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Laughlin, what happened to you...? General Rant

Redlands, California
Level Contributor
700 posts
84 reviews
Laughlin, what happened to you...? General Rant

I've been a regular visitor since 1981. I was 18. I've been going to several times a year all my life. Columbus Day weekend was my first trip in 6 months. Question: why do you continue to ruin anything good that your visitors loved about you?

My first major gripe: Every time you revamp your casino floors, you make them worse. You take away the machines people liked and replace them with machines no one wants to play. The few remaining machines that players recognize are always occupied. People literally park themselves at them all day long. I noticed this most specifically at Trop, Pioneer, Aquarius, Riverside and the Nugget. Every time you remodel you make your casinos less desirable. We were literally out at each of these within 1/2 hour whereas we would usually have stayed 1-2 hours, then perhaps had lunch.

The smell. Every casino floor smells like clove cigarettes. Did you all buy the same fragrance from the same salesman? I really noticed it crossing the bridge at Riverside. The smell was being pumped in. Stinks like hell. Another reason not to stay long. I noticed this stink everywhere but Harrahs.

There's nothing to do. The gambling sucks now but there's not much else. My 82 year old father would rather go to downtown Vegas than Laughlin. Why? Because there's so much more to do, he said. DT Vegas is a S hole but he prefers it to you now. What happened to the upstairs at the Belle? Why is you mall a ghost town? The attractions you offer are stagnant and there are never any new ones. Regulars shrug and say to themselves "same old S".

I have so many fond memories: hitting royals while drinking craft beer and eating finger foods and The Boiler Room. Having dinner at Mark Twain's. Taking a helicopter ride before seeing Gallagher at the Riverside. Playing in Video Poker tournaments by invitation. Etc. What great times they were.

Goodbye Laughlin. The glory is gone. Never to return.

Jeff in Redlands, Calif

p.s. I know. "Good riddance", you'll say or "don't let the door hit you in the a**". Whatever. I've been wanting to say these things for a while now. I can't be the only one who feels this way. There are too many multi decade players like myself who have witnessed this decline.

4 replies to this topic
san diego
Level Contributor
514 posts
25 reviews
1. Re: Laughlin, what happened to you...? General Rant

Jeff - I agree with most of what you say. For some reason when they remodel the casinos they do take out the best parts. The Tropicana is a ghost of what it used to be; the Laughlin River Lodge, while new and clean is a ghost of the glory days of when it was Sam's Town and Gold River (remember the pirate ship downstairs!!). The Aquarius took out all the lights outside and is now boring. With the remodel of the 'stern' of the Colorado Belle they took out the meeting place for seniors who liked to play card games in the morning. The Pioneer has seen a steady decline over the years. They have completely wiped out all the cool stuff outside and poor River Rick has been dark for years. I miss the days when the Riverside and the Regency (yes, the Regency) has 1 dollar, single deck black jack. I miss the second deck of the Colorado Belle where all the machines were full-pay nickel poker machines. I miss the days when golf carts would come around and take you to the casino you want to go to. I think Laughlin is catering to a younger crowd - a generation that just doesn't care about the same kind of things that an older generation does. I'm not coming down on the younger generation, I'm just saying their wants and needs are different. That being said, I'm still loyal to Laughlin. To me it still does have the 'old school' charm' and it is cheaper than Vegas. For me (I'm 59) there is a lot still to do. I still go to Oatman, I still visit the Labyrinths, I like walking along the river to the dam, I still take the river tour, I golf, I still go to Christmas Tree Pass and check out the petroglyphs. I still walk in the mall. And I still walk along the river next to the casinos. Yes, for people like you and me Jeff things are not the same but time does not stand still and what used to be important to bring in customers has changed. It's too bad because for people who don't know what it used to be like, they don't miss it. I'll continue to visit Laughlin until it isn't fun for me anymore.

Laughlin, Nevada
Level Contributor
65 posts
32 reviews
2. Re: Laughlin, what happened to you...? General Rant

Jeff, your rant is pretty much spot on. As a local for the last two years, we have decided to move into the Vegas area. One of the reasons is that our children and their families pretty much dread visiting here as opposed to Vegas. I am amazed that the Laughlin hotel "resorts" only do the minimum to keep the status quo. The Laughlin River Lodge has been our go-to casino, but it has no table games so many players give it a pass. I also hear that their rooms are so-so.

There are parts of the River Walk that are downright awful (see the area between the Belle and the Pioneer).

As mentioned, the mall is embarrassing. There are those who say over and over that the rent is "too high." That may be, but Laughlin needs people and shoppers. It's a Catch-22.

It is a sad state of affairs. I can understand exactly what you are saying. Yes, there will be many who say to both of us, "Good Riddance."

Level Contributor
1 post
10 reviews
3. Re: Laughlin, what happened to you...? General Rant

I know what you're saying it's a bummer. Remember when Tropicana was Ramada Express? And they had the train outside. Then in the morning you'd wake up to the donut and coffee carts outside of the elevators. The donuts and long johns were huge and we're price very reasonable. When the Aquarius was the flamingo you could go up to the window on the Riverwalk outside of Flamingo and get a 12 oz beer and a hot dog for a buck-fifty. And I do miss all the little shops they had upstairs in the Colorado Belle it was fun to go up to the candy shop up there and just get away from everything. Remember when the pioneer used to double their payouts on a slot machine at a certain time during the day? All of the casinos used to be really be on top of it when it came to offering you a free drink while you play now you're lucky if you get offered a free drink and then they take forever to get the drink to you after they take your order. You used to be able to put $20 in a slot machine and play for a long time but not anymore it's obvious they have changed the payouts on the slot machines at all the casinos. And remember the Veterans Museum that was upstairs in the Tropicana when it was the Ramada Express? Basically all the casinos in Laughlin have lost the personal touch they used to have now you swipe your player's card at a kiosk and print out your discount food voucher or other vouchers. And remember when they used to all have really nice slot tournaments and most of them for free and you would actually win cash now you mostly win free play. They give you the feeling they want to get you in there empty your pockets and get you the hell out until next time. Just not as personal and fun as it used to be let's hope that all changes.

Las Vegas, Nevada
Destination Expert
for Las Vegas
Level Contributor
14,344 posts
2,303 reviews
4. Re: Laughlin, what happened to you...? General Rant

Times change. Welcome to the new Laughlin.

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