Thursday, March 22, 2012
Loud, Big And Boring, The New York New York Casino In Las Vegas Is Disappointing!
The Good: Big, Shopping/Entertainment
The Bad: Big, Unimpressive games, Terrible odds, Unremarkable once inside.
The Basics: A disappointing Las Vegas casino, the New York New York Casino is just big and unmemorable.
In my experience with gambling so far, I have discovered something important: I would rather have good games, an interesting atmosphere and/or a unique gambling experience as opposed to spend my time in a place that feels like a corporate gambling facility. By that, I mean that a lot of the bigger chains of casinos have been disappointing me and leaving me feeling like I am unimportant or unwanted in their casinos. There is an atmosphere in these places that trade on their name alone that the gamblers who keep them in business are not at all important and they do not need to impress them in any meaningful way. That is how I have felt whenever I have gone to an MGM owned casino. Over the last two years, I've been to three of them in Las Vegas, the MGM Grand, the Excalibur (reviewed here!) and MGM's New York New York Casino, arguably the most bland of the bunch.
The New York New York Casino seems to be trading only on the interest people on the West Coast have in New York City. Inside, it is a remarkably average and bland casino with little to recommend it. It is big, filled with places to shop and is in virtually every way unremarkable. On the outside, the building has a façade of recognizable skyscrapers from New York City, but inside, this is virtually identical to the MGM Grand!
New York New York Casino: came in with $5.00, left with $0.00.
The New York New York Casino is a massive hotel and casino located at 3790 Las Vegas Boulevard South in Las Vegas, Nevada. For those unfamiliar with Las Vegas, Las Vegas Boulevard is more commonly referred to as The Strip, the highest concentration of the most famous casinos in Las Vegas. The New York New York Casino is one of the largest casinos on the Strip, and it is part of a large block of MGM-owned casinos just off the "miracle mile" which is a high-shopping-dominated part of the Strip.
The New York New York Casino has a parking garage, but my partner and I just parked at the MGM Grand's and walked over via a skyway. There is a multilevel parking garage in the New York New York Casino, but we did not experience it. The New York New York Casino boasts over three thousand video slot machines and that makes it one of the larger ones in Las Vegas. The thing is, when one is in such a large casino, they often forget that the casino is trading on name and flash and they don't need to have great games or great odds on them. It did not take long for my partner and I to lose at the New York New York Casino and I noticed that in all of our spins, neither of us hit even a minor payoff (i.e. our $5.00 went straight down, without even a minor - few cents - recovery!).
The New York New York Casino is a huge casino in Las Vegas and it feels like it is capitalizing on the space it has. All of the ceilings are high, all of the carpets are clean and the place feels like one massive hotel. The casino is spaced and dressed up to look like a chic New York City establishment. It is big and appropriately crowded and the lighting is bright and flashy. The lights from the video slot machines play off bright wall lights so one feels visually overwhelmed almost the moment one walks in. The main gaming floor is huge and situated with massive numbers of video slot machines headed in different directions to make traveling through them difficult; no matter how fast you want to get through this casino, you'll be obstructed by a bank of video slot machines if you keep moving forward.
The high ceilings should help dissipate the cigarette and cigar smoke that is prevalent in the casino, but for some reason the place still has a rather pungent tobacco scent. For those sensitive to such things, this remains a severe drawback to the New York New York Casino. There is at least one nonsmoking poker room, but to my knowledge, there was no nonsmoking video slot room. The whole physical atmosphere is rather stuffy, crowded and smoky.
As for the "atmosphere" of the New York New York Casino, the servers wear tuxedo shirts and slacks. The servers were few and far between and this casino was most memorable for me in that it was so crowded and loud it was constantly uncomfortable and awkward for us to move through. The staff we spoke with was somewhat bored, but friendly. As far as other aspects of "atmosphere," this is a relatively nondescript casino and it is easy to get lost in the large, indistinct turns and corners in this casino.
Gaming Options/Player's Club
I have a very simple gambling philosophy: I sit down at a slot machine with $5.00. I work it up to $10 or down to zero. I know my limits: I can afford to lose $5.00. So, when I am above that, I'll usually work it up or whittle it down to the next even $5.00. Have a strategy, know your limits: the New York New York Casino worked quite well for me. I arrived, tried my hand at my "Survivor," and lost all $5.00. I did not get a single win off the entire $5.00. Given we stopped at the New York New York Casino after visiting the Excalibur, we opted to leave the MGM-owned casinos before we lost more money!
I'm primarily a slot machine player and I have no shame in admitting, I tend to like the ones that are more girly themed or video game-like. The New York New York Casino had a very banal selection of video slot machines, including Enchanted Unicorn, Goldfish Gold, "Alien," Wheel of Fortune, Deal Or No Deal, "Survivor," "Happy Days," "Money Storm," and hundreds of others. The New York New York Casino had a very standard selection of games, most of which I could find at my local, state-owned casinos back in Upstate New York! Like the other MGM-owned casinos, the New York New York Casino seemed to have a lot of older video slots.
For those who might be into games of chance and card games instead of the fun and controlled reinforcement of video slot machines, there are several tables with table games, including a nonsmoking poker room. As well, they have the standard tables of blackjack, roulette wheels, seven card stud, Texas Hold-em, and Omaha. There is also a sports betting segment, but that's not truly my thing. They also have Keno, which seems to be a pretty standard Vegas thing.
There is a player's club at the New York New York Casino, which is the MGM Mirage Players Club. Signing up is easy, but there were no incentives to signing up here. Points here are accrued based upon how much money one bets in combination with time spent at a machine. The points accrue through some mystery formula and after two years of gambling with my MGM Mirage Players Club card - now at three different Vegas casinos - I've accumulated a single point.
The New York New York Casino seems to be trading on some mythical interest in New York City, which I didn't "get." No one I ran into in Las Vegas said, "I wish I were in New York City now instead of here!" The entertainment options seem to be mimicking the entertainment options of the City with things like Cirque du Soleil and a goth nightclub type experience. As well, there are bars mimicking Times Square (NOTHING like the actual Times Square), a roller coaster (where do they think there's a roller coaster in New York City?!) and several nightclub type experiences.
More than anything - even with the Coyote Ugly club - this seems to be perpetuating a distorted concept of what New York City actually is. This is kind of like a "Sex & The City" version of New York.
The New York New York Casino was part of a five casino day for us, so we did not eat here. There are nine different places to eat, most of which are oddly counted as part of the "entertainment" aspect of the New York New York Casino. In addition to a steakhouse and a fine dining restaurant, there is an ESPN sports bar, as well as a coffee house. The most prevalent dining experiences in this casino are bars and they were of no interest to my partner or I while we were in Vegas.
The New York New York Casino has a few big names to shop at outside the hotel gift shop. As one of the casinos at the base of the Miracle Mile, they feel the need to compete with all of the big name stores on the Strip right above it. There are places like the Harley Davidson shop and the Cirque du Soleil shop for Zumanity. There are also places that are essentially gift shops for New York City and Las Vegas themed merchandise.
Like most shopping at a casino in Las Vegas, it's ridiculously expensive to shop at the Excalibur.
The New York New York Casino is just a big, boring casino in Las Vegas that feels like exactly what it is: a giant, flavorless, corporate-owned casino with little flash and less substance.
For other casino reviews, please check out my takes on:
Hard Rock Cafe & Casino Las Vegas
The Rio Casino
For all of my travel reviews, please visit my Travel Review Index Page for an organized listing of all the destinations and hotels I have reviewed!
© 2012, 2009 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.