Current local Las Vegas time is 8:45am, March 22, 2018.

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Risky business begets free eats: one of the cool things about living in Vegas

One of the cool things about Las Vegas is the abundance of places to eat. And most of them are really good places to eat. I used to live in Orlando, and a good place to eat there is a national chain where the weird stuff nailed to the walls is usually more compelling than the food. There is no real decent local cuisine in Orlando, although barbecue is close. Vegas cuisine seems to run the entire gamut, from stuff that’s best described as “food” to world class dining.

When you come to Las Vegas the first thing you should do upon entering any casino is to join their players club. You get all sorts of freebies and coupons just for joining and an opportunity for more if you gamble. The coupons usually relate to free or discounted food in some way, typically buffets, for which Vegas is famous. If you visit regularly, about monthly, the casinos will send you more coupons in the mail. We’ve been here long enough to have received a few mailings. There is always a food coupon. Casinos love to discount and give away food.

This is usually how Mrs. Vargas and I choose where to dine. We choose by who sent the most compelling coupon that week. I’m a big man and admit that I like my food. Buffets are a nice way to get a sampling of things I like to eat, and the fact that we get discount buffets is even better.

Las Vegas eating has another advantage over Orlando (or pretty much any other city without casinos). You can sometimes get paid for eating if you’re willing to take a small chance. I’m talking about gambling.

I’m a cheap person by nature, and know enough math to know that betting in a casino is, in the long run, a losing proposition. But gosh, those slot machines are so pretty with all the flashing lights and happy noises. Who can resist? I can’t. Whenever we eat at a casino, we usually play a little before leaving. A big night gambling for us might be to put a $5 bill in a machine; so maybe gambling isn’t the right word so much as “having a little slot play”.

On most occasions we break even or lose a dollar or two. Sometimes we even leave a few bucks ahead. But at least one-fifth of the time so far, we have hit mini-jackpots that were enough to pay for dinner, tip, and have a little left over for gas money. There’s no place in Orlando, New York, or even Los Angeles that I know of where you can win back the price of dinner on the way out.

This is one of the reasons I love living in Las Vegas. No, it’s not necessarily a reason to move here, but it’s fun if you do live here and a nice bonus if you’re visiting.

I told this story to a few people right after it happened, and I think karma got me for bragging. After eating at one of the nicer buffets using a 2 for 1 coupon and winning $30 on the way out (which more than paid for dinner) I got sick. Two days in bed with symptoms you don’t want to read about sick. I don’t think it was the food, but probably a bug going around that attacked the gastro-intestinal system with a vigor I normally reserve for ribs on a buffet.

Not a big deal on the long run, but a few bites on the rear end from karma will teach you to cut the bragging a bit. So please don’t take the above story as bragging. It’s purely informational. You can have a free dinner in Vegas, too.

Published Mon 11/7/05 at 9:46am

Categorized in Food & Drink, Gambling, Las Vegas

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