Hello Friends and Family,

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Las Vegas, Part 2

And is here is an interesting painting on the wall at one place that New York, New York makes its money — or actually just below this spot — the check-in/check-out/cashier area. By the way, I have yet to find a Las Vegas hotel that has figured out how to get guests checked in quickly. You would think that would be the the highest priority — get those gamblers out to the tables or slots.

Another spot where they rake in the cash — the betting parlor. You want to put $100 on the Patriots, giving up seven points. Go right ahead but don't be surprised if you lose that bet. Half will.

One of the oddities of Las Vegas is that the majority of gamblers choose to play the slot machines — despite the fact that they have the worst payout of all the "games of chance" offered by the casinos. I guess it's easy to play. Anyway, as a result there is a huge amount of floor space devoted to slots — and a huge variety of lights and sounds to attract those suckers.

Something new since my last visit is Hershey's Chocolate World with candy bars and kisses but also with chocolate alcoholic beverages. I guess it is offered as competition to M&M World just across the street.

A closer look at the slots. It was early and few people were playing. I was surprised that the security folks did not seem to care if I was taking photos on the gaming floor. That used to be a real no-no.

Although the lights were low (my guess is to allow the machine's light show to take front and center) it did not seem dark. Fortunately, since there were very few gamblers there was no cigarette smoke yet. Wait until the evening — it will get thick.

Here in the foreground are some of the gaming tables (Las Vegas never calls it "gambling") — 21 and Roulette.

New York, New York also has a very nice game room for the kids — Johnny already expressed a desire to come here in the afternoon. Thinking about it, I suspect it serves a dual purpose — both to keep the kids entertained while the parents gamble but also to train the kids in preparation for when they are old enough to visit the "gaming floor".

One of the machines that prepares the kids for future disappointment on the gaming floor is The Claw. (Warning, old person's story coming.) When I was a kid and we went to Ocean City, MD, we also had The Claw except it was offered in a beautiful wooden box with glass windows inside of which was a crane that you could turn to your desired position above the treasure you were trying to win. Then you put your nickel in and it would drop the three-pronged claw to try and retrieve that treasure. Even if we missed, we would generally still grab a marble or two. (End of old person's story.)

These machines use high-tech plastic, big glass panes, bright flashing lights and electronic noise that barely resemble those machines of my youth. Unfortunately, these do not give you a consolation prize. Further, I learned recently that these machines can be programmed to control the frequency of delivering prizes. Sounds just like slot machines. Kids (expecting to grow to become adult slot players) play attention!

They did have a nice collection of pin ball machines, no two of which were alike. Surprisingly, Johnny had never played a real pin ball machine — just the simulations on his iPhone and iPad. Later in the afternoon, he actually really enjoyed playing the physical machines much more that I expected. And, of course, it makes no sense to tell him stories of when I was young and that all we had were the physical games. Not impressed.

To be continued...

Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com