Las Vegas is your Big Brother, too!

I have to mention this.  In the distant past you could walk into a casino in Las Vegas and play a mechanical slot machine – and get paid in money if you won.  Same with table games.  You could just pick up and walk away at any time with your winnings – if you won.  Not anymore.  Now you don't play for money except on the tables.  ALL the slots in ALL the casinos are connected to a databank.  You put money in and play for POINTS – which are paid out on a printed slip you can redeem for cash in another machine or use to get 40% off your meals.  Basically, you are playing video games, not gambling.  The house can change the odds on any machine at any time, electronically.  And the odds aren't posted anymore.

But here is the kicker.  In order to play, you have to register at the casino and get a card – which you then put in the machine while you are playing – or hand to the dealer at the card table, who checks you in and out.  Meals, too.  So the casino knows where you are.  ALL the casinos know where you are and exactly how much you have lost or won, at which table or which slot machine at which casino, at what time on what day.  When you go into a casino and insert your card, the machine greets you by name.  Sometimes it takes a second or two to identify you in the database.  When that happens, the machine tells you to re-insert your card a few times.  It SEEMS as though the machine simply isn't reading the card, but it's actually connecting you into the database.  It knows who you are.  Just like a gas station.  And, just like a gas station, the databases are connected.  Your Vegas card will work in Atlantic City.  You are PWNED.  

What's next?  I can guess.  Very soon, your card will also unlock your hotel room door – so they will know when you enter and leave your room. 

Also, all of the airlines charge for baggage.  Hawaiian charges $17 per checked item, or $100 for any item over 40 pounds.  Omni charges $20 per item or $100 over 40 pounds.  The airfare which should be cheap since the casinos subsidize it – or in the case of Omni, Boys gaming OWNS the airline, are about $1,500 round trip Honolulu – Las Vegas.  Figure another $1,000 per person to fly first class, plus at least $80 round trip if everyone has one checked item.  Then you have to tip everyone in Vegas.  Foodservers, bus drivers, dealers, everyone.

Hawaiian charges about $200 round trip from the outer islands.  So by the time you GET to Vegas, if two of you go and you expect to come home, you are already down $3,600.  Let's see how that works:  It costs Omni ~$82,000 in fuel alone to fly round-trio Vegas/Honolulu.  They get $14,500 for baggage if each passenger checks one bag.  They get another $282,000 in airfare.  That puts them around $296,000. 3 times what it costs them in fuel. Twice what it costs them if you add salaries, maintenance, freebies and insurance.  They are already making money – even if they give away half the seats.

Since your meal coupons are only good at Boyd properties (Main Street, The California and the Fremont downtown – and Sam's, wherever that is), people are going to be there at least a couple hours a day and maybe more.  I met one person who played the slots in one casino for twelve hours straight.  If you figure that everyone drops $108 a day for their 108 hour trip, that's $540 per person or ~98,000 per plane load.  Sure, one person won a $3,000 jackpot while I was there, but most people lost – and a LOT of people lost a lot more than $540.  A LOT more.  I lost $200 over the five days and I'm not much of a gambler at all.  $40 a day was my limit.  I spent another $100 on food, a couple of drinks and tips. 

So even if you happen to win a free trip, they are STILL making money on you.  If you never gamble at all, you still have to eat.

“Oh, you are just grumbling because you didn't win”.  No. I'm grumbling because it isn't fun anymore.  It's mechanical.  The people who work there aren't having fun.  They smile but they aren't having fun.  The streets are full of panhandlers.  The casinos turned off half their ventilation systems to save electricity, so all the casinos smell of stale smoke.  The cleaning crews are not working very hard either.  The desks, bars, restaurants, cashiers and service areas are staffed at a third capacity – so either they are reading magazines or there are long lines.  There are CCTV cameras over every seat at table games and every four or five slot machines.

I think Las Vegas is done-for.  It is for me, if for no other reason than the bullshit TSA nazis.