Reason I like Bovada #5:

Simple Bonuses

Many online casinos give you a big matching bonus when you sign up and make a deposit.  For example, deposit $100, get a $100 match bonus, so you have $200 to play with.  They also give smaller bonuses for subsequent deposits.

Of course there's a catch.  You can't just deposit $100 and then cash out for $200.  You have to do a lot of betting before cashing out the bonus.  Playthrough requirements vary from casino to casino (and bonus to bonus), so check the rules.

Here's what I like about Bovada's bonuses vs. the other guys'.

  1. Most games count.  At many casinos, play on the most popular games doesn't count towards the wagering requirement.  Sometimes the only thing that counts is slots.  At Bovada, everything counts except craps and live dealer games, though with anything but slots the playthrough requirement is higher (and clearly spelled out in the terms).
  2. The terms are right up front.  You don't have to hunt for them, the summary is right there on the bonus page, with a link to the nicely-formatted complete rules.

What I don't like:  Like many casinos, Bovada can cancel your bonus if it looks like you were trying to just meet the play-through and then cash out, or if you strategize your play to maximize the bonus potential.  (See the terms for examples.)  This could hurt players who weren't trying to game the system if their play looks suspicious.  I haven't heard of any such cases but it's possible.  My advice: If you accept a bonus, play normally, as though the bonus wasn't really there.

See Bovada's current Welcome Bonus

Gambling problem?

  1. Call the 800-522-4700 hotline or get online help
  2. See these horror stories.
  3. Know that Parkinson's drugs encourage gambling.

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Gambling problem?

  1. Call the 800-522-4700 hotline or get online help
  2. See these horror stories.
  3. Know that Parkinson's drugs encourage gambling.

Getting around the Las Vegas Strip

Last update: March 2021


     Walking the strip is a viable option.  Cabs / Uber / Lyft are expensive, and you often have to wait in a long line at the hotel to get one.  (They can't and won't stop on the street.)  The bus is cheaper but it's often not much faster than walking.  Renting a car is often a big waste—traffic on the Strip is often gridlocked and you have to park so far away that you'll wind up walking anyway.  Finally, you'll discover lots of interesting stuff when you walk that you'd miss in a taxi.  Walking is my preferred way of getting around the strip.  The whole thing is only four miles long and you could walk the entire strip in an hour and a half.

     But walking isn't a perfect option.  First of all, the Aria/Cosmo/City Center monstrosity is absolutely hostile to pedestrians.  In that area you can't cross at street level, and the detours to the walkways are lengthy and laborious.  You could walk on the other side of the street, but that area of the south strip is packed with people so walking is slow-going.  Another annoyance are the guys who constantly thrust ads in your face for call girls.  Finally, walking is the summer often means braving 100°F+ heat.  Still, I walk if I'm going only a mile or two.  For longer distances, I take the bus.

    By the way, please wait for the green light when crossing!  Tourists seem to have no regard for the traffic signals, and many of them pay the ultimate price for that lack of judgement.  Vegas is twice as dangerous as the national average for pedestrians.  It's the 6th-most dangerous city for walkers in the U.S.  A ped gets killed here about every four days.  Pay attention and obey the signals!

Bus: The Deuce

     The double-decker "Deuce" bus runs up and down the Strip, 24/7, every 15-20 minutes.  It's great for short distances or if you're not in a hurry, because going the whole distance (Mandalay Bay to downtown) could take nearly 1:23 hours because of traffic and all the stops.  On a good day it'll take only 40 minutes.  (There used to be an awesome express bus ("SDX"), but it was discontinued in Oct. 2020 due to a drop in funding.)  The normal and (reduced) fares are:

  • $6 ($3) for a 2-hour pass (no, you can't buy a single trip for less)
  • $8 ($4) for a 24-hour pass
  • $20 ($10) for a 3-day pass

Reduced fares are for veterans, young 'uns (6-17, or K-12), and seniors (60+).

Nice things about the bus:

  1. Passes are good on every bus in the city.  You can buy your pass on any bus in the city.
  2. If you can snag the front seats on the 2nd level, it's a great, cheap way to see the strip.
  3. You can buy tickets on the bus, or at the kiosk at the bus stop, or with the app.
  4. The air conditioning is good and it gets you out of the heat.

Times for Mandalay Bay to Downtown, 5.7 miles:

  • 40 minutes:  Deuce bus on a good day
  • 51 minutes:  How fast it took me when I ran the Las Vegas Marathon.
  • 1:23:  Deuce bus on a bad day
  • 1:44:  Estimated time I could walk it.  (Walking fast, and respecting the traffic signals.)

Express bus trivia.  Before RTC eliminated the express bus in Oct. 2020, for years they constantly tinkered with the name.  First it was the #302 route.  Then it was the Ace.  Then it was the Gold Line.  Finally it was the "Strip & Downtown Express" (SDX).  Now it's extinct.


Free Strip/Downtown Bus

The "Free Downtown Loop" bus runs between the Strat (north Strip) and Circa (the downtown casino area), stopping at the Pawn Stars pawn shop along the way (as well as some other places).  It runs 11-6pm Sun-Thu, and 3-10pm Fri/Sat.

Downtown Loop bus map

Casino-operated trams

    Some casinos run their own private trams between their properties. These trams are fast, free, and run from 9:00am to 10:30pm, every 8 minutes. The only downside is they don't take you very far. Trams run between:

    • Treasure Island < > Mirage
    • Park MGM < > Aria < > Bellagio
    • Mandalay Bay < > Luxor < > Excalibur

Las Vegas Monorail

    The monorail is a joke, and fairly useless for traveling the Strip.  It runs behind the strip hotels, and it's a fair hike to get to and from it.  It's also too expensive, has too few stops, doesn't run late, and doesn't go the whole length of the strip.  It's often much faster (and cheaper) to take the bus or walk.

    Now, if you're going to or from the Convention Center or Westgate it's great.  Otherwise, you probably won't find it very convenient.

     Tickets are $5 for a one-way ride or $13 for a day pass (vs. $8 for a day pass on the bus).  You can see the stops on my Strip map.

Casino-to-Casino shuttles

     There are some hotel shuttles that go from casino to casino.  The most popular is probably the one that goes between Bally's and Rio, which leaves Bally's every 30 minutes between 10am to 1am.

Uber / Lyft

      Most hotels have staging areas for Uber/Lyft, but there aren't as many staging areas for them as it does for traditional taxis.  They can't stop on the Strip itself, because there's nowhere to stop.

     I boycott both because of Uber is an incredibly ethically-challenged company, and because in my hometown of Austin, Uber & Lyft refused to comply with local regulations, then paid for a "grassroots" election to try to override local laws, and when voters defeated their measure, the companies then lobbied the Texas state government to cancel Austin's law, which it did.  None of us should want a world in which corporations bully and bribe the government in order to get favorable treatment.


     I generally boycott the taxis because most drive so dangerously, threatening pedestrians and bicyclists, and because buses and shuttles work fine.  Taxis also aren't as convenient as you might expect, because they can't and won't stop on the street; you have to wait in the line at the hotel, and sometimes those lines are long.  Here's more on taxis in Vegas.

The Trolley

     The trolley is a bus which looks like an old streetcar.  It's only $2, but it's super, incredibly slow.  That's because it stops at every casino on the Strip, and not on the street, either, but rather it pulls in to the casino's loading/unloading area.  I took this thing once.  Never again.

You don't need to rent a car

     If you're not venturing beyond the Strip and Downtown, you absolutely do not need a car.   In fact, a car might just slow you down.  Between gridlocked traffic and distant parking (you can't park directly on the strip—you have to go to a parking garage and then walk), taking the bus or just walking is often competitive on time, and a lot less stressful.  Not to mention cheaper, even before we consider that free parking is becoming something of a dinosaur.

     Even if you're going to Hoover Dam, a tour bus is often a better option.  It's cheaper, safer, less polluting, more relaxing (you can sleep on the bus), and your driver will point out interesting things about the places you pass, which you wouldn't know about if you were driving yourself.  There are places along the strip and downtown that sell the cheap Hoover Dam bus tours.  A friend and I took one of them and it was definitely more fun going with a group.

     Also, you can't even rent a car right at the airport any more.  The car rental place is now three miles from McCarran.


Practice gambling with play money

Before you throw down your hard-earned cash in a casino, PRACTICE FIRST!  Learn the games with play money where it doesn't cost you anything if you lose.  Seriously.

I like Bovada's practice games the best, because you can play right away without registering for an account.  Most every other online casino makes you give up your email address just to play the fake-money games — ugh.  That's why Bovada is the only online casino that gets space on my site.  I hope other casinos will eventually start treating their visitors like human beings rather than walking wallets, but until they do, there's Bovada.  One click and you're in.

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