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  • Casinos changing video poker...

    Which casinos are doing this?

    "In Las Vegas, Drinks Flow a Little Less Freely"
    By Chris Kirkham
    April 18, 2017 1:33 p.m. ET
    26 COMMENTS
    LAS VEGAS—On a recent trip here, Phil Fletcher and his friends were at a video poker bar at Bally’s casino when they noticed a series of red and green lights on the back of the machines.

    He had heard about the lights, but as a longtime visitor to Vegas, he was shocked upon seeing them in person: The lights signal when a person has played enough poker to deserve a free drink, upending decades of tradition. Typically, guests got a complimentary pour at the bar regardless of how much they bet, without being tracked.

    “It’s become very frustrating with all the nickel-and-diming,” said Mr. Fletcher, of Winnipeg, Canada, who visits Las Vegas at least three times a year. “As a customer, it throws you way off.”

    As Las Vegas has transformed into one of the world’s most-visited tourist destinations, casino operators are re-examining the perks that historically lured gamblers.

    Over the past year, casinos have started charging for parking at resorts on the Strip, eliciting criticism from locals and longtime visitors who view free casino parking as a sacred tradition.

    Now operators have started scrutinizing complimentary drinks, introducing new technology at bars that track how much someone has gambled—and rewards them accordingly with alcohol. It’s a shift from decades of more-informal interplay between bartenders and gamblers.

    Sports books have capitalized on big events, too. During March Madness, a five-person booth at the Harrah’s Las Vegas sports book cost $375 per person, which included five Miller Lite or Coors Light beers a person. In the past, seating at most sports books was free and first-come, first-served, even during big events. Placing a small bet or two could get you free drinks.

    “The number-crunchers, the bean-counters have ruined Las Vegas,” said Brad Johnson, who lives in North Carolina and has come to Las Vegas almost every year since the early 1970s. “There’s no value to it; there’s no benefit.”

    MGM Resorts International is piloting a program at the MGM Grand on the Strip that prints a voucher when someone has spent enough at a video-poker machine at the bar.

    Alan Feldman, executive vice president at MGM Resorts, said the goal was to free up bar staff from having to account for who was and wasn’t playing. “Instead of trying to keep track of someone’s play, you have a chance to say ‘Where are you from?’” he said.

    On a recent night at a bar inside the Paris Las Vegas casino, Jamie Balazs and her father were getting used to the new drink-monitoring system. They had just been instructed on how much they needed to put into the machine to allow booze to flow. A bartender told her to push the “max bet” button four times, she said.

    She said she understood the desire to weed out freeloaders who aren’t gambling but found the instructions off-putting.

    “I said ‘Don’t you worry, honey, I’m going to get there,’ ” Ms. Balazs said. “As an honest gambler, you feel like ‘Come on, trust me.’ ”

    Her father, Jim Fletcher, was in town with a group to celebrate his 70th birthday. As a top-tier member in Caesars Entertainment Corp.’s rewards program, he felt the new system was “insulting.”

    “That’s why you come to Vegas, for the cheap deals,” he said. He paused to sip his free vodka tonic and put another $20 into the machine: “But I love coming here. That’ll never change.”

    Richard Broome, executive vice president of public affairs at Caesars, which owns Paris Las Vegas and Bally’s, said the system is intended to better reward players and distinguish them from those who aren’t gambling.

    “The only one who doesn’t like it,” he said, “is the person who wants to milk the system, get free drinks and not spend any money.”

    So far the system applies only to machines at casino bars. Players at slot machines on the floor can still wave down cocktail servers for free drinks.

    “Our conscience is clear,” he said.

    Wesley Angell, a bartender at Sully’s inside Bally’s, grew up in Las Vegas. He said the light system aims to end the time-honored tradition known as “the Vegas hustle”: Putting $20 into a machine, soliciting a free drink, pretending to play and cashing out early.

    The light system, rolled out by Caesars over the past year at bars at all nine of its Las Vegas resorts, monitors the money gambled and the duration of play.

    Mr. Angell explained that a blue light indicates the player has put enough money—$20 at the start of play—into the system. The green light signals the player has gambled the money.

    If the player continues to put in money and gamble, the green light will remain on. The red light means the gambler has slowed down and signals time to serve the last free drink.

    “I had a $200 drink the other day,” said Lily Paradise, who was visiting Las Vegas from Long Island, recalling a particularly unlucky streak.

    Some gamblers say they have started playing at casinos off the Strip, in Downtown Las Vegas or the suburbs, which haven’t instituted the same kind of systems.

    “They wouldn’t dare stiff you,” said Armand Dodsworth, a New Jersey native who now lives in Henderson, Nev. “The bartenders know you enough that they don’t have to hassle you.”

    For novices, the systems can be confusing. Paul Howard, part of the birthday crew, said he put $20 into a machine at a Bally’s bar, started playing and asked for a beer. The bartender told him he wasn’t playing fast enough, that the green light wasn’t yet illuminated.

    Mr. Howard was just learning the game, but he tried to pick up the pace. “Am I catching up? Is my light green?” he said. The bartender told him it only came on sporadically.

    She did serve him a beer, he said.

  • #2
    I stayed at Aria in February and they did this. You also needed a player's card to even qualify. Had to bet at least $1.00 per hand and start with at least $20.00. Then when you hit whatever metric they use, the bartender would come and put a voucher in front of you to use for your free drink (He explained all this right when we sat down). Only played for maybe 20-25 minutes, so not sure how long it takes to get a second voucher. Overall, I'd be betting the same amount anyways so it didn't really matter, but if I was watching a game or something and was at the bar for an hour or more, it might get annoying if drinks didn't come fast enough. Also Cosmo did this too at Chandelier, but instead of the bartender giving you a voucher, it would come directly out of the machine.

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    • #3
      That kinda sucks! I read its only at MGM properties. I usually stay at MGM or Paris (if i want to relax).

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      • #4
        Headed back to Vegas for the first time in over a year in February. So it's all MGM and Caesars properties, and Ballys too? Anywhere an exception to this??

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        • #5
          Gambling is an old historical entertainment option. People have long been playing these games. And it is quite logical that a kind of traditions and stereotypes are formed. Their value is very great, since their appearance is associated with a lot of time and the change of many generations. It's a shame when, in the pursuit of money and profit, the casino organizers break all stereotypes and do not pay attention to traditions. All those examples that you brought about parking and drinking. This is terrible, it seems to me because of such conditions that they will go broke. And all their customers will run away from them. I think they should stop urgently. Today there is a lot of online version, for example https://clubvip777.com. They are very convenient. You can play at home, on the street, but anywhere. And do not worry about parking. Games of different options will not let you get bored. Registration is very quick and easy. In the end, it is a big time saver. So as for me, soon this online casino industry will begin to develop at a fast speed.
          Last edited by manrobertkir; 04-21-2020, 01:41 AM.

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          • #6
            Namely for this reason, I like to play casino games online, because it is much easier. I started with the online casinos and I'm playing them even now. A friend of mine invited me to play games on onlinecasinogo.com.au and that's how my casino career started. I discovered there a lot of other games that intrigued me, which made me feel novice every time I started a new game. I tried a few other online casinos but in the end, I turned back to mine. Their slots are the ones that keep me playing and playing, and playing.

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            • #7
              I always liked the famous casino in Vegas, but as you guys know, when we entered the quarantine, all the casinos closed, and I was the unhappiest man in the world. The first two weeks, I was so bored as I had a lot of free time, but had nothing to do with it. On the other hand, I had no money for gambling, so maybe I wouldn't gamble even in the case the casinos were opened. Thankfully I accessed a site and found a few online casinos with no deposit bonus for South Africans. You have no clue how happy I was, at that moment, and I am still excited as I earned a lot of money without risking my money, so what can be better than that.
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              Last edited by dioenqnp; 02-07-2021, 04:07 PM.

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              • #8
                I always liked the famous casino in Vegas, but as you guys know, when we entered the quarantine, all the casinos closed, and I was the unhappiest man in the world.

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                • #9
                  I like to play at the casino. I don't treat it as a job, as a way to make money. For me, it is a way to experience emotions, to experience a sense of excitement. And I am ready to give my money for that. I have been to various casinos. I love them for the atmosphere, for the interior, for their specific smell, for the special sound. All of this attracts me insanely. But damn how sad I was in the quarantine. I missed everything listed. Friends advised online casinos. Of course, it's convenient, fast, you can play from anywhere, the site is great you can see for yourself. You just check out this piece , but I miss real people and their emotions.
                  Last edited by anonymous1989; 05-07-2021, 10:05 AM.

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                  • #10
                    There is only one gambling game I love, and that game is poker. If you haven't tried it, then you should know you are missing something exciting. When I talk about poker, I don't mean that I make money in this game, even though I do. The truth is that I genuinely enjoy the process. By the way, I gamble for bitcoins. There are many reasons why it is worth gambling for bitcoins, and if you also would like to try bitcoins gambling, click on the link I attached for you. I wish you only big wins, stay safe, and have a wonderful day!
                    Play today at a Stellar Casino, and start winning big with XLM in 2021.

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                    • #11
                      I used to go to Vegas every summer on vacation to play in the casino. So that troubles happen to me, so that my life is filled with fun, Even for 3 months my life becomes fun and without care.

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