Friday October 23, 2015 - part 2
First stop on walkabout was the Downtown Grand, where we were dying to know the details about the 'Canadian Money at Par' promotion.
They have a new Canadian CEO and he is using his geopolitical knowledge of the gambling populace known as 'hosers' to his advantage, to appeal to same. In fact, from what we saw, the new guy, Jim Simms, might be just the ticket for the struggling Grand, and that's not just because of his rhyming nomenclature or his size 99 Canadian hockey player balls.
OK I made up the balls part. I don't really know what size they are.
We strolled down Ogden in the amazing perfect October weather - bright, bright sun, and caressing 76 degree breezy air. Oh my Gad it is wonderful. There's really no better time to be in Vegas, if you don't count spring, summer, and winter.
First things first - to be successful the Grand has to make itself known to the huge customer base strolling Fremont. To this end, they've changed out the generic 'Casino' sign out front for one that says, cryptically, 'Grand'. It's actually a no brainer and it should have been that way from the get go two years ago pretty much to the day, when the place opened, and we were there, and I got a hat which I still wear.
Hats are important promotional items. Inexplicably, though, even though I know all this stuff, I seem to have not taken a picture of the new sign. But trust me, it says 'Grand'.
Hopefully the Downtown Grand Las Vegas won't mind if I borrow one of their photos, shown below:
Another sign has been erected (!) on the block of 3rd street leading to Fremont. Again, good. Hopefully, they will start to heavily promote themselves right on Fremont by having scantilly clad beautiful women hand out match play coupons to me. (Maybe they are not allowed?... why else wouldn't they be doing this???)
Inside the Grand, changes continue. They seem to have put up some large panels in the ceiling in at lease one place that hides the 'furnace room' look the place sports, and brightens it considerably. Makes it cozy.
The staff have new uniforms. Always a key expenditure when a place is losing money. But no, really, they look very natty.
They are building out an additional little alcove just to the north of the front doors for more slot machines. Another smart move.
At the cage, I asked about the CAD at par promo and indeed you DO have to be staying at the Grand to take advantage of it. And here's another key piece of info - you can use the promo on your check-out day. So for a three night stay which some Canadians may have booked (ahem), you can change $500 CAD per person per day for $500 US slot play, four times.
This is a really smart promo, and really valuable.
Next - you can indeed play the slot play on video poker.
So how it works is simple. You show your passport and hand over say $100 CAD. They put $100 play on your card, which you access on the machine just like freeplay.
I'm hoping to meet Jim Simms sometime so we can talk about maple syrup, what happened to the Jays, and gambling.
Now, on to the El Cortez... I had filed six US tax returns for like the last 4 years of gambling to get back the tax withheld in cases where our losses offset the wins. And we'd received three checks so far, which we brought with us.
El Cortez has a promo where you can cash various types of government cheques and you get a 5% bonus in freeplay up to $50. We thought we'd try it and by God it worked. Easy peasy.
I got $31 and the Quad Queen got $38. Since the checks were in US funds anyway, and we planned to piss them away gambling anyway like the degens that we are, this was a very savvy financial move. They give you vouchers along with the cash from your check to take to the slot club - the slot club (I daresay Jackie's Club, and if you've ever seen Jackie's club, well, you know that the rumors about him were very true, and prominent).
We played some at the El Cortez (just as they had hoped!) and we lost. (Just as they had hoped!). Fuckers. (Just as they had - oh whatever.)
|The oddest set of denominations I've ever seen.|
|It's been a while since we felt the firm presence of Jackie's Club.|