15 Reasons Las Vegas Sucks

And yet more people are going there than ever.


Here’s a sad fact: Las Vegas had more visitors in March than in any other month in its history. Sure, it’s the go-to place for conferences, events and conventions, which is why I have to go there about a dozen times a year. And each time I go I’m reminded of why I hate the place. I’m an experienced visitor to Las Vegas and you should know: Las Vegas sucks. And here are 15 reasons why.

The taxi cab drivers. Welcome to Vegas! After waiting in line for an hour in 95 degree heat at the airport you can then answer this question from your taxi driver: “Highway or local route to your hotel, sir?” As if you even know the difference. You’re the visitor, he’s the local guy — so why is he asking you this question? It’s so he can persuade you to take the highway because “it’s much, much faster” and, by the way (surprise!) much, much more expensive. You’re there for an hour and already the house won.

The “What stays in Vegas” morons. Those are the guys that start “woo-wooing” the minute they get on the plane, walk around with those stupid big red cups that they overpaid for and think they’re going to be cast in the next Hangover movie. They’re acting like the “party’s nonstop” even as they’re waiting to check in at the hotel. So here’s the truth: You’re not going to be in The Hangover 4. You will not be hanging out with Mike Tyson. You will be sitting next to a guy named Earl from Tupelo at the blackjack table and losing your shirt in a matter of hours. Oh, and you’ll be passed out by 10 p.m., Mr. party-man.

Those Hispanic card guys. They’re everywhere, on every corner, with creepy looks in their eyes and flipping these baseball cards that have big-breasted girls on them instead of baseball players advertising strip joints where you can meet those big-breasted girls. You feel sad for them. You feel sad for the girls on the cards. You pretend it’s not your problem. Ah … Vegas!

The aimless. These are the tourists from Alabama and Wisconsin, forever American in their colored shirts and blue jeans. Or the lost-looking couple who came all the way from China. Or the bewildered looking British family who want to get a “real sense” of America. They all walk aimlessly down the strip, oohing and ahhing. They think the fountain at the Bellagio is “wonderful” and the fake Eiffel Tower is “so realistic.” They’re senior citizens who are trying to be young. They’re 22-year-old girls trying to be old. They’re a group of guys trying to re-live their college days. In reality, they’re just a bunch of dollar signs to the casino-lords.

The Eiffel Tower and the indoor gondolas. You’re not in Paris. You’re not in Venice. Please stop taking pictures of these idiotic places like you are.

The $4 bottles of water. A cup of coffee in any Vegas casino is $3.50 and a bottle of water is $4.00. That’s the price you pay for being one of the coolest, hippest, trendiest people on earth at the Bellagio instead of just a guy stopping at the Street Road Wawa on the way to work.

The long lines.  Everywhere, anytime there is a line. You wait in line for a cab. You wait in line to check in. You wait for an elevator. You wait for a $4 bottle of water. You wait for a table. The only place where there’s no waiting is the casinos – you can gamble anywhere you like, any time of the day, and there’s no waiting whatsoever.

The hot, sexy models on billboards all over town. Take a look in the mirror, chief: You are not “sizzling.” You are not “sensual.” You don’t “come out to play.” You are, like me, overweight, pasty, out of shape, and tired. So stop believing their advertising. You don’t look like any of the models promoting those hot clubs. They won’t be there once you arrive. And even if they were there they wouldn’t pay attention to you for a minute. But the bartender charging you $15 for a margarita will!

The 5 a.m. gamblers. I usually get up at 5 a.m. and go down for a $3.50 coffee and without exception there are always still people gambling then. And believe me: These people did not just wake up like me. They’re chasing the dream, hoping that this last pull of the slot machine arm will solve all of their financial problems forever. It’s as sad as those card-flippers.

Elton John. There was a time when Elton John wasn’t fat, old and tired, when he had a voice that could actually go an octave or two above a foghorn. But people still pay through the nose to see him waddle on stage and regurgitate his 40-year-old songs before he jumps back on his jet to count the money on his way back to his home in Atlanta. He’s also as sad as those card flippers … although much richer. Here’s a better idea: Download Honky Chateau from iTunes and sit back and enjoy.

Gordon Ramsay. He’s opening up restaurants everywhere in town. There are huge posters of him glaring down at you from billboards, daring you to say something bad about his food. OK, here goes: overpriced, not enough, and clearly an exploitative way to make money off your name without actually doing anything but checking in a few times a year.

The locals. These are the employees of casinos and restaurants and anyone else who supports the tourist trade. They’re grateful for their jobs. They appreciate the significance of the tourist industry. But you know they think we’re idiots. How can then they not?

The guy on South Las Vegas Boulevard impersonating Zach Galifianakis. Yeah, I saw you wearing nothing but a diaper and sunglasses just like in the movie. Not bad. Not bad at all. Much better than those Fake Elvis guys who occupy every other corner.

The families on vacation. So there’s Yellowstone, the Rockies, beautiful rivers, majestic mountains, and a rich history. There’s New York, DC, Boston, Philly, San Fran, Chicago. There are Florida beaches, the Grand Canyon, the Caribbean. There’s even Disney. And that’s just in the U.S. So you take the one week out of the year for your family vacation and you bring the kids to … Vegas? WTF? Far from me to judge … well … I’m judging. Bad choice.

The gamblers at the airport. Really? You haven’t taken enough of a beating in the casinos? You really think you’re going to hit the jackpot while waiting for that redeye back to Philly?

The people I know who live in Las Vegas say it’s a great place to raise a family and the heat is bearable. That may be true. But I don’t see that Vegas. I see the strip. A dozen times a year. And it sucks.

Follow @GeneMarks on Twitter.

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