Sin City Review: The worst casinos in Las Vegas

coversadvegas06012016

Everyone knows luxurious Vegas. You know about the Bellagio. You know about Palazzo. You’ve got Wynn on your radar. Chances are, when you look for rooms in Vegas, you look for 4 or 5-star properties. And if you don’t want to spend too much, you settle for big names like Paris, Caesars, or New York, New York.

There’s usually no shortage of places to stay at in Vegas, even on a day where gambling is at an all-time high and convention floors are packed. But if you’re the type of player who wants to save money on a room so you can gamble more, you may be tempted to look for a less popular or lower priced room.

While that’s not necessary a bad approach, there are some hotel and casinos that you should just avoid. We’ve got our picks for the worst casinos in Las Vegas, so consider yourself warned.

Eureka Casino

eureka06012016From the outside, Eureka Casino looks more like a strip mall Bingo parlor than a Las Vegas Casino. And while we’d suggest you should never judge a book by its cover, it’s OK to judge away when it comes to Eureka.

First off, if you’re a fan of table games, you’re out of luck at Eureka. You’ll only find slots here, plus a large bar in the back. And recent travelers report that the place is really smoky, which is OK if you’re a heavy smoker but not so much if you prefer some clean air.

Eureka tends to be a casino that locals go too, especially those who don’t really want to deal with the tourist trap that is the strip. Of course, if you’re headed to Sin City, you might be craving a tourist trap.

Excalibur Casino

excalibur06012016The walls have a layer of dust and grime on them so thick that it looks like a microbiology experiment.” This is an exact quote from a recent review of Excalibur Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. The casino opened its doors in 1990, and while that might not seem like that long ago, in the hotel and casino world, it definitely is.

The casino is modeled after King Arthur’s Court, so one might expect a bit of fun and opulence. But with so many non-themed opulent hotels on the strip, it just seems like a cartoon, dumbed down version of luxury.

What’s more, recent travelers report being approached over and over again by people trying to sell something. If being bombarded on your vacation sounds annoying, try another property.

Flamingo Casino Las Vegas

flamingo06012016When you think old Vegas, you think Flamingo. And while retro Vegas is always fun (who doesn’t want to feel like they’re one of the Rat Pack?), when old means dilapidated, you probably want to stay away. Frequent travelers and even occasional visitors report that the Flamingo is in such bad shape, people needed to be rescued from the elevators by the fire department. And when the elevators do work, they’re super slow.

In terms of actual casino gaming, it’s known to be on the small side as far as Las Vegas casinos go. However, if you’re not interested in feeling lost in the crowd, that’s something you might actually enjoy.

Trump International Hotel Las Vegas

trump06012016If you’re thinking that staying at a hotel in Las Vegas that bears the Trump name means you might actually get to see Donald Trump, you’d be right. During a stay in December, one reviewer noted that Trump was on site. While this might on the surface excite some people (after all, meeting the front-runner for the leader of the Republican Party is pretty cool no matter which side of the political spectrum you happen to fall), Trump’s presence on the property ended up inconveniencing some guests. One reviewer noted that they were stuck in the middle of the driveway for 45 minutes because cars were not permitted to drive while Donald Trump was arriving to the property.

While Trump definitely has some merits, fans of pure casino gambling should leave this off their list. Trump International Hotel Las Vegas doesn’t actually have a casino on the property, so you’ll need to cross the street and check out a different hotel if you want to play.

Mardi Gras Hotel & Casino

mardigras06012016If you think “New Orleans” when you hear about Mardi Gras Hotel & Casino, think again. This hotel and casino property looks more like a cheap Niagara Falls motel (the ones near the adult gentlemen clubs) than a Vegas landmark. That’s expected, though. Mardi Gras Hotel & Casino is about a mile off the strip.

The rooms are nice if you happened to travel to the future from 1982. This isn’t from a Yelp review for the record. I’ve actually stayed there. The service is actually better than what I experienced at a higher-end property, but if you’re a fan of gambling, this isn’t the place. Mardi Gras has just 50 video poker, slots, and keno machines. No table games. Not much else.

Don’t take our word for it…
The thing about casino hotel reviews is that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. You might read a review about the glitziest, most glamorous casino in the world and be utterly disappointed. And you might listen to horror stories on the plane home from Vegas from people who stayed at the same hotel as you (and you had a wonderful time).

That’s why it’s important to read reviews for yourself before heading out to play at any casino or stay at just any hotel in Las Vegas. If casino gaming is important to you, the fanciest hotel in the world won’t mean a thing if they don’t actually have a casino or offer your favorite game.

Bottom line? Make a checklist of what’s important to you and those who are traveling with you before ponying up money for a reservation. It’ll be the smartest move you’ll ever make on your trip to Vegas (even smarter than avoiding that second trip to the buffet).

Colin Jones

Colin Jones is a born and raised Chicago writer specialized on topics related to the casino and gambling industry. Having years of experience on the field, Colin will keep you in touch with the latest news and advances on the casino industry.

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