The next major casino project to open in Las Vegas will feature a new William Hill Sports Book under a long term agreement with Fifth Street Gaming, developer and operator of the Downtown Grand Casino & Hotel. The property is expected to open in September…
…The new sports book will have a William Hill storefront and dedicated entrance on Downtown3rd, with an outdoor look similar to William Hill’s 2,400 betting shops in the UK.
William Hill is an independent sportsbook operator similar to Cantor Gaming. They operate sportsbooks at quite a few casinos in Las Vegas and all of Nevada. In addition they have sports betting kiosks in a variety of bars across the state along with an easy to use app. They can essentially facilitate sports betting anywhere it’s legal.
While Cantor Gaming targets the high-end customer William Hill is more focused on the every day gambler. Neither approach is right or wrong – it’s just different. If you like free drinks, head to a William Hill sportsbook. If you want to bet 5 figures, you can head to a Cantor Gaming sportsbook.
Downtown Grand seems as if it will be an awesome casino once it opens. Besides this announcement and outdoor gaming everything inside the casino and hotel seem like it will be a great addition to downtown Vegas.
Michael Downs, Downtown Project executive vice president of operations. said the property at 217 Las Vegas Blvd. North is in good shape. The Siegel Group of Nevada Inc. sold the property to Downtown Project investors recently for an undisclosed amount. When Siegel purchased the property five years ago, it did extensive renovations to the casino and hotel rooms.
Sexy Blackjack was stopped back in February and I could tell that this was just the beginning. See, the first place I worked out of college ran into financial problems and was looking for ways to trim the fat. Their first idea was to remove the water cooler. The water cooler was less than a $100 a month expense and let everyone on staff know that things were seriously bad. It didn’t have to be a water cooler that signified change but there was always a signal.
Sexy blackjack wasn’t an expense like the water cooler but its removal was a metaphor for change. Sexy Blackjack wasn’t sexy but it was fun to talk about. Gold Spike was always a part of my Downtown Vegas tour specifically because of Sexy Blackjack. “Hey, I just played $5 Sexy Blackjack” was something my friends and I would say pretty often. There’s plenty of $5 blackjack available downtown but there was no other “Sexy Blackjack”.
The Gold Spike will re-open as part of Downtown Project’s renovation/gentrification/takeover/expansion in Downtown Vegas. This isn’t entirely a bad thing. Reinventing the area around Fremont Street is great even though a little diversity in ownership would be nice. Monopolies are never good for the consumer. That’s for the government to deal with.
Sexy Blackjack and the Gold Spike leaving our lives means different things to different people. Gamblers won’t really be affected since there is plenty of $5 blackjack downtown, tourists will lose a few hundred cheap hotel rooms but room prices may increase with less competition, locals will have to deal with the Downtown Project expansion.
Me, as a local gambler? I’ll miss Sexy Blackjack because it was fun to say but that’s about it. If I want to look at girls while I gamble downtown I can go to Binions, the D, Golden Gate Casino or The Plaza but it won’t be the same as spending a lazy Saturday afternoon playing Sexy Blackjack.
Old Vegas became Downtown Vegas over the past few years because of a myriad of changes to the area. There have been a lot of additions to the area but the places I care most about are the casinos. Many of the Downton Vegas casinos have been renovated over the past few years. Some renovations are better than others. Here are my favorite Downtown Vegas casino renovations.
1. the D – The D casino used to be Fitzgeralds but a complete overhaul of the property last year turned it into something entirely new and awesome. I know I’ve been inside The Fitz but I have no memory of it. The D has two very contrasting floors of its casino. The first floor is incredibly energetic (and loud) with great craps and good 3:2 blackjack. The loud music gives beats that the Go-Go dancers in between table games can dance to. Upstairs has a more mellow vibe with slower music and more machine games. This is where you’ll find Sigma Derby, old video poker and slot machines. It’s a fun contrast and easily one of my favorite places downtown. Photo: Yelp
2. El Cortez – El Cortez was the first casino to renovate and the renovations almost seem old compared to the other casinos in downtown Vegas. The renovations being a little older than the other downtown Vegas casinos allows El Cortez to easily have the most real vintage feel. Besides having great gaming rules (3:2 blackjack, 10x odds craps) rules and cheap gaming ($5 blackjack, $3 craps) they give away free ice cream and free pie periodically. I love El Cortez. Photo: AllVegasPoker.com
3. Golden Gate – Golden Gate is the oldest downtown Vegas hotel and last year’s renovations go a long way to keep that vibe. The renovations were all done to a roarin 20’s theme. The casino is very small and can be claustrophobic to some but that coziness brings great energy to the tables. Golden Gate has the same owners as the D so much of the gaming is the same. The main difference is that the video poker here is not very good and some of the blackjack games use a Continuous Shuffle Machine (I hate CSM!). Most of the dealers at night are also G0-Go dancers. That doesn’t hurt. This is probably my favorite downtown Vegas casino to play craps (ironically, no go-go dancers are craps dealers). Photo: Priceline
Honorable Mention. Gold Spike – Gold Spike is a tiny casino off Fremont Street. The casino is made up of 4 blackjack tables. That’s it (I think). Gold Spike is fairly useless with the exception of $5 sexy blackjack. $5 sexy blackjack isn’t really sexy but it’s fun. Gold Spike is more of a change of pace than anything else. Drink service is super quick since it’s small and never busy.
Other: The Plaza – This is my least favorite of the renovated casinos downtown. There is just no vibe at all here. It’s clean, big and new but that’s about it. Odds are if I’m at this end of Fremont Street I’m probably across the street rolling dice or eating pancakes at DuPar’s inside the Golden Gate.
You may have noticed that I’ve been posting where the best video poker in Las Vegas is recently since I’ve had trips staying at Main Street Station downtown and at Encore on the Vegas strip. A few weeks ago I was asked where the best craps games can be found in Las Vegas. Interesting.
I thought I knew the answer but wasn’t entirely sure. I only know the craps odds at casinos I visit but I don’t know the craps odds at every casino in Las Vegas. I’m not that good. At least I wasn’t.
Countless searches showed only very old craps odds – like pre-2010 old. I finally found odds that seem fairly up-to-date on Wizard Of Vegas. Here are the breakdowns of the best craps odds at downtown Las Vegas casinos (sorted best to worst).
Main Street Station – 20x Odds
The D – 10x Odds
El Cortez – 10x Odds
Golden Gate – 10x Odds
Las Vegas Club – 10x Odds
Binions – 5x Odds
Four Queens – 5x Odds
Golden Nugget – 3-4-5x Odds
The Plaza – 3-4-5x Odds
California – 2x Odds
Fremont – 2x Odds
You’ll notice that Gold Spike is missing from this list of downtown casinos with the best craps. I don’t believe they have craps. They have Sexy Blackjack and I don’t think they could promote Sexy Craps so they just stick with blackjack.
It should come as no surprise that Main Street Station has the best craps downtown. Craps at Main Street Station has almost even odds. Probably the best thing about craps at Main Street Station is that it’s affordable for most gamblers.
Playing full odds at a Main Street Station craps table is $100 on a $5 bet. This is one of the most affordable smart bets you can make in a casino. Full odds on 100x or 1000x times a $5 bet is pricey even though the returns are as close to even as you will find at a craps table.
The Wizard of Vegas survey hasn’t been updated since the D replaced Fitzgerald’s but most of the list seems up to date. Feel free to comment if know of different odds. I’ll be glad to update this list.
Photo – flickr jcnikon (PS: I know this picture isn’t downtown, but the downtown craps table pics weren’t interesting)