We love Las Vegas, but that doesn’t mean it’s perfect. We’ve compiled a list of some of the most egregious Las Vegas lies so you’re better prepared to chortle when you hear them. We’re big on chortling.
Las Vegas Lie #1: Concierges recommend the best restaurants and shows.
Concierges are a guest’s best resource for information about Las Vegas restaurants and shows, right? Wrong!
First, many of the people at concierge desks aren’t even concierges in the traditional sense of the word.
They’re salespeople working for third party companies with the mission of selling tickets to shows for which they’ll get the biggest commission. That’s right, many Vegas hotels outsource their concierge services.
Even when concierges are real concierges, you’re likely to get a recommendation based upon which establishment is paying the most for a referral. (Ditto the recommendation of cabbies. They get kick-backs when they deliver customers to an establishment’s doorstep.)
Las Vegas Lie #2: Resort fees are for your convenience.
Ah, the tangled web Las Vegas hotels weave. Just about every hotel claims resort fees are for the convenience of their customers. Some even claim customers “demand” them.
Resort fees are a way to make more money, plain and simple.
In Las Vegas, one of the key reasons for resort fees is it allows hotels to keep their “official” rate low so they can compete with other hotels on travel Web sites (called OTAs in the industry, or “online travel agencies”).
Hotels that are up front about the cost of their rooms tend to show up lower in search results, and that costs them money.
Las Vegas Lie #3: There’s sex in the Champagne Room.
Fortunes have been spent by delusional men in pursuit of the fantasy of scoring in a strip club’s VIP room.
However, prostitution is illegal in Las Vegas, and strip clubs get a lot of scrutiny by law enforcement, pretty much ensuring nothing seedy is happening in the Champagne Room.
Lap dances are a fine form of entertainment, but don’t be lured into having a “private” show in a strip club’s VIP room. This is one of the more expensive Las Vegas lies.
Las Vegas Lie #4: The odds of hitting red or black in roulette is 50/50.
Hey, there are only two colors on a roulette wheel, black and red, so betting on those colors is like a coin toss, right? That’s what the casino would like you to believe, anyway.
Actually, roulette tables have three colors, red, black and green.
Those green spaces, zero and double zero, are easy to miss (especially when liquor is involved), but they lower the odds of your red or black bet to 47.4%.
That may not sound like a lot, but over time, you’ll wish you’d invested that money in a lap dance.
Las Vegas Lie #5: Hotels encourage reuse of towels to save the planet.
The social awareness of Las Vegas hotels is astonishing. They actually offer to not wash your towels and bed linens because they’re interested in conservation that can save the planet!
Hog, meet wash.
Hotels play up their “eco-friendly” initiatives for PR value, but they also save a fortune if they can get even a fraction of their guests to forego laundering during their stay.
We love Capitalism, and cost-saving measures are smart business, but it’s the lie that gets our shorts in a twist. You do not want to be around us when our shorts are twisted.
Las Vegas Lie #6: Ground is being broken, so this project is definitely happening.
Las Vegas is huge on groundbreaking ceremonies! There’s even a cottage industry built around fancy gold shovels and over-sized scissors used for ribbon-cutting.
However, history has shown groundbreakings have almost no relationship to whether a project will come to fruition or not.
The list of failed projects in Las Vegas is long, including Fontainebleau Resort, Echelon Place, All Net Arena (pictured, optimistically, below) and the SkyVue Observation Wheel.
It’s one thing to stick a shovel in dirt and another to line up the millions and often billions needed to finance Las Vegas projects.
We treat everything like it’s a lie until proven otherwise. It’s not quite as fun that way, but it helps avoid crushing disappointment down the road. Note: This can also be a useful tactic when navigating Match.com.
Las Vegas Lie #7: Your comped drink is made with the liquor you ordered.
It’s one of the best things about Las Vegas, isn’t it? Play your favorite game of chance and get your favorite liquor, free!
Not so fast, dreamer of dreams.
The fact is you’re not getting the liquor brand you ordered. The casino is swapping your call drink for a cheap knock-off, and they’ll rarely, if ever, admit they’re doing it. Read more.
Don’t believe it? Next time you order your favorite cocktail while you’re playing video poker at a casino bar, watch the bartender make your drink. Unless the liquor comes from a bottle, you’re getting rot-gut. If you’re at a table or slot machine on the casino floor, you’re truly screwed.
If you ask your cocktail waitress whether you’re getting the specific brand of liquor you ordered, she’ll nod. Same thing with your bartender. Or even a manager. Sadly, everyone’s in on this Las Vegas lie.
Casinos think they have the right to swap your liquor brand for comped drinks, possibly in violation of Nevada state liquor laws (NRS 597.260).
When you’re in a Las Vegas casino, watch every single pour, and if you want to be sure you’re consuming the liquor brand you ordered, pay for your drink. Even then, though, you might get something other than what you ordered. (We’re looking at you, V Bar at Venetian. Jerks.)
Las Vegas Lie #8: Las Vegas entertainers look just like their publicity photos.
Oh, Vegas. Of all the sins in Sin City, awful Photoshop jobs of Las Vegas performers are perhaps the most excruciating.
Skillfully retouched photos of Las Vegas performers are almost impossible to come by. From posters to cab toppers to magazine covers and Web sites, there’s a non-stop cavalcade of WTF foisted on Las Vegas visitors.
Apparently, Las Vegas advertisers think we’re too stupid to realize Marie Osmond is no longer 14 years old, or that Carrot Top may not have a flawless complexion. See more.
Enough, already! You only get to use Photoshop when you realize great power comes with great responsibility.
Las Vegas Lie #9: Taxi drivers take the quickest route possible.
This Las Vegas lie has gotten so much buzz, most people know it’s a lie, but visitors (many of whom are first-timers to the city) keep getting burned.
The term is “long-hauling.” It’s when taxi drivers take customers a longer route than necessary, boosting the cost of the fare. Be prepared by knowing the best route before you ever set foot into a cab.
Oh, and while we’re on the subject, another great Las Vegas lie told by cabbies and the cab industry is, “We’re against Uber because we’re concerned for the safety of the public.” If you believe that, we’ve got a lovely bridge at New York-New York to sell you.
Las Vegas Lie #10: Casinos are just like other businesses.
Casinos would like you to think they’re just like any other business. Ultimately, though, casinos thrive because they treat each customer as someone who won’t stop gambling until their money is depleted. Exhausted. Extinct.
Each aspect of a casino, from maze-like interiors to mesmerizing slot machines, are designed to make players lose track of time (no clocks, no windows), get comfortable (ergonomic chairs), play longer (screen brightness and pixel counts help avoid eye fatigue, sounds disguise losses as wins) and spend more (bill acceptors make it easy to forget how much we’re spending).
There’s a cost, of course: It’s estimated 30-60% of total gambling revenue is derived from problem gamblers.
Can you have fun in a casino knowing those things? Sure. Just see through the lie of casinos being “committed to responsible gaming.” It’s lip service. They’re committed to extracting money from our bank accounts, and they’re really good at it.
Las Vegas Lie #11: What happens here, stays here.
It’s not just a catchy slogan, it’s a promise.
Shockingly, 66% of Las Vegas visitors in a recent poll (taken by this very Las Vegas blog, as a matter of fact) believe that famous tourism tagline is true.
Come on! Seriously? Exactly nothing that happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, social media has made sure of that.
Beyond everyone on the planet having a smartphone with a camera, there are credit card receipts, security cameras, browser histories, the list goes on and on.
The “what happens here, stays here” mentality is a romantic one if you’re looking to misbehave in Sin City, but realize the reality is that your lapses in judgement are likely to live in perpetuity on the Internet and beyond. Just ask Prince Harry.
Can you think of other Las Vegas lies? We’d love to hear them.