what you're saying but isn't it like that everywhere these days?

In the 70's and 80's the cheapness of Vegas was 99.9% all about getting you to stay and gamble your money away! I think nowadays Vegas needs a much bigger attraction than just gambling! It needs the shows to be a big reason for visiting!

If it relied on gambling alone there would be a lot less visitors as people can gamble much closer to home if that's what they want to do!

No, Vegas is all about the in your face over the topness of everything! You only have to look at the hotels themselves to see this! I guess the only way it could go back to being the cheap place it was is for people to stop going as much! (which may happen) and hotelliers to realise the numbers are down and that will drive costs down and they'll be doing everything they can to get people through their doors!

Will that ever happen? I don't think so!

I know one thing for sure, I wouldn't be taking my first trip to Vegas from the uk next year if it was just to gamble!

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9. Re: Our last trip to Las Vegas?

I'm not really a gambler at all (only a few £ on soccer each weekend) so when my wife and friend suggested Vegas in 2009 I was a bit dubious as I just thought of it as a gambling place. We are now going for the 4th time next month, taking our daughter as she is 21. Will do a small amount of slot and VP gambling but going to Grand Canyon National Park, Lake Mead, Hoover Dam, seeing Boys II Men, MJOne, Vegas The Show, wandering hotels, seeing dolphins, aquariums, hitting happy hours and burger bars (I do like a nice burger!), and enjoying the sunshine. Where else can you do all that?

It is costing us quite a bit but for us holidays to Greece and Spain have gone up dramatically over the last few years as well. Just a sign of the times!

Edited: 26 September 2013, 08:27
Houston, Texas
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10. Re: Our last trip to Las Vegas?

Lots of good points here. I was also here in those days, The OP and some of the other posts are not exagerating one bit about how things were. You did feel special here, I always used to say that Vegas is the only city in the world that can make loseing money fun! and it was true, you would loose on the slots but you would go home happy because you at least felt you had a fighting chance and were ok with paying for the entertainment, the rush, and the excitement you received from it.

Slots are not that way today, just walk through a casino during a busy weekend and stand and watch a large area of slots for a while and you will see people feaverishly pumping money into those machiens and it's all input and damn little if any output.

It was NOT that way 20 yeras ago, sure the majority of people still lost in the long run but they won enough to keep them playing, a typical weekend at the slots would be described as a roller coaster ride, you were up and down.

Today slots are less like a roller coaster ride and more like a slide, it's one direction striaght down which is why you hear folks like the OP describe a feeling of rip off, or like they were constantly being squeezed down to their last cent. because the entertainment value has diminished a great deal due to lower payouts.

I personally don't play slots anymore, I now play games with a much lower house edge and have learned to love other things that LV has to offer. My Vegas experience is completely different today than it was 20 years ago and although I do miss the old days, I'm not fixed on them. This is a fabulous city on steroids that keeps reinventing itself and there is still no place on earth like it.