Las Vegas Casinos Hall of Shame
Last update: July 2021
Venetian Casino: Misleading players about the odds
On a European roulette wheel, there are 18 black slots, 18 red slots, and a green slot labeled "0". American roulette wheels add a second green slot, "00", which makes the odds twice as worse for the player. Then in 2016, the Venetian introduced roulette with a third green slot, making it three times as bad a single-zero roulette. Within a few years, that variant had spread prodigiously throughout Vegas.
But pioneering a game with horrible odds isn't what gets Venetian into the Hall of Shame. What gets them into the Hall of Shame is spinning it as though it's a benefit to the player. Its website says, "We also offer an exciting new version, Sands Roulette, where an additional betting option is added."
Another casino, Four Queens, posted a video about its triple-zero roulette, saying that it "improves your chances", which is outright false. However, following player complaints (including from our favorite watchdog, Vital Vegas), Four Queens removed the video and issued the appropriate mea culpa: "Thank you for taking the time to let us know about the poor wording choice. We were hoping to get the word out about offering a game that other people in town are providing but did not present it wisely. We appreciate all of the passionate people who made us aware."
So, Four Queens avoids getting the same Hall of Fame fate as Venetian. (See how easy that was, Venetian?)
Given Venetian's action, it won't be surprising that they're anti-player in other ways. In the Wizard of Odds' survey of slot paybacks at Vegas casinos, Venetian was dead last on the list. (The airport actually ranked worse, but it's not a casino.) Also, in 2011 the Venetian ended free room and meal comps for all but the high rollers. So far as I know, it's the only casino in Vegas that's being that stingy.
How Venetian can get out of the Hall of Shame:
Remove the B.S. wording from its website and issue an appropriate
retraction, like Four Queens did. July
Fremont Casino: Manhandling and detaining an innocent customer
According to the complaint by the Gaming Board, here's what happened: A woman playing slots at Fremont (let's call her Karen) left her machine and another woman (Angel) sat down to play. Karen told security that she had accidentally left $202 in credits on her machine and that Angel was playing them. So, security goes up to Angel, grabs her by the neck, handcuffs her, and hauls her into the back room. She professes her innocence for 90 minutes while security staff alternately ignore and berate her. Security won't let her go until they extort $202 from her, which is then given to Karen. Later, security footage shows Karen cashing a $202 slot ticket she had in her pocket. The record in the slot machine showed that Karen had indeed cashed her machine out. As a result of this screwup, Fremont was hit with a $300,000 fine.
I can easily believe this. I've been to every casino on the strip and downtown, and I've never encountered ruder staff than at Fremont.
Is it fair for me to blame the casino itself for the actions of some rogue employees? It is when the casino refuses to own up to its mistakes. Then it's not just the security staff which is culpable, it's Fremont itself. If Fremont had admitted its error and made a public apology (especially with an explanation about how they're going to avoid making the same mistakes again), they could have avoided getting into the Hall of Shame. But they didn't, so here they are.
Before adding Fremont to the Hall of Shame, I wrote to them asking for a statement, but they ignored me. Typical.
How Fremont can get out of the Hall of Shame: Make a public apology and explain what specific steps it will take to make sure this doesn't happen again.Sept. 29, 2020
The Sahara hotel & casino, run by dickheads.
Photo credit: Sahara press release
Sahara Casino: Suing a local blogger
The Sahara Casino becomes the inaugural member of our Hall of Shame for baselessly suing a beloved local blogger. Scott Roeben runs the popular, funny, and fantastic blog "Vital Vegas", in which he gives you the scoop on what's happening in Vegas as only a true insider can. But when Roeben published a rumor that the Sahara might be closing soon, the dickheads at the Sahara actually, literally sued him.
The Sahara can't win their lawsuit, and they know it. They can't win because it's not libel to publish a rumor that you identify as a rumor. But even though Roeben will prevail, he's still gonna incur big legal costs to do so. Sahara sued him for a relatively small amount ($15,000), probably figuring that he'd have to pay more than that to lawyers to defend the suit, so he would just settle. Too bad for them, because Roeben says he's not backing down, a move we applaud.
We should note that Roeben's batting average is excellent. If he publishes a rumor, that means there's a basis for it and/or the source is solid, and more often than not the rumor proves to be true.
This lawsuit hits close to home for me. After all, like Roeben, I publish a website that shares info about Vegas and which is free to readers. Frivolous lawsuits could make it impossible for me to do that. So, if you enjoy reading websites like Easy Vegas and Vital Vegas, for free, then please think twice before you stay at the Sahara or spend any money there.Aug. 18, 2020
Excerpts from the Vital Vegas article (before it was removed),
emphasis ours: “This startling rumor is unconfirmed...The
rumor of a potential closure is all the more
shocking...Again, Sahara's closure has not been announced
or confirmed...Sahara has become one of our favorite
casinos in Las Vegas...We have been rooting for Sahara.”
Update, 10/20/20: As predicted, Roeben won, Sahara lost.
How Sahara can get out of the Hall of Shame: Make a public apology and promise not to file any more frivolous lawsuits against small web publishers.