las vegas airport gambling

My Five Gripes About Las Vegas

I've always defended Las Vegas. Yeah, it's a city of gross extravagance and people probably shouldn't gamble and drink to excess in the desert heat, but hey, it's one of those iconic American places that I just love the idea of. I've usually had fun there and, after all, it's America's playground. Don't mess with tradition, I say!

But this last time in Las Vegas some things really irked me. I don’t know if I’m just getting older and less tolerant, or if these things bother anyone else as much as they do me.

1. Smoking indoors

It's 2013 so why are Las Vegas's casinos so callous about the health of their patrons and dealers? I was horrified to find people puffing away on the casino floors and refused to gamble anywhere that wasn't smoke free. This is appalling. Walk through just about any casino and prepare to have burning eyes and polluted lungs. I sincerely hope the lawmakers in Nevada get their heads together on this and come up with some solutions. The worst thing I saw was a pregnant cocktail waitress trying to fight her way through the smoke and crowds to deliver drinks. Not healthy at all. This single reason alone will make me reduce or outright end my trips to Las Vegas. If Atlantic City can do it, why can’t LV?

Tip: Seek out clean-air friendly (well, friendlier) casinos. Our best experiences were at The Bellagio, which has non-smoking tables, and The Mirage, which just seems to cope with the smoke better. MGM Grand is pretty smoky inside but you can ask your dealer at any table to make it non-smoking if no one else sitting down objects. Have you found others? Let others know in the comments below.

las vegas airport gambling

2. Organization at the airport

When you get off the plane you head straight for baggage claim, right? That's what we did arriving in terminal C this time, but apparently the Las Vegas airport added a new terminal and didn't bother to add some signage to direct passengers arriving in that terminal to THEIR baggage claim. This was my fourth or fifth trip to Vegas and I always remember it being the easiest airport to arrive to and depart from. Not any more. We followed the signs to baggage claim. Hmmm...since when does McCarran airport have a train? On arrival we realized that our carousel number 19 was back where we came from. We felt stupid about this until the shuttle driver informed us that this happens ALL the time. We listened to horror stories about families struggling at the airport because they were either lost or not able to be dropped off in a convenient spot by the free shuttle. Get it together Las Vegas! You are a tourist destination.

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Tip: Pay attention at the airport. If you arrive in terminal C, that is where your baggage will be. Don't get on the train.

3. Clueless people

Picture it: you’re on a roll winning at blackjack when two women sidle up to your table and sit down. They pull out their money and you think you’re getting some company at the table. Then the questions begin. Is this blackjack switch? Oh, it isn’t? Well, where are those tables? How many tables do they have here? The conversation continues for a good ten minutes while your dealer is distracted by them, intermittently stopping to offer directions. The pit boss comes over, you think to stop this madness, but he just joins in. Finally, one of them leaves. They aren’t playing. The other one lights up a cigarette and decides to have a little break and watch you, a smoke-free enthusiast, lose for a little while. Because the streak ended when they sat down. True story. I don’t know who is more clueless here, the women or the pit boss who should have taken control of the situation and freed up the dealer to do her job. The information desk is next to the cashier.

Parents: get your five year old and his gigantic Shamu floaty off the casino floor. What is he doing wet, barefoot and yelling next to me as I lose money in the slot machines? That seat is not for him to lean against and, I might add, he’s not benefiting at all from the chain-smoker exhaling in his face or the drunk about to spill a gin and tonic on his head. I stay out of the resort pool so the children have room to do cannonballs and play Marco Polo all day, so why can’t you give me the same respect. Even worse, where is the guard whose job it is to make you take your kids out of the casino?

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Tip: I still haven't learned how to deal with obnoxious strangers, but if it's in my power or they are really bothering me, I tell them what's what. We shooed that smoking woman away from the table when we saw she wasn't going to play. Just watch out for the angry drunks - it's not worth it to get in a fight. In that situation, just move on as there are plenty of other places to play in Vegas.

vegas strip crowds

4. Strip transportation

Beware staying out late and far from your hotel into the wee hours of the morning on the Strip. You could easily be stranded or have to wait an hour in line for a taxi, especially on the weekends. There are a few public transportation options on The Strip, including the monorail and some limited free trains and trams between select casinos. But this isn't always an efficient way to get around, especially in the heat or if you find yourself too drunk to navigate. Add in the often standstill traffic on The Strip and you can find yourself so frustrated by the process you might just wander back into the casino and keep gambling until the sun comes up. Maybe that's their plan?

Tip: If you don't want to deal with this, pre-arrange a car service to collect you at the end of the night. Or try going out close to your accommodation on busy nights like Friday and Saturday. Or just embrace it and pull an all-nighter. After all, you're in Las Vegas. Just don't get so drunk that you can't safely handle yourself.

kardashian store


5. Rude or incompetent dealers

So many dealers are really friendly and entertaining that I hate to complain about them. But what about the sour ones who emit no personality, are downright gruff and rude or worse, the ones who routinely miscount or forget to pay out bets. This happened to us at one of the new casinos where a roulette operator kept forgetting to pay some of the bets. It really sucks when you're on a good table and encounter someone like that because then you really have to pay attention to his every move. And you don't want to be the jerk who reports someone. I also have a gripe with the dealers who talk too much. I don't mind a bit of banter but we had one lady start telling us her life story while we were playing roulette and we didn't know how to handle her questions. One word answers weren't giving her the hint so we suffered for a little while before moving on. That shouldn't be the player's burden.

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Tip: When you're sussing out a table, evaluate the dealer too. If someone is really out of line, ask the pit boss to make a change. It's your money.

What don't you like about Las Vegas?


  1. Byron Copeland 24 December, 2013 at 14:30 Reply

    Great post but some things to think about. Las Vegas is financially doing a lot better then Atlantic City partly because of less regulations like smoking in Casinos. I grew up in Michigan and when Casino Windsor banned smoking in the casino their revenue dropped %40. Some places this works but unless it became a casino wide rule i don’t see it happening.

  2. Elle-Rose Williams 17 August, 2013 at 17:21 Reply

    I loved Las Vegas, but I could not agree more about the whole smoking indoors thing. I found it a bit odd to be honest – especially after coming from the UK. It was the same in the Marina Bay Sands Casino in Singapore, when we accidentally took a seat and committed to a table next to a very heavy smoker. Makes me so thankful when I get back to the UK though! x

    • inspiringtravellers 19 August, 2013 at 19:22

      Seems to be trickling back into Atlantic City as well. We were just there today and noticed smoke on two of the gaming floors. I don’t think it will ever stick in Vegas, sadly…

  3. Ali 28 July, 2013 at 05:05 Reply

    Yeah, the smoking is terrible. I don’t really understand why/how it’s still legal for people to smoke inside the casinos. I once had a connecting flight in Vegas, and the first flight landed on one side, the next flight was on the other side. Which meant I had to take the train, exit security and go back through security. And it was a VERY tight connection, like 25 minutes or something insane. It should really be set up so you don’t have to go through security again.

    • inspiringtravellers 28 July, 2013 at 10:17

      Oh that’s awful! The airport situation is definitely bad. We talked to one person who said the woman in charge of transportation just won’t fix it. He asked me to write a letter, haha

  4. Freya 27 July, 2013 at 04:38 Reply

    I have only been to Vegas once and once was probably enough. I’m really glad I went cause I think everybody just go at least once in their life but I do not think I would return.

  5. Sherry 25 July, 2013 at 18:08 Reply

    I hate the heat; especially the really, really uncomfortable heat. But thankfully, air conditioning is abundant all over town. What I dislike the most are the obnoxious people who go there thinking it’s okay to act uncivilized, just because they are in Vegas. They drive me nuts! What happens in Vegas, rarely stays there.

    • inspiringtravellers 26 July, 2013 at 10:35

      Yes, unfortunately Vegas attracts all kinds of people. I always feel like I’m in a human gym when I go there…

  6. Heather 25 July, 2013 at 11:25 Reply

    I can just imagine the expression on the smoking lady’s face as you shooed her away from the table. It’s probably similar to the looks I get in China when I chastise people for trying to cut in line :-)

    • inspiringtravellers 26 July, 2013 at 10:34

      She was as taken aback as we were that she would sit there and smoke without playing…too bad!

  7. Sophie 25 July, 2013 at 07:06 Reply

    My only time in Las Vegas, I got lost when walking from a theatre back to my hotel and ended up walking along the Strip. I was probably the only one out walking and half the cars passing must have taken me for a lady of the night. They stopped and tried to chat and most were rude and intimidating. Bit scary that.

    • inspiringtravellers 25 July, 2013 at 07:39

      Oooh – not a nice experience! If I had a sixth gripe, it would be the guys who stand along the Strip flipping cards for escorts at the men who walk by. Especially insulting if you’re walking with your husband and the guys lean over and flip the cards right into both of your faces. Such a nuisance on the street – I can’t believe they allow it.

  8. Rachel 24 July, 2013 at 08:52 Reply

    I visited Vegas a couple of weeks ago for the first time, and LOVED it, which was unexpected. It was so ridiculous, and that’s what makes it so special. Everything you thought had died in the nineties is alive and thriving in Vegas.
    However, women are objectified to extreme levels there, and that made me sad. It would be nice if that was toned down a little.

  9. Jennifer 24 July, 2013 at 04:34 Reply

    Casinos were the bain of my Las Vegas existence. I moved to Vegas to go to college (Go Rebels!), so of course I wasn’t old enough to gamble. My parents would visit and my mom would spend hours playing the slots while I stood around entirely bored out of my mind. By the time I turned 21 in Vegas, I wanted nothing to do with gambling. I also worked in Caesar’s Palace in the Forum Shops. The store I worked at was right near the entrance where there are still a few slot machines spilling INTO the Forum Shops. I heard dinging in my sleep for years to come after that.

    • inspiringtravellers 24 July, 2013 at 17:53

      Oh no – I can only imagine…I didn’t even think about the sound of the slots for people working in the casinos – ick!

  10. Cathy Sweeney 23 July, 2013 at 14:32 Reply

    Your clueless people story about the women and the pit boss doesn’t reflect well at all on that casino. Which one? :) Don’t get me started on clueless parents! The smoking inside really can be bad. At the moment, I can’t think of other clean air friendly casinos to recommend but I’ll throw in a good word for a non-smoking hotel — Vdara (they don’t have a casino but are close to others, so kind of nice).

    • inspiringtravellers 24 July, 2013 at 17:55

      It was at The Bellagio believe it or not…one of my favorite places to gamble usually.

      The poker rooms are your safest bet for smoke-free…

  11. Dana 23 July, 2013 at 13:48 Reply

    The smoking is the biggest thing for me. I don’t smoke, so, obviously, its a nuisance to me, but it usually isn’t terribly hard for me to find somewhere to gamble where they are not smoking. It also seems to help if you play poker. I rarely play table games or slots and I can’t remember the last time I saw someone smoking at the poker table…

    • inspiringtravellers 23 July, 2013 at 13:54

      Ah! Great point, Dana – I completely forgot to mention this and totally meant to. Pretty much all the poker rooms in Vegas are smoke-free. John plays poker and had a lovely time in the rooms. You can often play for as little as $1 blinds.

  12. Jay 22 July, 2013 at 05:07 Reply

    I haven’t been to Vegas – I’m sure I’ll get there eventually (even if only for good food & shows) but it currently sounds like my own personal version of hell. Crowds of tacky tourists, massive hotels and a bunch of drunks in am overdeveloped desert… meh. I’d take practically anywhere else over it. But, that being said, it’s something to experience and I have to reserve my final verdict until I’ve seen it for myself 😉

    • inspiringtravellers 23 July, 2013 at 13:54

      I think it’s a must-visit once…but agree that there are lots of other places that can be more appealing…

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