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By LVBear

Las Vegas blackjack player, casino critic, and frequent contributor LVBear offers his opinions on things that sometimes go wrong in the world of casinos. He can be reached at

The Bear Growls:  Gaming Control Board comedy

In a new level of silliness, the Nevada Gaming Control Board continues to waste taxpayer money worrying about nightclubs, while casino employee crimes against skilled patrons go unchecked and unpunished by the Board -- business as usual. Absurdity:

Control Board Chairman Dennis Neilander said there wasn't any particular incident of late that caused the board to send the memorandum, but it was to serve as a reminder that gaming licensees need to be vigilant in preventing illegal activity.

What a ridiculous statement by the head of the agency that refuses to do its job and punish casinos for wrongdoing. I can't decide if Neilander is really as stupid as he sounds, or if he has a really good act.


The Bear Growls:  The demise of downtown Las Vegas

I used to enjoy downtown Las Vegas, but not any more. I haven't played there in quite awhile, and have no plans to go back in the foreseeable future. I used to send visiting tourists downtown because they could get more value for their money. Not any more.  I can't recommend it to anyone anymore.

The Golden Nugget is being "Stationized." Yes, the Nugget has chased off many players in the last few months, skilled and unskilled alike. It will soon have only some red chippers and low-denomination slot players left. Remember that the corporation that now owns it is headed by a member of the notorious Fertitta family of Station Casinos infamy. Its new double deck paying 6 to 5 is an insult, but is indicative of Station influence. Station has several ridiculous double-deck Superfun games.

Golden Nugget is being turned into just another cheap downtown grind joint. Its current management seems to be afraid of their own shadows.  Even its carnival games have been slowed to a crawl, thereby reducing casino profits, because of inept management..

Binion's, despite early post-Harrah's optimism, has been a major disappointment as well. It, too, apparently now wants to drive off anyone betting more than a few red chips. Idiotic bet spread rules have turned "good casino customers" into ex-customers of Binion's. Most of the other downtown casinos, because of their extreme sweat, bad rules and/or bad employee attitudes, have already lost all but the very low-end business.  It is truly sad to see.

Wake up, downtown casino owners, before it's too late.  A clean sweep is needed of the incompetent management teams presently in place at most of the stores.  Bring in some folks who are not afraid of customers who play more than a few red chips.  Offer some decent games again, and advertise that downtown games are better than the Strip.  Do something to motivate people to go downtown before it is too late.  As it stands now, downtown does not deserve patronage from anyone.

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