New Strip Location of Pinball Hall of Fame in Jeopardy Due to Pandemic

A beloved attraction in Las Vegas, the Pinball Hall of Fame, has hit a financial snag in its plans for a new Strip location due to the pandemic.

Pinball Hall of Fame is asking for financial assistance, via a GoFundMe page, so construction of its new building can be completed.

Pinball Hall of Fame Vegas

We can’t let these pinball machines become homeless.

The new Pinball Hall of Fame will be located at 4915 S. Las Vegas Boulevard, not far from the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign.

The project to construct a new home for the Pinball Hall of Fame was underway prior to COVID-19. Financial projections were turned upside down due to a dramatic decrease in Las Vegas
visitors.

Fewer visitors has meant fewer quarters in the pinball machines, resulting in a $500,000 loss of revenue.

While the new Las Vegas Pinball Hall of Fame building is 96% complete, there’s a chance the revenue shortfall could result in the attraction being without a home.

According to Tim Arnold, there’s a very real possibility the Hall of Fame will be given the boot from its current Tropicana location on May 6, 2021. If construction of the new building
isn’t completed, it will leave the Pinball Hall of Fame in limbo with an uncertain future. Which may be the definition of “limbo.” Please stop scrutinizing every word we write, it’s a lot of pressure.

“We can’t cut staff costs, as we are all volunteers,” says Arnold. “We have sold off dozens of donated machines and have limited new machine purchases to a minimum, just enough to keep our local customers coming back.”

Tim Arnold Pinball Hall of Fame

Tim Arnold is trying to bring us magic. The pandemic isn’t helping.

Fans of the Pinball Hall of Fame have risen to the occasion, donating $82,000 of the $200,000 needed to complete the project, but the 27,000-square-foot attraction isn’t out of the woods
yet.

Throughout the financial struggles, Tim Arnold has managed to keep his sense of humor.

In a video to pinball fans and supporters, he says, “Tell your friends, link and share and whatever you kids do with those computer things you have.”

Here’s a look at the lovable pinball nerd leading the charge for the new Pinball Hall of Fame.

The Pinball Hall of Fame originally opened in 2009. The attraction currently has about 250 vintage pinball machines, not just for display but also for play. The new location will have more than 700 pinball machines and arcade games.

Many of the games slated for the new location have been in storage for 30 years.

Riviera pinball machines

Fun fact: The Pinball Hall of Fame once had an “annex” at the Riviera.

As Arnold mentioned, the Pinball Hall of Fame is staffed entirely by volunteers, and as a non-profit organization, the museum often donates proceeds to charity, including the Salvation Army.

Here’s how the new Pinball Hall of Fame looked the last time we stopped by.

We talked with Tim Arnold on our podcast.

We caught up with Arnold again recently to learn more about the attraction’s financial challenges.

Let’s see if we can help flip this situation and help save the Las Vegas Pinball Hall of Fame. We donated $50 and it takes a lot for us to part with funds that might otherwise have gone into a Wheel of Fortune machine.

Take a listen to our chat with Tim Arnold about the precarious predicament the Pinball Hall of Fame finds itself in.

Neon Museum Hosts Free Virtual Guide to Historic Signs

The endlessly awesome Neon Museum is hosting a virtual presentation highlighting the history of a number of Las Vegas neon signs.

The free Zoom event, “Beyond the Boneyard: Restored Roadside Relics,” takes place Feb. 4, 2021 from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Participants can register online.

Neon Museum relics

It’s the Neon Boneyard, not “graveyard.” They’re at little touchy about that.

Space for the virtual event is limited. Zoom allows 100 participants, but we’re hoping Neon Museum is springing for the 1,000-participant Large Meeting add-on.

Because neon.

Binion's Horseshoe sign

Binion’s Horseshoe lost its horseshoe when the casino was purchased by Harrah’s Entertainment (now Caesars Entertainment) in 2004. There will be a quiz.

The Neon Museum online event will feature nine restored signs frequent Vegas visitors will immediately recognize.

Here are the nine restored neon signs to be discussed:

googie Binion’s Horseshoe
googie Silver Slipper
googie Bow & Arrow Motel
googie Society Cleaners
googie Normandie Motel
googie Lucky Cuss Motel
googie Hacienda Horse and Rider
googie 5th Street Liquor
googie Landmark Hotel

The Neon Museum put together a map in case you’re feeling adventurous and want to check out these signs on your own.

Neon Museum

Just a heads up: Best not to try and walk this tour. Don’t make it awkward.

During the online presentation, experts will share insights into the history of the signs, as well as what’s involved in restoring and preserving neon signs.

The museum also says, “Archival images, postcards and other primary sources will fuel your curiosity for the significant signs from bygone businesses.”

We don’t know what all that means, but here’s our take: These signs kick ass and we’re craving more scoop like a conventioneer craves lap dances.

Society cleaners neon sign

Not all the signs are from casinos. Nobody’s perfect.

All the signs in the presentation have been restored and put on display in public spaces by the Neon Museum. Many of the signs can be seen in downtown Las Vegas, not far from the Neon Museum itself.

The Neon Museum has faced many of the same challenges other venues are during the pandemic, although it has the benefit of being an outdoor attraction.

Even if you can’t make the Feb. 4 Zoom presentation, the Neon Musem offers a virtual tour for $10. It’s not as cool as seeing the signs up close, but it’ll do for now.

The Neon Museum is a national treasure, and we hope to see the place packed with guests again soon.

Godiva to Close Three Stores in Las Vegas

Yes, it’s a slow news day.

Three pricey Godiva chocolate shops in Las Vegas are set to close by the end of March 2021.

The three closures in Las Vegas are part of a much larger move by Godiva. The company is shuttering 128 brick-and-mortar stores in the U.S.

We have learned exclusively not all of them are actually constructed from bricks and mortar. You heard it here first!

Godgifu

We figured a topless icon would’ve thrived in Las Vegas. Alas, not.

In Las Vegas, Godiva has retail shops at Fashion Show Mall, the Grand Canal Shoppes at Venetian and Las Vegas North Premium Outlets.

We’ve been told the three Las Vegas locations are already starting to clear out stock with big discounts.

Before the withdrawal symptoms start kicking in, Godiva fans should know they can still get their fix online and at grocery stores.

Godiva retail stores will continue to operate in Europe, the Middle East and Greater China. Once again, Lesser China gets screwed, but that is neither here nor there.

The reason given for the closures is officially “acceleration of changes in consumers’ shopping behavior.”

Translation: Who the hell pays that much for “luxury chocolates” anymore?

On a more serious note, Godiva’s reliance on mall traffic has been seriously affected by the pandemic.

Thankfully, even with the loss of these Godiva shops, Las Vegas has ample options for overpaying for things.

For example, a bottle of “luxury (Fiji) water” at Aria costs $21.95. And water won’t make you gain weight or get cavities!

See? There’s a bright side to everything.

Gaming Today Magazine Sold, Print Publication to Cease

A Las Vegas-based sports betting publication, Gaming Today, has been sold to i15 Media.

While the Gaming Today Web site will continue under new ownership, the print publication will cease Feb. 10, 2021, following the magazine’s Super Bowl edition.

Gaming Today has been in print for more than 45 years.

It’s distributed in about 150 casinos, card rooms, race tracks and other venues across the country.

Gaming Today magazine sold

Not to be mistaken for Gaming Late Tomorrow Afternoon magazine. Hey, that could be a thing.

Gaming Today has been hard-hit by the effects of the pandemic, as many of its advertisers are casino companies.

Bill Paulos, the current owner of Gaming Today, said, “While we are saddened the print publication will no longer be found across The Strip, we are grateful the Gaming Today brand will live on within the i15 Media digital family.”

I15 Media manages a large network of gambling-focused news and affiliate sites including Bonus.com and Michigansharp.com, among others.

Paulos acquired Gaming Today in Aug. 2018. Paulos was co-founder and owner of Cannery Casinos. He sold Cannery to Boyd Gaming in 2016 for $230 million.

Gaming Today was founded by Chuck and Eileen Di Rocco in 1976. The magazine was originally called Sports Form.

To mark the end of the publication’s 45-year run, Gaming Today will donate 50 percent of the ad revenue from its final print edition to Three Square Food Bank, Southern Nevada’s largest hunger relief organization.

The move to an all-digital format seems a natural evolution for Gaming Today, but given it has been a fixture at many casinos for decades, the print version will surely be missed by sports bettors and gamblers of all stripes.

It should be noted we have never actually witnessed a striped gambler, but we mostly see them with clothes on.

CSI: The Experience Closes at MGM Grand

It seems CSI: The Experience is D.O.A. at MGM Grand.

While there’s been no official confirmation, our three-minute forensic security breach leads us to believe the attraction has closed permanently.

CSI closed MGM Grand

Even Gil Grissom’s keen eye would be hard-pressed to find traces of the CSI attraction at MGM Grand.

The CSI attraction has been unceremoniously yanked from the MGM Resorts Web site, but then again, who hasn’t been unceremoniously yanked in Las Vegas?

CSI: The Experience was inspired by the TV series “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.”

In the interactive attraction, guests explored one of three staged crime scenes to test their investigator skills.

Sounds like some creepy good fun, although we never got to visit.

The closed CSI attraction space is currently being used by MGM Grand to store liquor. Which, for the record, we’re not entirely against.

Here’s a peek inside, because that’s how we roll.

CSI Las Vegas closed

Apparently, “CSI” can also stand for “Cases of Sweet Imbibements.”

A year ago, the attraction moved from The District at MGM Grand to a spot near Brad Garrett’s Comedy Club in The Underground, a retail promenade between the casino and the hotel’s parking garage. (Reason: It’s always rent.)

The whole stretch at The Underground is pretty much (wait for it) a dead zone now due to the pandemic, including challenges like travel restrictions and the lack of conventions.

MGM Underground map

You know is curtains when they take you off the map.

We reached out to the operator of CSI: The Experience, EMS Entertainment, for comment, but haven’t heard back yet.

An MGM Grand registration desk employee said they’re unsure if the closure of CSI: The Experience is permanent, but all the clues lead us to conclude the attraction has suffered an untimely demise.

Update (1/22/21): A former employee of CSI: The Experience shares confirmation, “It’s closed permanently. There was literally no way to maneuver through the pandemic without bankrupting the business. We were actually doing pretty well but the financials weren’t there to have a year of downtime after having to pay back the move from the old location. The closure has been permanent since July.”

Eight Casino Games and the Psychology of Why People Play Them

Las Vegas casinos are an absolute blast. Each has a slew of games of chance to choose from, and there’s something for everyone.

One of the great things about casino games is each differs in why they’re appealing, and players of various games often have very different reasons for playing.

The psychology of gambling is one of the best parts. Well, that and hand pays. And free drinks. But mostly psychology!

Here, then, are eight of the most popular casino games and why players play them.

1. Craps: When You Enjoy Meeting New People

Craps, referred to as “dice” by the cool kids, has some of the best odds in the casino. But that’s not really why most people play the game. Craps is social! Because most players have money riding on the same bet, it’s a team game and the camaraderie is unlike anything you’ll find anywhere else. If you have a hot roll at a dice table, you’re guaranteed to have a new batch of lifelong friends.

Casino Royale

Remember when crowding around a dice table was a thing?

2. Roulette: When You Don’t Want to Learn How to Gamble

One of the reasons roulette is so popular is it requires virtually no skill. Just put your chips on the numbers and hope Lady Luck is on your side! People sometimes get bent out of shape because a roulette table will have three zeroes. While this is a disadvantage to players, critics don’t seem to understand these two words: Who cares? People who play roulette are having a great time. It’s not about rules or odds. It’s about fun.

Roulette

You don’t have to play all your hunches. Hunches can be real jerks sometimes.

3. Baccarat: When You Really Don’t Want to Learn How to Gamble

Baccarat pretty much has two bets: You bet on the “player” or the “banker.” So, pretty much like a coin toss. The dealer does the rest. Whales love baccarat and fortunes have been won and lost playing this game. Ultimately, though, it’s pretty much a 50/50 game and what’s not to love about a game that takes five seconds to learn?

Baccarat

We learned baccarat at Lucky Dragon. Which closed shortly thereafter. They should’ve put quotation marks around the “Lucky.”

4. Keno: When You Really, Really Don’t Want to Learn How to Gamble

Remember how we said craps has some of the best odds in a casino? Well, keno has some of the worst. The house advantage (also called the “house edge”) for live keno is around 25 percent (and can be as high as 35 percent). In layperson’s terms, that’s an avalanche of suck. Still, keno can provide a low-cost form of enjoyment and, as we’ve said, that’s really the point of gambling, not merely the financial ROI. The strategy in keno involves: 1) Marking numbers. That’s the whole list. Just as with the lottery, winning it out of your hands, so just enjoy the ride.

world's largest keno board

Will you please grow up?

5. Blackjack: When You Like Math

Blackjack, unlike some games we’ve mentioned, involves a degree of skill. That means a player with knowledge of the game (basic strategy) tends to do better than one without. One of the biggest barriers to blackjack is it involves math. Every hand involves addition. Dealers do a lot of the heavy lifting, but it’s still up to players to make a decision, whether to hit or stand, for every hand. If you’re not up for sum math, blackjack may not prove to be of value.

blackjack

Getting a blackjack keeps the math to a minimum.

6. Sports Betting: When You Want To Have Skin in the Game

Lots of people who aren’t this blog absolutely love sports! And many of the people who love sports enjoy betting on sports. Here’s why: Sports betting makes sports a lot less boring. Rooting for your favorite team is one thing, but having money on the line inspires a whole new level of enthusiasm. Proof? During the pandemic, as major sports were shutting down, sports bettors shifted their attention to offbeat sports including ping pong and Belarusian soccer. No, really. The sports themselves don’t matter all that much, it’s all about the wagering action.

Circa sportsbook

If you’re into sports, the new Circa resort has a metric hell-ton of it.

7. Slots: When You Want an Escape

It’s a scientific fact playing slot machines can put gamblers into a trance-like state. Slots are a great way to escape our daily lives, to enter the “zone” where our concerns are set aside while we take a mental vacation. Slot players often lose track of time (casinos aren’t mad about that) as well as their surroundings. Slots are like self-hypnosis, where worries melt away and we’re freed up to reap the rewards of our labor and dispose of our disposable income. Everything in moderation, of course, but slots are a popular diversion from all the WTF in our everyday lives.

Cosmopolitan high limit slots

Cosmo is one of our favorite mental vacation destinations.

8. Video Poker: When You Love to Drink

Video poker has some of the best returns in a casino, but that’s not really why people play and it’s just one small part of the experience. The best part is the drinking! When you sit at a casino video poker bar, it’s expected you’ll play a reasonable amount per hand (in most places it’s a dollar per hand), but if you do, the drinks flow freely. Video poker provides a great value, and while there’s always a risk of “decision fatigue,” video poker players almost always have a great time because Las Vegas never runs out of libations.

Vital Vegas royal flush

We’ve gotten two royals in 20 years, so we’re definitely in it for the hooch.

There are lot of other casino games, of course, but the number eight is lucky, so we don’t want to screw with our mojo. As soon as this story goes live, we’re heading to the casino! Shocker.

We’d love to hear why you play your favorite casino game. Do you prefer solitude or interaction? Math or no math? Do the odds matter most or is the experience that gets your blood pumping?

Whatever game you play, Vegas is the place to do it. Otherwise, it would be Vital Des Moines, and that would just be awkward.