How Off-Strip Las Vegas Hotels & Casinos Can Offer Both Luxury And Better Odds

Written By Marc Meltzer on November 12, 2021 - Last Updated on November 25, 2021

The Vegas Strip is often the part of Las Vegas tourists think of when they plan on visiting Sin City. According to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, the majority of visitors stay on the Vegas Strip when arriving in the city. In its last full Visitor Profile in 2019, nearly 90% of tourists who gambled in Las Vegas, did so on the Strip.

A partial Visitor Profile in early 2021 showed that 55% of tourists visiting Las Vegas ventured to downtown Las Vegas. This is a larger percentage visiting downtown Las Vegas than each of the past four years. This migration isn’t only happening towards downtown Las Vegas.

There are reasons to leave the Vegas Strip. Prices for everything from hotel rooms to fine dining are often lower simply by visiting a casino a few minutes away from the Vegas Strip. There’s also more affordable gambling with player-friendly rules and potentially better returns at off-Strip casinos.

During a recent earnings call, Stephen Cootey, executive vice president, chief financial officer & treasurer for Red Rock Resorts (Station Casinos) said:

“We are starting to see that regional out-of-town guests kind of push over, particularly into the higher-end properties.”

Cootey was answering a question on whether or not guests who are now visiting Las Vegas are visiting Station Casinos’ off-Strip casinos. The answer was a resounding yes. But tourists aren’t looking to trade down when staying away from the Vegas Strip. Red Rock Casino and Green Valley Ranch are Station’s high-end properties.

Exploring Las Vegas casinos and resorts off the Vegas Strip

There’s truly no experience quite like the Vegas Strip. The glitz and glamour everyone is familiar with will always remain on Las Vegas Boulevard. The luxury hotels, nightclubs, large entertainment venues, shows, spas and fine dining with world-renowned chefs are all inside Vegas Strip casinos. That said, it’s busy nearly year-round, and there are plenty of these attractions to explore with more always being planned.

But more visitors seem to be exploring what else Las Vegas has to offer for a few reasons. Prices on everything on the Vegas Strip are higher. Nevada casino operators continue to make the gaming rules and odds swing more in their favor. The COVID-19 pandemic changed how people enjoy life. Having fewer people around and outdoor options are more important than ever.

One of the misconceptions for not leaving the Vegas Strip is that everything off-Strip is a downgrade. That’s an old observation. Off-Strip properties have been upgrading for years and offer a better experience than ever.

Downtown Las Vegas

Downtown Las Vegas may be a more popular destination because the casino corridor is walkable. It takes about 15 minutes to walk from one end of the Fremont Street Experience to the El Cortez which is just past the mall of casinos. For comparison, it might take 15 minutes to walk from one end of a large Vegas Strip casino to the other.

The history in this part of Las Vegas is a draw. The El Cortez, Golden Gate and Plaza are vintage Las Vegas casinos. Meanwhile, the Golden Nugget offers a downtown Las Vegas resort experience that’s similar to the Vegas Strip with fine dining, shows, a great pool and a spa. Circa is the newest downtown Las Vegas casino and is the most modern property in the area.

Free outdoor entertainment at the Fremont Street Experience is also an attraction. It’s nice to take a break from the casino and enjoy entertainment, fresh air and a cool beverage outdoors.

Off-Strip

Heading outside of the two Las Vegas tourist corridors opens up even more unique experiences. The casinos around Las Vegas are created with locals in mind.

These casinos can be seen as malls with gambling for some visitors. The off-Strip casinos may have movie theaters, bowling alleys, food courts, arcades and even child care centers like a mall. They also have full-sized casinos, sportsbooks, bars, restaurants and entertainment venues visitors to Las Vegas are used to.

The off-Strip casinos used to be exclusively considered budget properties with few amenities. This has changed a lot over the past decade. Yes, there are still plenty of budget-friendly casinos away from the Strip.

However, there are more than a few luxury properties that closely match what the Vegas Strip has to offer and then some. Properties like Red Rock Casino, M Resort and Green Valley Ranch offer luxury resorts away from the Vegas Strip.

Each has beautiful hotel rooms, luxurious spas, fine dining, great pool complexes and better gambling than most Vegas Strip casinos. The biggest difference in these casinos from the Vegas Strip is that they don’t have the same level of entertainment and there are no nightclubs.

The benefit of these properties is that they’re about 20-30 minutes from the hustle and bustle on the Vegas Strip. Staying at an off-Strip resort is a different Las Vegas experience since there aren’t many, if any, casinos within walking distance from one another.

If staying closer to the tourist parts of Las Vegas is important, Golden Nugget and Circa in downtown Las Vegas both offer a casino experience close to those on the Vegas Strip.

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Gambling off-Strip

Many casinos away from the Vegas Strip have better gaming rules with lower minimum bets. Almost every game from blackjack to cash slots have better returns than Vegas Strip casinos.

There are plenty of 3:2 blackjack games at most off-Strip casinos. Most blackjack games on the Vegas Strip pay 6:5 when a player is dealt a natural blackjack. This difference greatly alters the house edge to the casino.

Craps games with 10x odds are available at many casinos off the Vegas Strip. The best odds available for live dealer craps games on the Vegas Strip have 3x-4x-5x odds depending on which number a player wants to add free odds to their bet. Obviously getting paid 10 times is better than 3, 4 or 5 times for the players.

Triple Zero Roulette is popping up at more Vegas Strip casinos. The vast majority of roulette games have a lower house edge for the casino and only two zeros.

Video poker players can find better pay tables and higher returns with perfect play in off-Strip casinos. Similarly, slot machines at off-Strip casinos typically have better returns. The farther away from the Vegas Strip, the better, usually.

Photo by Nagel Photography / Shutterstock
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Written by
Marc Meltzer

Marc grew up on the mean streets of the South Bronx. He's the rare combination of Yankees and Jets fan which explains his often contrarian point of view. Marc is a freelance writer and social media consultant. Writing about steak, booze, gambling and Las Vegas is a tough job but somebody has to do it.

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