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I am travelling to Las Vegas for work and want to spend an extra few days there at my own expense.

I am surprised at the cost of hotels on the Las Vegas strip. I suppose that most are subsidised by gamblers spending time in the hotel casino. However, I am not a big gambler and although I will probably gamble something, it would be far below the norm.

In general, is there a commitment to gamble or is it just an expectation that most people will?

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I have spent a couple of short vacations in Las Vegas, touring the area during the day, having dinner and people watching in the evening.

I have never encountered a requirement to gamble.

What you will face is an extremely sophisticated system for encouraging gambling, and encouraging losing more money than you intend. You will not get from your room to a restaurant without being exposed to multiple opportunities to gamble. Once in the restaurant, Keno runners will be there in case you want to place a bet. Sit at a bar, and there will be computer poker screens set in the bar top. There are no time cues in casino spaces, so people tend to stay longer than they intend.

Personally, I just don't gamble in Las Vegas. An alternative that works if you do want to gamble is to set aside a definite amount of money you can afford to lose, and stop gambling once that is gone.

  • 5
    Thinking you'll just stop once your stake is gone is a dangerous idea. Gambling isn't about how much money you have or don't have. It's about how it feels. Up or down you'll keep coming back because of how it feels. Not everything that feels good is good for you. The more you like this the less you should be doing it. – candied_orange Nov 13 '16 at 20:50
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    "set aside a definite amount of money you can afford to lose, and stop gambling once that is gone." - It may help to specifically plan to lose this money, and think of the process of losing it as entertainment that you are paying for. – Kevin Nov 13 '16 at 21:04
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    That's precisely what I have done in the past. I figure that I would spend £xx on a normal night out and would have just a much fun at a casino so plan to lose the same amount. – James Nov 13 '16 at 22:18
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    The people I know who are smart but enjoy gambling think of the stake as money spent for entertainment, and it counts against their spending money for the day, just like paying for dinner or a show. – Patricia Shanahan Nov 13 '16 at 22:23
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    @CandiedOrange: That's why you only bring that amount of money, and no ATM cards. :) A more sophisticated version, put that money in your left pocket and put any winnings in the right. – Sean Duggan Nov 14 '16 at 4:26
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There is no obligation to gamble and the audit/reconciliation of guests would be a nightmare if there were. Gamble as little as you want or nothing at all.

High rollers on "comps" may have different arrangements but these are worked out in advance. As a standard guest you have nothing to worry about.

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    Yes, this was my experience too: I felt absolutely no pressure to gamble when I stayed at Circus Circus. – TonyK Nov 13 '16 at 12:52
18

I was not in Las Vegas in itself, but in Reno a long time ago which is also a gambling city. Hotels are, as you already indicated, very cheap.

While you have absolutely no obligation to gamble and you will not be even bothered if you are not interested, gambling cities and hotels have a strong commitment that you should gamble and increase the recklessness and giddiness of their customers. So I point out what you have to expect.

  • Vouchers for free gambling (not much money, only as a bait to start gambling).

  • Vouchers for free services like drinks and food; if you look out to find where it is served, you find that the casino is centralized and you cannot avoid looking at it. You are invited to drink alcohol and dance, both things which are known that they are "opening up" customers.

  • You will be bombarded with what I would call "light and sound shower". Blinkenlights and fanfares (I have won). Luxuries (real and imitated) to show that money is spent and that giving money does not matter (Don't be a party pooper or cheapskate).

  • Many artists are working in this area, not only magicians like Siegfried & Roy, performing stunts. The reason is not only entertainment, dangerous (real or illusion) situations increases our adrenaline level and makes us prone to reckless decisions.

  • The working personnel is looking like freshly gathered from a model show. Interestingly not only women, but also eye candy for the LGBT community. I think I do not need to point out that it does not increase rational, intelligent behavior.

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    The implication that women would not be an attraction to some members of the LGBTQI+ community, or that this community would require human attraction who are not female, is pointless. Either refer to the fact that entertainers are not only female or leave it out completely. – Nij Nov 13 '16 at 19:00
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    @Nij I think you did not understand the implication, so I clarify it. There are businesses which rely on female beauty (e.g. "Hooters") and also gender-neutral ones which still strive for the heterosexual beauty ideal. Reno was an exception that I got the impression that the casinos deliberately choose all charismatic and beautiful humans in the full knowledge that some of them are belonging to the LGBT community. This information is not transferred if I simply say that beautiful men and women are personnel, especially because the LGBT beauty ideals are more diverse. – Thorsten S. Nov 13 '16 at 22:45
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    @Nij: I find his current wording better than yours. – Joshua Nov 13 '16 at 23:32
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    @Nij I absolutely understand that. For example, I realized at once that you excluded the asexuals/agenders from your LBGTQI+ definiton, correctly it should be named (currently) LGBTTTQQIAA. This implies a subconscious bias of LGBT members against asexuals who still inherited this behavior of suppression and denial from the white heterosexual society. I hope you are now aware of that and act accordingly. While I still do not add trigger warnings to my answers and risk that readers are disintegrating, I must inform you that my answer is my personal safe space and criticism hurts my feelings. – Thorsten S. Nov 14 '16 at 1:11
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    Remember, gentlemen, what happens in a Travel SE comment thread, stays in a Travel SE comment thread. – A. I. Breveleri Nov 14 '16 at 3:48
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There is no commitment at all to do so, though there will be plenty of cues encouraging you to do it.

Put bluntly, they don't need to chase skeptics like you when they have a steady stream of retirees waiting to deposit their social security checks directly into the nearest machine. They don't need to court you for a few dollars of your money when someone else will willingly give away the entirety of theirs.

Just don't expect anything to work in your favor. One thing to be wary of is hotel personnel approaching you and leading you to think you're entitled to free/discount credits/tickets as a benefit of staying at the hotel, but after some prying it devolves into a commitment to attend timeshare presentations.

3

Over the years I've spent a few nights in Las Vegas hotels. There has never been the slightest pressure to gamble, just plenty of incentives. There used to also be quite a bit of promotional activity directed at locals, over the years I'm up ~$50 on the casinos because of this. I would accept the match play chips, play until they were gone and walk away. Gambling doesn't hold the slightest interest to me so they're not going to lure me in.

Since the introduction of the loyalty cards, though, this has almost totally disappeared. These days all I see are coupon books that offer discounts on the various restaurants etc within the casino. I don't think I've seen a match play chip in the last decade.

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