My Experience of the Reopening Night in Las Vegas

Living in Summerlin, I, as a local of Las Vegas, decided to explore the recent developments in the city's prominent casinos. With several days of change and excitement awaiting, I set my sights on Downtown, anticipating the grandest unveiling. Naturally, it became my first stop on this casino odyssey.

Fremont Street Encounter was devoid of people.

On June 3, in the late afternoon, I made my way to the Fremont Street Experience. To my surprise, the area was completely deserted. None of the street bars were operating, which was unexpected. The only businesses that seemed to be open and welcoming customers were American Coney Island and a nearby gift shop.

As I strolled along, I discovered that Freedom Beat at Downtown Grand was welcoming patrons. Opting for a cold brew, I enjoyed my time at the bar before grabbing another one to-go in a convenient plastic cup. With newfound curiosity, I made my way back to Fremont Street, hoping to witness any noticeable transformations. To my surprise, everything remained unchanged, as if frozen in time.

Currently, entry to Fremont Street is limited, with strict restrictions in place. The sole access point not situated along Fremont Street is the narrow passageway leading to Downtown Grand. Unfortunately, the pathways connecting The D and Four Queens, as well as Binion's and Circa, have been closed off. To ensure security, personnel are stationed at the entrances, diligently checking the identification of nearly every individual. I personally encountered numerous requests to present my ID throughout the entirety of the evening. It is important to note that, at present, all guests planning to visit Fremont Street Experience must be at least 21 years old. Furthermore, it is worth mentioning that backpacks or large bags are currently prohibited from entry.

I decided to head home and have dinner with my wife after meeting a few people downtown and engaging in some casual conversation. The evening was rather uneventful, so I made my way back down around 10pm. Upon my arrival, I encountered a few more individuals, presumably looking for some late-night entertainment. To our disappointment, the doors of popular establishments like Golden Gate, Golden Nugget, and The D were off-limits until opening time, exclusively catering to hotel guests. The street bars were open, but our desired destinations remained inaccessible.

And the entrance is unlocked.

I witnessed the moment Golden Nugget came to life as I stood outside its entrance. Here's a glimpse of how it appeared.

Entering the Golden Nugget around 12:05am, I found myself amidst a familiar scene. The atmosphere exuded a sense of normalcy, as patrons engaged in lively table games and the slot machines buzzed with activity. A lively crowd had gathered at the bar, enjoying their evening. While there was ample spacing between individuals, it leaned towards the upper end of what one would consider comfortable.

After midnight on a regular Wednesday night, I made my way to Golden Gate, my next destination. As I walked in, I couldn't help but notice that all the exclusive games they used to offer were no longer there. Instead, the casino floor was dominated by classic favorites like blackjack, roulette, and craps. Similar to Golden Nugget, the atmosphere was quite comfortable and relaxed, with no signs of worry or trouble in the air. The crowd consisted of individuals who seemed to be enjoying themselves, not overly concerned about anything.

The first casino I visited was the D. I was quite surprised by the crowd it drew, as many observers criticized it for being overly crowded. It was, by far, the most packed casino I had ever entered. The bar, in particular, was swarming with people, and social distancing seemed to be nonexistent. However, the rest of the casino resembled the previous two that I mentioned. The tables were appropriately spaced out, and there were only a few onlookers obstructing the walkways.

I decided to check out Fremont next, and to my surprise, it wasn't nearly as bustling as the previous three casinos I had visited. It seemed to be operating at around 20 percent capacity, which gave the place a slightly more relaxed atmosphere. One thing that immediately caught my attention was the absence of coin games. Gone were the days of hearing the clinking sound of coins hitting metal trays. It was definitely a noticeable change from before the casino closure.

Downtown Grand, though not bustling with activity, did have some action going on at its main pit tables, albeit with the new player restrictions in place. However, apart from that, the overall atmosphere seemed rather subdued. I did notice that they had one table offering $1 3:2 blackjack, which could potentially attract some avid players.

On my journey through downtown, I ended up at California, a place that was surprisingly deserted. It seemed like the lack of direct access from Fremont Street Experience had a negative impact on the number of people walking by. The alley between Binion's and Circa was completely shut, and to make matters worse, Binion's hadn't even opened yet. Any potential players would have had to take a detour around the block just to reach it.

Golden Nugget did not perform temperature checks, unlike the other downtown casinos that verified the temperature of their patrons upon entry.

On the opening night downtown, the gaming scene was dominated by the triumvirate of craps, roulette, and blackjack. These three games stole the spotlight, leaving little room for others to shine. Surprisingly, not a single Pai Gow Poker table was to be found amidst the bustling casino floor. The focus was clearly on the classics, with players flocking to the familiar tables, eagerly placing their bets and hoping for the best. The absence of Pai Gow Poker seemed to go unnoticed, or perhaps it simply didn't pique the interest of the gamblers on that particular evening.

Making three stops at local casinos before returning home.

I decided to swing by Suncoast, Arizona Charlie's Decatur, and Red Rock Resort after exploring downtown. At the entrance of all three casinos, guests were being carefully screened. One notable distinction I observed in the gaming area was that the pitch blackjack games were dealt from a shoe, setting them apart from the norm. Despite these slight variations, everything else ran smoothly, and the number of visitors was on par with my expectations.

It was just another ordinary evening at Arizona Charlie's. The entrance for the patrons was located towards the shopping center, while the exit was conveniently positioned facing Decatur. As I strolled through the casino, my eyes fell upon the very first Pai Gow Poker table that had caught my attention that night.

My next destination on this exciting adventure was Red Rock Resort. Upon arrival, I was greeted with a unique temperature check procedure, which involved navigating through a cleverly designed maze. As I proceeded further, the security personnel kindly requested me to briefly remove my mask for the camera, ensuring a smooth entry process. Once inside, I was pleased to discover that the atmosphere was just like any other regular night at a casino. To my delight, the majority of table games were open and ready for action. However, what caught my attention was a brand new stadium setup that had been recently introduced. This innovative concept was set to offer thrilling games such as baccarat, 6:5 blackjack, and roulette to the eager players. Unfortunately, during my visit on the opening night around 2:30 am, the stadium setup was not yet operational. I couldn't help but feel a tinge of anticipation for the grand unveiling of this exciting addition to the casino experience.

I made Suncoast my final destination for the night, reaching there at approximately 3am. Upon my arrival, I underwent a temperature check, a procedure reminiscent of my experience at Red Rock, where I strolled leisurely in a circular manner. I must say, the security personnel at Suncoast displayed the utmost politeness and professionalism, surpassing all others I had come across. As I explored the premises, scanning the floor, I regret to report that I failed to stumble upon any noteworthy occurrences or captivating sights, except for the occasional glimpse of the table and slot restrictions in place.

Stay tuned for upcoming trip reports on the morning openings of other downtown casinos, as well as insights on the Strip and local market. New updates will be available shortly.

Part II travel review