Casinos make a lot of money – and somewhat ironically, it is the patrons’ hunger for winning cash which feeds casinos their revenue. Las Vegas bills itself as the entertainment and gambling capital of the world, and it’s hard to argue against that.
So how do Australian casinos (most notably the largest casino in the Southern Hemisphere; Melbourne’s Crown Casino), match up against some of the most formidable Vegas Strip casinos, including: the Bellagio, the Flamingo, the MGM Grand, the Venetian, Monte Carlo, Mandalay Bay, the Riviera, Harrah’s, Caesar’s Palace and New York New York?
Australia is well known for having a heavy drinking culture; and gambling and alcohol often mix well for an enjoyable cocktail (AustralianGambling advocates responsible alcohol consumption and betting at all times). But at Crown, purchasing drinks while playing roulette, blackjack, the pokies and any other games we frequent often makes for an expensive night out.
In Las Vegas casinos, drinks are on the house! If you are sitting at a gaming table, standing around playing craps or roulette, or enjoying the slots, waiters and waitresses will offer you complimentary drinks.
Unlike Australia, America’s service industry – the way those within this industry make their pay – is heavily reliant upon customary tipping. Thus, with the free drinks and good service at casinos, patrons are expected to show gratitude to waiters and waitresses with a tip (some coins, one, two dollars; at the discretion of the individual). A dollar bill for a rum and coke, we think is a fair trade off for some fun at the tables. In fact, we think the dollar bill was invented purely for this reason – well that, and cascading ones at women who take their clothes off.
Second to the tipping custom, Vegas casinos are willing to let their patrons drink for basically nothing, so long as they are gambling. Why? It doesn’t take a genius to work out the more a player drinks, the more they are likely to gamble away money; so casino managers and owners make sure their customers are provided with solid service, while also staying vigilant in removing any poorly behaved intoxicated patrons.
So while ordering drink after drink for a few bucks while betting can be dangerous (for both wallet and liver), if we are sensible, this can make for a night of thorough entertainment, especially if we come out in the green. You can also carry drinks from casino to casino, and hold open bottles along the streets – and with a strong police presence, this does not seem to pose a serious threat, in terms of aggressive behaviour, to the public.
Vegas Casinos: 1
Australian/Melbourne Casinos: 0
Amazingly, tobacco smoking is permitted inside all casinos along the strip, with few designated non-smoking areas available. Drinking, gambling and smoking; Vegas seems to be paying tribute to a bygone era. While the city is notorious for weird, wild and wonderful cultural traditions, when it comes down to individual health and well-being, we’d like to think Vegas should follow 21st century laws pertaining to tobacco smoking – illegal inside public venues (clubs, restaurants workplaces, etc.), with designated areas for those who do wish to smoke, rather than the other way around.
In today’s society, we know the detriments caused by smoking to one’s health, based on all the evidence available at our fingertips – and the state of Queensland is one to have taken significant strides to reducing the places one can smoke, making it illegal even at alfresco dining, let alone indoors. While we aren’t suggesting Vegas take a stance similar to that of the Queensland government, it really does boggle the mind that Las Vegas has not yet adapted to what are now well-established regulations.
Vegas Casinos: 1
Australian/Melbourne Casinos: 1
The variety in Vegas is without question, superior to that of Melbourne and even Australia. With dozens of casinos within walking distance of each other, players are never short of options, gaming tables or slot machines. Order a drink at the bar, sit down, and in front of you will be an electronic gaming computer where you can enjoy a few hands of video poker. Behold gorgeous ladies dancing in minimal dress above your poker and blackjack gaming tables. Just arrived at the Vegas airport? Be greeted with hundreds of pokie machines. Leaving? Play the slots while waiting for your delayed plane to land.
On the subject of electronic gaming machines, Vegas has it all. Electronic blackjack, roulette, craps, sic bo and poker. A testament to automated games (especially online casino gambling) becoming more popular than ever before, land-based casinos have realised it is in their best interest to offer mechanised and random number generated (RNG) games such as rapid roulette and computerised 21, and Vegas has taken one giant leap to make this a formality. Crown and other Australian casinos still sit behind the eight-ball, with no automated blackjack available as yet. The Crown also recently removed the popular electronic Texas Hold’em poker tables.
Vegas Casinos: 2
Australian/Melbourne Casinos: 1
As evidenced by the infuriation at constant law changes in AFL, we can safely assume the Australian public doesn’t enjoy continuous tampering of rules. So on that note, the following differing rules in Las Vegas casinos when compared to Australian casinos, mightn’t sit too well with our residents:
1/ Contrary to Crown, The Star, Jupiters and our other gambling venues, majority of Vegas casinos do not allow back betting – that is, betting behind another player. For example, here Down Under we can place a bet behind another player in blackjack, while that player alone still makes all the decisions. Or in Casino War – simple; if the player hand you’ve backed wins, so do you.
2/ If you wish to play two hands in any card game, you’ll have to double your wager on each of those hands. For example, if the minimum bet at that particular table is $15, and you wish to play two hands, you will have to fork out $30 and $30, rather than $15 and $15.
3/ With so many casinos along the strip, you’d expect multiple lower stake games for those with smaller bankrolls. Unfortunately, Vegas has minimal $5 gaming tables, and the few they do own are packed with players at every hour of the day and night. Further to this, table minimums increase as the night progresses, so a $5 table at 6pm could turn to a $10 table by 10pm. An upside here is if you’ve already been playing at the original minimum, you can still bet that minimum even after the increase – but we feel this isn’t sufficient for Vegas to come out on top of Crown and other Aussie casinos within the ‘altered rules’ domain.
Vegas Casinos: 2
Australian/Melbourne Casinos: 2
Does a two-all draw seem about right to you? Have you visited Vegas and feel differently? Where would you rather gamble? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.
As an Aussie who recently trekked to Sin City, the experience is absolutely sensational for someone who enjoys drinking, gambling and a whole lot of weird and wild fun. Having said that, arriving back in Melbourne and visiting Crown that very night on the back of some ridiculous jet lag felt snug, homey and secure (reinforced by the fact I avoided Blackjack Plus). With a broader gambling knowledge now, I feel better placed to take advantage of the games and experiences I like, and steer clear of those I don’t.
Before signing off, Australian Gambling wishes to impart one final piece of advice: the online gambling scene, in terms of pure value for money, beats any brick-and-mortar casino. While the experience of a night out at Crown, or a week’s bender in Vegas can’t exactly be matched by any casino on the Internet, when it comes down to getting the best odds, the largest variety and the biggest AUD bonuses and promotions, we are true advocates for Web-based casinos and sports betting sites.