Exploring the Revitalized Downtown Las Vegas: Second Part of My Journey

Golden Nugget CasinoGolden Nugget Casino

The night prior, I found myself burning the midnight oil, dutifully reporting on the grand reopenings of the Las Vegas establishments at the stroke of midnight on June 4th. Consequently, I faced a considerable challenge when it came to rousing myself from slumber at an early hour to continue my work. By the time I mustered up the necessary motivation, the afternoon sun was already on its descent. My spouse and I reached a mutual decision to venture downtown and explore the quartet of casinos that had commenced operations in the early hours of the day.

During our visit, Binion's, El Cortez, Four Queens, and Plaza were the properties we went to, and none of them implemented temperature checks that we could observe.

Discover more about: A firsthand account of a trip to the Las Vegas Strip – An exciting experience of the reopening night in Downtown Las Vegas – Stay updated with Bet-NV.com on Twitter


Arriving at Plaza, I was struck by the sight of the near-empty parking deck—an uncommon occurrence in my regular visits. Making our way to the third floor, we immediately noticed the lively atmosphere emanating from the bingo room. As we descended to the lower level, we were pleased to find a few tables available, each occupied by a small group of enthusiastic players. The current selection of games consisted solely of blackjack and 00 roulette, yet there was anticipation in the air for the imminent return of craps. I made a mental note that the pit would only operate between 3pm and 1am throughout the weekend, with the possibility of altered hours depending on customer demand.

I've made sure to disable the majority of the slot machines that are not located near the exterior of the banks within the plaza. However, there is an exception to this rule if the bank happens to be circular in shape and already has the appropriate spacing. In such cases, those machines remain operational. Specifically, the three Joker Poker machines are still available for use. Additionally, the plaza features one of the two 10/7 Double Bonus machines that are currently open, along with around twelve of its full pay machines. Furthermore, at the Omaha Bar, there is a dedicated section at the back specifically designed for couples to enjoy. Apart from these select options, all other machines have been turned off.

As we arrived, Jonathan Jossel, the CEO of Plaza, warmly welcomed us. He was moments away from embarking on a live segment for the nearby Fox affiliate. The reporter, curious about my reasons for choosing the Plaza as my destination, inquired if I would be interested in sharing my thoughts. Admittedly, public speaking is not my forte, so I politely declined the offer. Nonetheless, I attempted to capture a snapshot of the interview, only to be halted by the vigilant security personnel.

The Brightside cafe at Plaza seems to have closed down for good, as evidenced by its permanent closure and removal of its sign. Interestingly, it is no longer listed on Plaza's official website, further indicating its discontinuation. On a related note, both Hash Hash A Go Go and Oscar's are still yet to reopen. Currently, the available dining choices at Plaza consist of Pop Up Pizza and the food court.


Plaza, on the other hand, seemed relatively quiet compared to Binion's bustling atmosphere. Instead of simply shutting down machines, seats were taken out in multiple sections to accommodate couples who wanted to try their luck together. The pit area offered its usual range of games, though it was unfortunate that there were no authentic 3:2 blackjack tables available. The most intriguing aspect of this visit, however, was the unexpected revelation that the poker room had been completely dismantled. Curiosity got the better of me, and I inquired with various individuals, who informed me that the tables were currently in storage. It appears that Binion's is hopeful about reinstating the poker room once the world returns to a semblance of normalcy.

The majority of table games had a $5 minimum bet, except for Pai Gow Poker which required a minimum bet of $10.

Four Queens

Four Queens appeared to be a fairly typical establishment. It boasted a range of table games with a minimum bet of $5, although the only exception was their 3:2 blackjack table, which required a minimum bet of $10. The bars were fully operational, and all the slot machines were available for use. This setup allowed couples to enjoy their time together, as they could simply shift seats and continue playing. As per the rules, there was to be one unoccupied machine between guests who were not part of the same group. Interestingly, some of the other machines were in various states - some were intermittently turned on and off, while others were missing chairs.

Hugo's Cellar, the restaurant we adore, has made a triumphant return alongside the casino. Additionally, patrons can now enjoy the cafe and a variety of convenient fast food choices.

El Cortez

During the first two days of the tour, El Cortez emerged as the victor, boasting the highest percentage of individuals donning masks. Roughly half of the casino's patrons were seen wearing masks, signifying a commendable commitment to safety. Notably, most of the gaming machines were in operation, creating a lively and bustling ambiance. A unique feature of El Cortez was the provision of designated spaces on either side of a seated player, ensuring adequate social distancing between individuals. Plexiglass panels were prominently installed, setting El Cortez apart from other casinos in the downtown area. Approximately half of the tables were equipped with these protective barriers, providing players with the freedom to choose their preferred gaming environment. The betting limits at El Cortez were fairly reasonable, with craps and 00 roulette starting at $5. For all blackjack games, Three Card Poker, Ultimate Texas Hold’em, and baccarat, the minimum bet was set at $10. This ensured that players of various budgets could enjoy their preferred games without feeling restricted.

There was more than just work to it.

My wife and I decided to start our evening with a lively game of Joker Poker at the Plaza. It was an exciting experience, filled with laughter and friendly competition. Once we had our fill of the game, our appetites kicked in, and we eagerly headed to Whiskey Liquor at Binion’s for a delicious snack and refreshing drinks. To our surprise, when we arrived at the bar, we realized that there were only a few seats available for couples, and those were already occupied. It seemed that every other seat was intentionally blocked off, leaving us unable to sit at the bar or along the rail. It was as if Binion's anticipated that only singles would show up and prefer to sit alone. Not wanting to let this dampen our spirits, we quickly adapted and found a cozy table where we could enjoy our snacks and drinks. The atmosphere around us was vibrant, with the sounds of laughter and the clinking of glasses filling the air. Even though our original plan didn't quite work out, we made the best of the situation and created new memories together.