Some suggest that this is to keep the poor from getting such great deals from the El Cortez that they will come with no intention of gambling. This is logical unless we look at the details. Here is my answer to one person suggesting this is their motivation.
This has got to be the biggest urban myth in downtown Las Vegas.
Let's do just a bit of math to show how ridiculous the whole myth is.
What the EC refused me was 9 nights at an average of $34 a night in El Cabana rooms. Actually they let me have a confirmed booking for a few days before they told booking.com that they were refusing to "honor" my second reservation.
Now you tell me what you would do if you wanted a really long stay and did not need to be close to gambling. Would you pay $34 a night for a month at over a $1000 for a room with a diminished refrigerator, no laundy facilities, no kitchen, no separate bedroom, very little storage space, no wifi, no decent cable TV, or would you go rent some three bedroom place for less money with maybe a garage and certainly a laundry room.
And if you were a local, you could easily commit for a year. Places will pay your first month's expenses for a lease.
Vegas is full of rental deals right now. It is a recession. You can get a lot for a grand a month.
Your figure of $600-$700 may match a lucky month in Vintage, but I doubt it could actually be found. At some point some Convention would drive up even those prices. And if they wanted those folks out, limit the 7 day rule only to Vintage.
Also I play poker with local old guys there and some of them are sometimes down and out and living on the edge from paycheck to paycheck.
They don't rent at the El Cortez.
If they are really low strapped, they grab a little hotel/motel just down the street.
Like the Blue Angel. The rates are incredibly cheap.
Incidently, no poker play matters to the El Cortez. I suggested that perhaps playing some certain amount of poker per day might give a guy a pass on the $25 extra fee.
Well, they don't make enough on the poker they told me.
Well, I'm not bargaining for a comped room here, I told them, just a wave on the added fee for a long stay.
Well, they'd talk it around and get back to me.
Yeah, like that is going to happen.
So, I made the mistake of running some of my cash through their less than the best machines in May, thinking I'd get a couple free nights and then I would just pay the price to stay in one place for most of my trip.
And I could have stayed 14 days in a row. I changed my airfare so I could get 7 in October and 7 in November. The rule is just 7 in a calendar month.
"Well, yeah, technically you could do that," says the hotel manager with a tone of disappointment.
But by then the good rates at Booking.com were gone and Gold Spike was offering a better deal and I was mad at the EC anyway.
I'm glad I did that.
The Spike seemed happy to have me even without my gambling, happy perhaps to get some money out of an empty hotel. Happy perhaps to have me spreading the word here. They had little cards that asked folks to spread the word. They know they have a good deal on rooms, but continue to be often underbooked.
So, were the nearly homeless looking for a room, they could easily look for a sale there. Nice heat pool. I did not see anyone swimming in their clothes while I was there.
No, the El Cortez has two nice games they are playing now.
First, they are going to be the upscale new cool fun place downtown and attract the next generation of hip folks with money. They want them, but they want to get them in, get the cash, and get them out.
Second, there are folks who won't look at the math of what they charge but take those discounted rates Jimbo quoted because they are reasonable compared with Vegas strip rates they see and they are getting bombarded with just how young and cool and hip the whole area is becoming. These unsavy travelers are the same ones paying resort fees of $20 plus with no real amenities, or being surprised by them at checkout. Hopefully, enough talk about all these sad fees will get more people to the point where they can do the math.
Okay, I know the hotel is there to make money and blah, blah, blah,
But I am not there to give them my money, and I don't have to play their new game.
I get more offers from the Four Queens at my level of play. Those offers exceed mathematically even the El Cortez occasional free night offers where you pay $60 a night for the room and get it back in freeplay and food. This trip for $24 I got 7 nights, $120 in freeplay (which I cashed out for $260), $50 in food, 2 free breakfasts and a free slot tournament.
My role is to get the best deals I can for the least amount. To do that I need flexibility when I schedule, the ability to book and then change booking to catch freebies. 4 Queens freebies come very late in the booking game. A limit of 7 nights is not going to give me flexibility to book early 9 nights and shave it back when the freebies come. That is exactly what I did at the Gold Spike.
And the El Cortez wants me to go down the street. They want to get in the tourists with more money to put at risk, know it takes on average about 3 to 5 days to fleece them of the bankroll, and why would they want to accommodate anyone much after that.
Meanwhile I got nervous that I only played through $5000 in my last Four Queens days, but the host said I'll keep getting mailers with that play. It would not get me direct comps, that would take more.
And this host was perfectly upfront and clear.
He even explained what I must do to add a few nights at Binions poker rate and not affect my daily gambling score at the Queens.
So, who would I like? The casino that takes time to take care of me, listens, and tells me what they can do or the one that waits until I have a confirmed booking and then decides not to honor it?
Also, compare this lame 7 night policy to the policy of the Stratosphere. They will book up to 28 nights in a row.
Oh, maybe I should not have said that, all the undesirable long staying folks will flock there now that the word is out. Oh, what have I done!!
They have a $7.50 resort fee that includes free tower access for each person staying in the room. After 5 nights the fee is capped and is not charged for the rest of the stay. Yep, you can stay there, and go up to watch the sunrise with coffee every morning for 28 days and the last three weeks of those tower visits are absolutely free.
Must be a different set of bean counters.
The Strat boys perhaps have not heard of the invasion of the nearly homeless, nor do they subscribe to
Sheer 'em quick and put 'em out to pasture.
So, which casino of these three mentioned pisses me off?
The game EC played when Jackie was not a senile living legend but in charge was get 'em in on a deal and keep 'em happy and comfortable and maybe a little drunk, and then they would do what all gamblers do eventually, go on tilt and drop the bankroll. But the key was to keep presenting good will. Jackie was the absolute model of good will. A guy could come up, tell him he was out the bankroll and get a $20 bill to go off on his way. It worked then. It built an empire of casinos.
But perhaps times have changed.
Except for the refrigerator, the Gold Spike meets my needs and tosses in wifi in the room and TCM on the tele, and this time at least a pool I could be in for almost two hours when air temps were in the 40's.
Oh, Jimbo, ask for their supersized ice bucket. They have them. Then you go to the back of the bar and get that filled with ice. I saved leftover fajita bits in that makeshift fridge one night and there was still ice and cold meat to nibble in the morning.
From the Gold Spike, if I want to play poker at the El Cortez, I just stumble over.
But here is what happened this past trip. I started to care less about poker at the EC too, even though I have never been treated badly there by any staff. I ended up at the Cracked Aces games at IP and Flamingo where play builds hours for a freeroll (one caught $140 and required just $5 dealer tip at buy-in) And I began to look more carefully for games on the strip where the softer games are anyway. At those games I ran into many of the guys who once played the El Cortez game. So I did not even lose community.
And CET, at least over the past few years, gives me free rooms for poker play and cheap rates beyond the free rooms.
These games start well before anything is happening at EC.
I am thinking the times to play at EC are when I've gone to bed at 3-5 PM and am up after midnight fresh to face the guys up all night.
Fewer good players.
So, the El Cortez and I are both happy. They got rid of me to make way for the new upscale, money doesn't matter young crowd. And because I was looking other places, I found better deals.
Now I bring this up just because I want to let those of you who are frugal travelers and trying to win at all the gambling games, including those that start with booking a deal, know the options.
Having been going to the El Cortez since the days when my $1000 of VP play a day would get me mailed offers of 2 free rooms over 3 nights, and played poker with old Jackie for hours over the past couple decades, I had kind of built up that sense of a home casino and the Cabana rooms cinched that. they had me for as little as I am worth.
Then the fee dumped me out.
Now the Spike has me. I wish they had some decent gambling there.
I also suggest it is time to stop calling names to poor folks. Losers, fleas, nits, scum bags, low life etc are just not names people should need to suffer. So they have a bit less and don't live the lifestyle. So what. We don't call ethnic differences with derogatory names. Let's stop calling out the economic classes as well. They are poorer folks who don't gamble as much as rich tourists. I can see why they are not desirable casino hotel tenants. However, the idea that there are hordes of them beating on the doors of El Cortez hospitality is just a story being spread to keep the next economic level looking down at what they left, or where they might be going if the market crashes.
The "get them in, fleece them, and toss them out" casinos would like to have a scapegoat so this cold calculating policy can be blamed on those bad poor people who take so much advantage of all the good, real American folks.
It is just the newest in bean counter strategy to get more of the money, faster.