Will Casinos Be Allowed To Charge Cover Fees? - Tuesday 12th of April 2005

A bill before the Nevada legislature would allow casinos to charge an admission fee.Before you freak out, let me explain that this would never actually happen and isn't the intention of the new law. Instead, it would allow hotels to offer slot machines and other gambling in areas of their property that charge admission. A good example would be the Stratosphere Tower, which charges people to go up to the top. Under current law, the hotel can't offer gambling up there. Other examples would be nightclubs that charge a cover, showroom lobbies or special events or parties that charge admission.


The bill is expected to get passed and signed by the governor, so you could see machines popping up in places you hadn't seen them before very soon.



This is the big week for Wynn Las Vegas.


The $2.7 billion resort is scheduled to open at the stroke of midnight April 28. (For clarity: That would be one minute after 11:59 p.m. Wednesday).


Fanfare is expected, although this is a classy joint so you probably won't see a marching band or a cheesy fireworks display.


I'll be there as they cut the ribbon and will bring you a special report in next week's column, although a formal review will have to wait -- the only media getting access during opening week are for Vanity Fair magazine (offering the first pictures in its issue due out the first week of May) and the Today Show.



In honor of the 100th anniversary of Las Vegas, the city is looking for a few couples to get married in a special ceremony.


Actually, 100 couples, to be specific.


In conjunction with Southwest Airlines, the city is taking applications from potential lifemates for a mass ceremony under the canopy of the Fremont Street Experience in downtown Las Vegas on June 9. If you're selected, you'll get flown to Vegas on Southwest, given hotel accommodations at the Golden Nugget, bachelor and bachelorette parties at MGM Grand's, Studio 54 and New York-New York's Coyote Ugly, a $100 gift certificate to David's Bridal, La Femme show tickets and individual ice cream wedding cakes by Cold Stone Creamery.


To learn more about the Las Vegas Centennial or to download an application and list of contest requirements, visit the Centennial Web site, LasVegas2005.org.



Fresh off his five-year run at The Stardust, Mr. Las Vegas himself -- Wayne Newton --- will pick up where he left off at the Las Vegas Hilton, taking the stage when Mr. I Write The Songs (Barry Manilow) is on hiatus. The six-week engagement will run from June through August for starters, but many people believe this could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship for the entertainer and the hotel.


Speaking of "The Entertainer," the winner of Newton's E! channel reality show will get his debut during Newton's Las Vegas Hilton run. For more information or tickets, visit the LV Hilton Web site, LVHilton.com.



The new thrill ride atop the Stratosphere Tower lived up to its name -- Insanity -- last week, offering a local teenager and her 11-year-old cousin a glimpse of true craziness.


The ride, which spins people around more than 900 feet in the air, shut down mid-spin when the system detected winds in excess of 60 miles per hour. Per the specs, whenever that happens the ride shuts itself down -- usually good news. Bad news when there are people on it and the winds didn't subside, so they can't be brought in right away.


The two girls spent more than an hour hanging until technicians were able to attach a cable to the arm securing their seats and pull them to safety.


The hotel voluntarily closed the ride for a couple of days for a safety review, but officials maintain that it functioned exactly as it was designed. By the time you read this, it should be back up and running and ready for more insane people to hop aboard.


As a method of apology, the hotel offered the two girls a free year's pass to the thrill rides on the tower. Showing they aren't completely insane, the girls declined.



People are always asking me, "What is the best place for families to stay?" I usually respond, "Disneyworld."


But if you insist on bringing the kids to Vegas, may I suggest you keep them out of the evermore adult-oriented Strip area and stay a few miles away at the family-friendly Lake Las Vegas area?


As proof that this is a good idea, the Ritz-Carlton, a hotel I have selected two years running as my favorite in the area, is offering special summer family packages. The Vegas Family Vacation package offers three nights for the price of two, free breakfast and lunch for kids under 12, and 50 percent off your first two spa treatments for mom and dad, who will undoubtedly need them after a few days in a hotel room with kids under 12.


The other package is the Good Things Come In Two's deal, where you can get a second room at 50 percent off.

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