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Wheelin’ ’n’ Dealin’ in Downtown Las Vegas!
by H. Scot Krause

Too often, visitors to the Las Vegas Strip miss out on fabulous downtown Las Vegas and all it has to offer. While the downtown casinos vie for market share against the mighty casino giants on the Strip, tourists can take advantage of the increased benefits of playing and staying downtown! The old-style gambling and traditions of downtown give visitors a chance to see and feel old Vegas at its best.

Downtown Las Vegas has always been known in the past as a true gambler’s Mecca, offering better table gaming odds, looser slots, sweet casino deals and promotions, inexpensive rooms, and food options galore. Today it’s much the same but with newly added attractions, like Neonopolis, downtown’s answer to shopping, first class movies, and more. And if you have yet to see the Fremont Street Experience, you’re missing out on one of the most unique light and sound shows ever created!

To begin to describe downtown Las Vegas, we almost need to step back in time to a bye-gone era of names like Benny Binion (Binion’s Horseshoe,) and Sam Boyd, (Fremont and California) two of gambling’s pioneers remembered as the movers and shakers who helped to shape the future of downtown; a time when the casino owners and bosses knew their customers by name and walked the floors to make sure everyone always had a good time-win or lose! Legendary casino-owner Jackie Gaughan, (Plaza, Las Vegas Club, El Cortez, Gold Spike) recently celebrated his 82nd birthday with crowds of thousands who wished him well and continued success. Downtown Las Vegas in 2002–3 hasn’t forgotten those time-honored traditions of the masters.

Downtown today is actually all about good times. From the ease of parking and getting around easily, to walking in and out of casinos within a few short steps, everything is convenient and fun. It’s one big giant party on a pedestrian mall, under the open-air canopy of lights, now known as the Fremont Street Experience.

Gambler’s looking for better table game odds, looser slots, better video poker pay tables, and often even better sports book odds, need look no further than to the downtown casinos. Many Craps games found downtown offer 10 to 20 times odds. Blackjack rules at many of the downtown tables are among the best that players will find anywhere on the planet. According to the Nevada Gaming Control Board, overall downtown pay back percentages on slots are among the highest returns in the state. Furthermore, many of the downtown casinos offer full-pay video poker machines on games like Deuces Wild, Bonus Poker, and Double Bonus Poker.

If its food you’re after, you certainly won’t go hungry downtown! From the snack and deli bars with cheap shrimp cocktails like the Golden Gate’s 99-center, to the gourmet restaurants like Hugo’s Cellar at the Four Queens, everyone will find something to please the palate in downtown Las Vegas! Downtown Spotlight: Shine on Fitzgeralds!

Since new owner Don H. Barden bought Fitzgeralds, the property has been undergoing dramatic improvements and changes! The outside façade has a bright new image, the registration area has been remodeled, there’s a new slot club, player-favorable table game improvements, new casino promotions, restaurant specials, cool new live entertainment, and more!

The new Club Fitz is the starting point for all players. Club Fitz is a comp and cash back system and is free to join. Players earn one point for every $5 played on Slots and Video Keno or one point for every $10 played on Video Poker machines. Every 100 points earns players $1 in cash back, and every cash back point also earns two points in comps that can be used throughout the hotel for meals or in the gift shop. Another fun feature of the slot club is the use of Kiosk Machines throughout the casino. Players can check their points and comps with a swipe of your card and also print out vouchers from the “Build Your own Funbook” menu on the screen for discounts and savings to use throughout the hotel. The new Club Fitz is user friendly too. For most of the restaurants and gift stores, players can redeem their points directly without the need to visit the slot club booth for a comp voucher!

In addition to ten times odds on Craps and the doubling down on all splits feature on Blackjack, Fitzgeralds has also now added a new Spanish 21 table and a new Blackjack promotion. Players who hit a club blackjack receive a free seven spot Keno ticket good for twenty-one games. If all seven numbers come up in a single game you win $1000.

A new ongoing casino promotion provides a great opportunity for gamblers to win a free steak dinner in the Shamrock Café. Any slot jackpot of $1,000 or more or any four-of-a-kind on a select bank of video poker machines will get you the free steak dinner, a $12.99 value. There is no limit to the number of dinner vouchers you can win.

Dining options at Fitzgeralds covers all the bases, from the Jackpot Deli and McDonald’s on the first floor to the Shamrock Café, Molly’s Buffet and Limerick’s Steak House on the second floor. The Shamrock Café offers a late-night, huge 14 oz Ham Steak and Eggs special nightly from 11:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. for $4.95. Molly’s Buffet is reasonably priced from $6.49 for breakfast to $9.99 for dinner. Their seafood buffet is served on Wednesday nights for a modest $12.99.

Last but certainly not least, Fitzgeralds has a great offering of variety entertainment options. The current line-up includes:
• Arian Black’s “Secrets” Magic Show at 3:00 p.m.
• Larry G. Jones “Man of 1002 Voices” Impressionist Show at 5:00 p.m.
• Craig Newell’s “Tribute to Elvis” performances at 7:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m.

All shows are free with a one-drink minimum, Show days are Thursday through Monday in the Events Center on the second floor. Michael Lee performs musical variety on the first floor stage from 8:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. on the same days.

Check out the new Fitzgeralds on your next trip to downtown Las Vegas or plan a special trip to enjoy everything they have to offer! For more information about Fitzgeralds’ events, call 1-800-274-LUCK or visit the website at: www.fitzgeralds.com.

This story was first published in the Winter 2002-2003 issue of Gambling Times Magazine.

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