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The Bear Growls

By LVBear


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

The Bear Growls: Incompetent casino management destroying downtown Las Vegas
I rarely venture downtown anymore. I used to be a fan of downtown, but not any longer. The current crop of folks running the downtown casinos seem to want to deliberately destroy what is left of downtown. I recently paid a visit while taking care of some other business. I hoped to see some improvement. I was disappointed.

The Navegante Group that has taken over Plaza and Vegas Club has succeeded in chasing off most anyone who bets more than a few red chips. Vegas Club pit personnel in particular seem to delight in chasing patrons away, even ones who play poorly. The table maxes on some carnival games at Plaza and Vegas Club have been lowered to $25 – what a joke!

Golden Gate has no playable blackjack. Golden Nugget only has a few tables that are anything but garbage games, and management is openly hostile to anyone betting reasonable stakes except for the absolute stupidest players. Binion’s is perhaps the worst, with almost wall-to-wall garbage games and rude staff. The others have the lousy table game lineups they’ve always had -- not worth walking across the street to play.

Every year, downtown’s gaming win decreases. One would think that the managements would eventually realize that offering worse and worse table games is not the answer. The only thing downtown has to offer is better value for its patrons than the mostly rip-off places on the Strip and the locals casinos around town. It appears obvious that the casino managers should try to capitalize on that one marketing capability. But they have not. Instead, as their games get worse and worse, fewer and fewer people go downtown. It’s truly a shame.

Girls of Glitter Gulch is closed, supposedly for remodeling. I wonder if it’ll ever reopen.

The condos being built at Las Vegas Blvd. and Ogden are progressing. But I wonder who will pay ridiculous prices for the privilege of living at the edge of the dangerous slums just east of it. A new nightclub has opened between Las Vegas Blvd. and the El Cortez, so maybe it’ll breathe a little life into the area, between the expected nightclub-related stabbings, shootings, and drunken/drug-addled brawls.

It'll be a long time before I visit downtown again.


The Bear Growls:  U.S. government's  witch hunt

I have often growled at government arrogance, hypocrisy, incompetence and stupidity.  But this time, the U.S. government's witch hunt against online casino operators has gone way over the top.  Harassing payment processors like Neteller has resulted in millions of dollars of U.S. citizens' money being "frozen" and possibly lost forever.  If its actions weren't so frightening and terrible, this "crackdown" on online gaming would make the U.S. government a laughingstock for its stupidity. It is good that other nations are now contemplating stepping up and taking action against the U.S. government for these flagrant abuses of power.  

Who is backing the U.S. government’s disgusting and sickening actions?  Why is all this being done?  Is it just plain stupidity or outright corruption?  Is the domestic casino industry (large political contributors) behind all this in order to cripple competition so it can take over the online sector in the future?  I hope we eventually find out the real answers behind this irresponsible abuse of government power, and the perpetrators and backers of this absurdity get what they deserve.


The Bear Growls:  Boyd Gaming expands garbage "blackjack" in Las Vegas
Michael Gaughan, the former operator of Coast Casinos, is well known for having paranoid casino managers and absolute intolerance of players with any skill whatsoever.  But to his credit, he did not rip off the gullible public with garbage variations of blackjack.  Though Coast’s blackjack rules weren’t the greatest, at least the games offered were normal double deck and six-deck games.

Coast merged with Boyd Gaming. Subsequently, Mr. Gaughan left Boyd Gaming. He is now independently operating the South Point casino (formerly South Coast).  Shortly after Mr. Gaughan's departure, Boyd brought garbage games to former Coast properties Gold Coast, Orleans and Suncoast. Orleans now has a 6 to 5 single deck with a cut card, a garbage game made even worse by the cut card effect -- a truly sickening rip-off. Also now wasting space there and at Gold Coast are double deck Superfun games. Suncoast’s offerings now include a disgusting six-deck Superfun game.   Shame on Boyd Gaming.

NOTE:  Boyd Gaming spokesman Rob Stillwell did not respond to a request for comments.


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