Category Archives: Slot Machines

Mermaids Casino Will Give Away Thousands in Progressive Jackpots Before It Closes

Casino closings can often be sad things. There’s always a bright spot, though. When they close, casinos are obligated to give away any outstanding progressive jackpots, and that’s what Mermaids will do before it closes June 27, 2016.

Mermaids Las Vegas

Silver Palace opened on the Mermaids site in 1956. Later, it was Carousel, Gamblers Hall of Fame, Sundance West and Sassy Sally’s. Whew. We’re going to need a minute to catch our breath, thanks.

Mermaids, of course, is one of three downtown establishments closing on June 27.
Mermaids, La Bayou and the Glitter Gulch strip club were sold to Derek and Greg Stevens
for an amount we estimate to be “a metric hell-ton more than we have in our bank
account, or ever will, unless we are adopted by Derek and Greg Stevens.”

Mermaids and Glitter Gulch will be integrated into a new resort (being informally referred to as 18 Fremont) that will include the site of the closed Las Vegas Club.

Don’t freak out, the iconic Vegas Vickie sign above Glitter Gulch will be featured in the new hotel-casino.

Vegas Vickie

Sorry, she’s taken. She married Vegas Vic in 1994. No, really.

Nevada gaming regulations require a casino to distribute any outstanding progressive
jackpots prior to removing slot machines from its floor. Jackpots can be transferred to other machines, but if a casino is closing, they have to give the money away.

Remember the Lion’s Share slot machine at MGM Grand? That’s a well-known example of a
jackpot on an obsolete machine that had to either be transferred to another machine or paid out. Part of the lore around that machine had to do with the misconception that particular machine had to pay before it could be removed or retired. That wasn’t the case, but it made for a great marketing device. Good times.

It should be mentioned the rules about giving away progressive jackpots only apply to
slot machines the casino owns, by the way. “Networked” progressive machines owned by
game manufacturers, such as Wheel of Fortune or Megabucks, and are excluded from the
prize pool.

So, Mermaids has to give away its jackpots. That means tens of thousands of dollars are
up for grabs. La Bayou is giving away its jackpots, too, although the amounts are much smaller.

Mermaids

This blog’s usual “Helping You Win $10,000” fee applies, of course.

Here’s how the giveaway will work. Mermaids will have a “contest” from June 17 (9:00
a.m.) to June 25 (10:00 p.m.), 2016. During that time, players will qualify for entries
in the form of tickets.

On June 25, at 10:00 p.m., winners will be chosen and the money will be given to a few
lucky players.

Because progressive jackpots will continue to increase through the giveaway date,
there’s no way to know how much will be given away, but we can say there’s a Triple
Double Diamond machine with a jackpot of $11,118.01 and a Red, White & Blue machine
with a jackpot of $8,385.69

Mermaids jackpot

There’s nothing saying you couldn’t just straight-up win this progressive jackpot before Mermaids closes. Get on that.

To get an entry ticket, you can do any of the following: Hit a bonus playing a 90 coin
bet minimum, hit a jackpot of $100 or more, get a keno payout of $100 or more, hit any
video poker four of a kind paying $100 or more or hit any royal flush on video poker.

How will the prize pool be divided up? It’s complicated.

The first place winner will get 46% of the prize pool. Second place gets 28%, third
place gets 23% and fourth place gets 3%. Don’t kvetch, fourth place winner. It’s free
money.

Mermaids will also give away a 55-inch big screen TV. (Technically, that prize comes
from a Mermaids beer vendor, but let’s not quibble.)

As for the drawing, entrants must be present to win. If no one claims a given prize,
they’ll keep drawing until somebody claims their cash.

Mermaids

You weren’t the biggest casino in Vegas, Mermaids, but you certainly had some of the most convenient restrooms.

So, if you’re looking for an excuse to visit Mermaids before it closes, this could be
it.

We’ve heard lots of visitors are planning to swing by Mermaids one last time for a
deep-friend Oreo or Twinkie, the casino’s claim to fame. Go for it, thrillseekers!

Here’s what’s up at La Bayou, another slot joint across the street.

La Bayou Progressive

Come for the jackpot giveaway, stay for the weird stuff on the ceiling.

If you swing by Mermaids during its final countdown, you’re likely to be in good company. Many folks who rarely (or never) visit a given casino will do so when it’s closing.

The Riviera, for example, had a massive surge in guests and gambling in the final two months it was open. It’s been said the Riv’s last two months generated more casino play and profit than any two-month period in the 20 years prior to that!

Stop by Mermaids for its last hurrah—get some free beads, bid farewell to the deep-
friend eats and take a shot at winning the casino’s remaining progressive jackpots.

Let us know how it goes!

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Cosmopolitan Las Vegas Debuts Clique Bar & Lounge and High Limit Slot Lounge

Cosmopolitan Las Vegas has unveiled its newest offering, Clique Bar & Lounge, replacing its beloved (but unprofitable) Book & Stage.

We can confirm that this much-anticipated lounge is, in fact, a lounge.

Clique Bar & Lounge Cosmopolitan

“Clique. In any other city, it would knock your socks off. Here, it’s still pretty nice.”

Clique is a partnership between Cosmo and “hospitality impressario” Andy Masi.

“Impressario,” it turns out, is a fancy way of saying “manager.” It’s like saying “Voila!” rather than “There you go.”

Actually, Masi is a pretty big deal in the world of Las Vegas nightlife, and was formerly the CEO of The Light Group. Read more. Or just keep looking at our pictures. Because you’re awesome like that.

The official Web page of Clique describes it as “hip and swanky.” Sorry, “ultra hip.” Because who the hell wants to waste their time at a lounge that’s merely hip?

Clique Cosmopolitan

Yes, they’re asking us to capitalize the “q” in Clique. Request denied.

Clique is expected to have entertainment in the form of “musical stylings.” Look, we don’t make this up! Read the official Clique Web page.

It appears Clique was designed with austerity in mind. Remember, only recently did the Cosmopolitan report a profitable quarter, the first time since it opened in 2010.

Clique Bar & Lounge

“Look, we have three bars inside a giant chandelier at Cosmopolitan, so keep your underwhelm to yourself.”

Anyway, Clique Bar & Lounge officially opens Dec. 29, 2015. The real hoopla is expected to begin on New Year’s Eve.

A nice element of Clique will be that food will be served, specifically shareable plates. The menu is expected to include tacos, sliders, salads and other dishes from chef Brian Massie. That’s right, Brian Massie and Andy Masi. Homonyms for the win.

Clique lounge Cosmo

Clique is located in the center of the casino, next to the best-named casino shop in the history of shops, Vitals.

Chef Brian Massie has had a hand in a number of MGM Resorts restaurants, including Aureole at Mandalay Bay, Yellowtail and Fix at Bellagio, Stack at Mirage and Brand Steakhouse at Monte Carlo, among others.

Clique Las Vegas

During our visit, staffers were having a meeting, so we got to see the waitress uniforms. On fleek, as the kids say. We have no idea what the kids mean, but we’re pretty sure it’s a good thing.

A few feet away from Clique, the Cosmo has also opened a new high limit slot lounge, with 65 machines.

Unfortunately, no photos are allowed in the high limit lounge, so we are unable to share the one below, sorry.

Cosmopolitan high limit slots

This Las Vegas blog loves it some high limit slots. From 3-5 minutes, typically.

Here’s an exclusive look at Clique and the new high limit lounge, complete with royalty-free musical accompaniment.

The Cosmo is touting its “exclusive Fastpay technology” in its new high limit lounge, which allows players to “process jackpots right at the machine, without attendant assistance.” This system is likely to catch on, as it is touted as improving the experience by “freeing up more time for play.”

Cosmopolitan is getting serious about this whole “becoming profitable” thing.

Cosmo high limit

We’re liking this new carpeting. Unlike lots of casino carpeting, it doesn’t make us want to claw our eyes out with a players club card.

The new high limit lounge has a dedicated cage, TVs and private restrooms so high rollers don’t have to mingle with the commoners. Here’s more.

Cosmopolitan high limit room

Total security breach. Thanks for not sending us to photographer jail, Cosmo. We’re too pretty to go to jail.

Cosmopolitan still has a high limit salon for table games, and all the machines have been relocated to the new high limit lounge. The minimum bet at a blackjack table in the high limit salon? A hundred bucks. Hey, go big or go home.

Cosmopolitan high limit lounge

No, these decorative elements do not spin. Not that anyone would try to make them do that. Probably.

Just one more look at the things that don’t spin, but should.

Cosmopolitan high limit slots

High limit slots pay out more often than regular slots, and when they hit, they tend to hit big. In the words of our bankruptcy attorney, “What’s not to love?”

The new Clique Bar & Lounge at Cosmopolitan Las Vegas should be a good fit in the hotel’s mix of popular bars, and we look forward to trying some of the bar’s “artisanal cocktails,” assuming pouring Captain Morgan and diet Coke into a glass could be considered “artisanal.”

Let us know what you think of Clique and its adjacent high limit slot lounge, and keep the newness coming, Cosmo!

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“Showgirls” Slot Machine Does the Impossible and Not in a Good Way

The “Showgirls” slot machine has managed to do what we once thought impossible. It makes the “Showgirls” movie seem downright entertaining by comparison.

Showgirls slot machine

Love gambling? The “Showgirls” slot machine could put a stop to that right quick.

As you no doubt know, “Showgirls” was one of the worst movies of all time.

Nomi Malone (“actress” Elizabeth Berkley) hitches a ride to Las Vegas, performs at a strip club, gets arrested, gives a lap dance, quits the strip club, works a boat show, pushes someone down a flight of stairs, gets a dancing gig at the Stardust, gets blackmailed, beats up a guy and hitches a ride to L.A.

So, Shakespeare, but without the burden of bodices or comprehensible dialogue.

When “Showgirls” came out, it was rightly slammed. But over time, “Showgirls” gained a cult following thanks to it being “so-bad-it’s-good.”

Showgirls slot machine

Nothing says fun like road signs.

Maybe cult status phenomenon will happen with the “Showgirls” slot machine over time, too, but we’re thinking not, mainly because we’d rather watch “Showgirls” again while chewing shards of neon rather than play the machine even one more minute.

Here’s a look at the “Showgirls” slot machine game play. In case you’re suffering from insomnia or something.

The “Showgirls” slot machine is a huge missed opportunity. The slot maker, Australia’s Ainsworth Game Technology, could’ve rocked it by playing up the camp and cheese of the movie.

Instead, the game features unimaginative animation and generic clip art images that appear to have little or nothing to do with the movie upon which the game was presumably based.

Also missing from the “Showgirls” is anything even remotely sexy. So, yeah, that aspect is a lot like the movie.

Showgirls slot machine

“Showgirls” was universally panned, then made $100 million from video rentals. Suck it, good taste, common sense and the craft of screenwriting.

We played $40 on this penny machine and never hit a bonus of any kind. That’s not the best measurement of a slot machine, of course, but if you’re losing money while being bored out of your skull, that’s a measurement worth noting.

As we played, it became apparent the person who designed the “Showgirls” slot machine never saw the movie, and certainly has never had a lap dance in Las Vegas. Or been pushed down a flight of stairs. Which, we should say, would be a lot more fun than this slot machine.

Showgirls slot machine

Nomi Malone works at Cheetah’s strip club, get it?

If you’ve played the “Showgirls” slot machine, let us know what you think. Especially if you disagree with our assessment. That way, we’ll know who to not get a Christmas present.

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Five Great New Slots, Three Awful Ones and a Peek Into the Future of Casinos at Global Gaming Expo

This year’s Global Gaming Expo (G2E), a casino industry trade show, in Las Vegas seemed short on surprises and long on “same old, same old.”

Yes, new slots are getting bigger (see below), brighter and more clever (bet $2, win $1.25, still feels like you’re winning), but one can’t escape the feeling it’s more of the same, despite the decline in revenue generated from slot play.

Batman slot machine

The screen on the updated Batman slot is so massive, it caused us to feel disoriented and nauseated. We’ll stick to the current version, thanks.

Still, there were bright spots, and here are five new slots coming to a casino near you we can’t wait to play. Oh, and three that are mind-numbingly stupid, but don’t skip ahead.

1. The Simpsons

The new Simpsons video slot machine was easily the most popular at this year’s Global Gaming Expo. The show’s been on so long, there are generations of fans ready to try their luck.

Simpsons slot machine

“The Simpsons” has been on a staggering 27 seasons.

2. Caddyshack

“Caddyshack” holds a special place in the hearts of movie-goers, and now they can revisit the inspired lunacy of this 1980 classic. Bonus rounds based on your favorite scenes from the movie will bring back memories of a time when feature films actually had scripts.

Caddyshack slot machine

“There’s a force in the universe that makes things happen. And all you have to do is get in touch with it, stop thinking, let things happen, and hit the ‘Max Bet’ button.”

3. Breaking Bad

Any show that good has to make for a memorable slot machine. Clips from the AMC crime drama play while you build your drug empire.

Breaking Bad slot machine

For the record, ultra-pure meth would be clear or white, not blue. Then again, it’s a slot machine, not a chemistry test.

4. Ted

We’ve waited long enough for a slot machine based upon “Ted,” the story of a foul-mouthed Teddy bear brought to life. Game play involves lots of highlights from the film, including an appearance by Sam J. Jones, star of “Flash Gordon.”

Ted slot machine

We’re pretty sure this slot made its debut at last year’s G2E, but hey, it’s new to us.

5. Monty Python and The Holy Grail

In another blast from the past, it’s the “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” slot. From what we could tell, the twisted humor from “Holy Grail” translates nicely into the slot machine format, and the words “Killer Bunny” means the slot maker, IGT, didn’t shy away from the juicier bits.

Holy Grail slot machine

They used coconuts in the film because they couldn’t afford actual horses.

Oh, all right, one runner-up. The “Game of Thrones” was getting some pretty good buzz on the trade show floor, too.

Game of Thrones

We’re looking forward to playing the “Who the hell can keep all these plot lines straight?” bonus.

And now for the worst of the worst of the slot machines in display at the Global Gaming Expo. It’s all subjective, of course, but we just happen to be right most of the time, so fair warning.

1. Dumb and Dumber

The name of the slot sort of nails our feelings about this slot machine based upon the original “Dumb and Dumber” movie.

Dumb and Dumber slot

Same question we asked about the “Dumb and Dumber” sequel: “Why?”

2. Cher

Why are they thinking is the audience for a Cher-inspired slot machine? This game could be the best evidence yet that the slot machine industry is completely out of new ideas.

Cher slot machine

Cher made $60 million for her three-year residency at Caesars Palace.

3. TMZ

There’s a new slot machine based upon TMZ (the celebrity news TV show). And, no, this isn’t a joke we mocked up in Photoshop. If there could ever be a dumber idea for a slot machine than one actually called “Dumb and Dumber,” this would be that.

TMZ slot machine

Because the slot machine called “Bottom-Feeders” failed to impress focus groups.

Now, before we leave G2E, we should note the fact there was another bright spot. Specifically, the Gamblit Gaming booth.

Gamblit seems to be on the leading edge of the much-talked-about prospect of slot machines becoming more skill-based, interactive and social. In Las Vegas, Downtown Grand is among the first to partner with Gamblit Gaming, and new games should be appearing in Las Vegas casinos in early to mid-2016.

Gamblit

An oasis of what’s next at G2E.

Gamblit’s booth was bustling throughout our visit to G2E, and attendees seemed to find their games irresistible.

Most notable was Grab Poker. The game is played by four people on what amounts to a large touch screen.

Grab Poker

Get ready for a new addiction.

It’s a fast-paced game, and definitely skill-based. Players “grab” cards from the center of the console to build a poker hand. The winning hand wins the pot (less a commission for the casino, of course).

Unfortunately, no video was allowed, so we’re unable to show you the video we took, below.

Virtually all of the new interactive casino games had social media elements built into them, because social media is, to paraphrase Homer Simpson, the cause of and answer to all of life’s problems.

Whether such games are truly the future of casinos remains to be seen, but experts in the field of casino gambling feel it’s a direction worth exploring.

In the meantime, we’ll stick to our favorite slot machine, Top Dollar. You know, the one that’s interactive (you push buttons), has skill-based bonus rounds, and which we occasionally play with a friend, you know, socially.

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Mirage Las Vegas Tests Comped Drink Voucher System and Everything is Ruined

Seriously, Mirage, are you trying to make this blog’s head explode?

We recently sidled up to the Mirage’s Lobby Bar (yes, we’ve been known to sidle) and slipped $20 into a video poker machine. A very friendly bartender immediately took our order and comped our Captain and diet. (Yes, Captain Morgan from a bottle, not a gun. Long story.)

Mirage Lobby Bar

It’s actually called Lobby Bar. Because naming things is hard.

Here’s where things went exponentially south.

See, the Mirage is testing a new system for monitoring and dispensing comped drinks. Free drinks, of course, are one of the most hallowed of all Las Vegas casino traditions, despite recent trends where casinos swap out liquor brands without informing customers, but that’s a rant for a different time.

As with most casino bars, you’re comped your first drink at Mirage’s Lobby Bar, as long as you put at least $20 in the machine. After that, however, you have to earn your drinks, and the decision as to whether you’ve played enough to earn a comp is no longer in the hands of your bartender.

That’s right, your video poker machine decides when you deserve another drink. Not a person. Mirage now employs cocktail-deciding robots from Hell.

How often you earn a comp depends upon several factors. The denomination you’re playing is a key factor. We played quarters, but a higher denomination game spits out drink vouchers more frequently, allegedly.

Mirage Vegas comp drink voucher

“We gave our lives for this abomination?” ~Trees

Also, your length of play is part of the comped drink calculation. Take any kind of break while you’re playing (to Tweet or converse with a friend) and your comp is delayed further.

Brace yourself.

After our first free drink, we played more than an hour (one hour and five minutes, to be exact, with a couple of five minute breaks in play) before we got a voucher for another comped drink. In other words, an eternity in drinking years.

Yes, this happened in Las Vegas. The one in America.

It’s worth noting your drink voucher is valid for 24 hours from the time it’s issued. Big, meet whoop.

Not surprisingly, this new system is universally loathed, not just by customers, but also by bartenders.

Imagine being a Vegas bartender faced with customers who are gambling (holding up their end of the player-casino bargain), and you can’t serve a drink because a machine hasn’t deemed your customer worthy of one. Let the disgruntlement begin, assuming that’s an actual word.

Now, granted, most casinos have standing policies about how much you need to play to get comped drinks.

Bartenders know how much you’re playing, and they have some discretion as to when your next comped drink is allowed. Not at the Lobby Bar at Mirage. And it’s just a matter of time before this virus infects other casino bars, mark our words.

The drink voucher system at Mirage, if allowed to expand to other Mirage casino bars, or other resorts in the MGM Resorts family, is the beginning of the end of comped cocktails in Las Vegas as we know them.

Now, the good news! The video poker machines at the Mirage Lobby Bar are flipping loose. While waiting the hour for our second cocktail, we nailed two four-of-a-kinds and won more than $200. Suck it, The Man.

Video poker four aces

Mojo is the best revenge.

This comped drink voucher system has flown under the radar in Las Vegas, and we can only hope it goes the way of other short-lived, ill-considered penny-pinching strategies.

As with any misguided Las Vegas experiments, the best way to make sure it dies is to vote with your dollars. Ask your bartender if they’re on the voucher system, and if so, take your business somewhere else. You deserve better for your gambling spend.

Update (1/25/16): If you loathe the voucher system at Mirage, your brain’s going to explode when you see the Red Light, Green Light comp drink system at Caesars Palace.

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Riviera Slot Machines Get Second Life at The D Las Vegas as Vintage Vegas Floor Goes Ticket-In, Ticket Out

If you’re missing the now-closed Riviera, you’re in luck. The D Las Vegas has integrated dozens of Riviera slot machines into its Vintage Vegas floor, while phasing out its coin machines.

The D Las Vegas

The Vintage Vegas floor at The D is also the Vue Bar floor, or as we like to call it, our home away from home.

Ever since The D purchased more than 850 Riviera slot machines back in June, the downtown casino (formerly Fitzgerald’s) has been swapping out 15-20 per week with existing machines on its second floor, a floor devoted to classic machines.

Now, the only coin-operated slot machine at The D is the popular Sigma Derby.

Sigma Derby

When you play Sigma Derby, you don’t just win money, you win lifelong friends. Which we should totally trademark.

The move to TITO (ticket-in, ticket-out) means The D’s second floor cage will be dismantled, and coin redemption from Sigma Derby will be handled in the casino’s main cage, downstairs.

The D Las Vegas

It’s curtains for The D’s second floor cage.

The integration of the Riviera’s machines means a greater variety of games for players, and far fewer headaches for The D.

There’s a long list of reasons most Las Vegas casinos don’t offer coin-operated machines. Some of the reasons are obvious, others are a little more technical.

The owner of The D Las Vegas, Derek Stevens, says, “The games from the Riv had some advantages over the machines we previously had on the second floor. For example, many of the games at The D previously wouldn’t accept the new $5 or $20 bill. There wasn’t any ability to fix this problem, as the bill validator manufacturer for those machines had long since gone out of business, and those slot machines couldn’t run without that specific type of bill validator. It forced us to keep ‘old’ bills in our cages and slot techs with wallets of old bills to swap out for new bills from customers.”

The technical term in casino parlance is “huge pain in the ass.”

The D

We have personally found those Wheel of Fortune machines on the right to be very loose. Especially after a couple of cocktails.

Stevens comments, “I decided to keep the Vintage Vegas theme, but just change the games out so all the games have TITO and bill validators that not only work but also have the ability to detect counterfeits, something that has become epidemic over the last 3-4 months. In some cases, we replaced old machines with older machines, but with the necessary TITO and bill validators.”

It goes without saying the cost of maintaining a coin-operated slot floor is far more expensive than having non-coin machines. Although we just said it, so perhaps it doesn’t go without saying after all.

While there’s a certain charm to grime-covered hands and the “clink” of coins falling into a “hopper,” it can get old. There are still a few spots in Las Vegas where you can play coins, but the demand for such machines is fading fast.

Derek Stevens says he’s seen the demand for coin-operated slots dwindling, especially within the last five years.

The D Las Vegas

“We don’t need your validation!” scream the bills. Um, wrong.

Overall, about 200 slot machines from the Riviera have been placed on the casino floor at The D and its sister casino, Golden Gate.

The second floor of The D is a great place to get intimate with the history of Las Vegas. If your hands are feeling too clean, bust open some rolls of quarters and bet on your favorite Sigma Derby horse. Otherwise, give a former Riviera slot machine a try.

And before you do any of that, rub the casino’s Blarney Stone. Long story.

Full disclosure: The D Las Vegas is a member of the Fremont Street Experience family of casinos. We work at Fremont Street Experience. Our opinions remain our own.

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