The Top 7 Las Vegas Mines Games Bonus Casinos That Aren’t on the Strip

The Top 7 Las Vegas Mines Games Bonus Casinos That Aren’t on the Strip

When visiting Sin City for the first time, tourists invariably pony up the extra dough to book a few nights on the fabulous Las Vegas Strip.

The fountains at Bellagio, the miniature Eiffel Tower at Paris, the great pyramid at Luxor, and the massive lion statue at MGM Grand – the iconic images of Las Vegas are almost always found along The Strip. First-time visitors to Las Vegas pay a premium to stay on The Strip for that very reason, and indeed, their initial experience is usually entertaining and eventful.

But for most denizens of the desert casino scene, a second stay on The Strip reveals the area’s status as the classic tourist trap.

Drinks are overpriced and underpoured. The sidewalks are crowded and congested. Even the basic payouts for games like blackjack and video poker are scaled back ever so slightly, putting players at a deeper disadvantage.

Throw in traffic, drunks, and the heat island effect, and The Strip’s appeal can quickly wear off for repeat visitors.

Thankfully, the city of Las Vegas is widespread and diverse, with the surrounding suburban areas offering several “Off-Strip” casino options. Places like Henderson, the Boulder Highway, and Fremont Street in the old Downtown district are home to dozens of casinos, each known for catering to the serious gambling community.

At a good Off-Strip casino, guests find luxurious amenities, world class cuisine, and entertainment on tap, just like they would at a megaresort in the heart of The Strip.

What separates these venues from their big brothers on Las Vegas Boulevard is value, plain and simple.

The room rates are lower, the buffet lines cost less, and across the board the odds are tilted toward the player. And this isn’t because you’re receiving subpar service; it’s exactly the opposite, in fact.

Off-Strip casinos are forced to compete with the industry’s titans, and their operators know a huge portion of Las Vegas’ overall tourism rate flows to The Strip by default. In order to get people in the door, Off-Strip casinos need a hook, so to speak – and that hook is value.

In the gambling world, where every dollar saved equates to a dollar won, playing your favorite games at an Off-Strip casino immediately adds a few factors in your favor.

These casinos tend to offer the old 3 to 2 payouts on blackjack, for example, rather than the watered-down 6 to 5 alternative you’ll get on The Strip.

Video poker games are set to offer the full pay table for various games, so you’ll find 9/6 Jacks or Better instead of the 8/6 or 9/5 versions that offer worse odds. And on the craps table, you can find some of the highest odds bets in town, which turns one of gambling’s rare neutral expectation wagers into a potential goldmine.

All in all, finding your favorite Off-Strip casino should be considered a rite of passage for regular visitors to Las Vegas. Once you’ve been there and done that on The Strip, heading out to explore the rest of the city can be a rush, simply because you’re saving money while enjoying the same Sin City experience.

To help you plan your next excursion off Las Vegas’ beaten path, I present my personal list of the seven best Off-Strip casinos in America’s gambling capital:

1 – M Resort in Henderson

At the tender age of five years old, as Anthony Marnell III enjoyed a tour of the Maxim Hotel and Casino alongside his father Tony, the future of Las Vegas casino gambling changed forever.

The elder Marnell had designed the Maxim, which went on to become the modern-day Westin, through his architectural and construction firm – and he went on to develop Las Vegas landmarks like the Mirage, Treasure Island, Bellagio, and Wynn Las Vegas for casino mogul Steve Wynn.

M Resort in Henderson

But his son wound up forging a slightly different path, building his own casino from the ground up. After purchasing a plot of land down Las Vegas Boulevard 12 miles south from The Strip, Marnell III embarked upon an ambitious $1 billion construction project to build M Resort.

The gorgeous property opened to the public in 2009, immediately garnering a coveted four-star rating from the prestigious Forbes Travel Guide – an award it’s won every year since.

An extension of the opulent Southern Highlands suburb which surrounds it, M Resort looks for all the world like an expensive destination catering to the high roller crowd.

And while the interior décor is certainly upscale and the service is impeccable, Marnell III designed M Resort to offer an affordable alternative to The Strip’s money pits.

When his pride and joy opened, the Las Vegas Sun published a glowing profile on Marnell and M Resort, in which the owner described his personal approach to casino management:

“The casino owner’s ego is always talking about ‘mine’s bigger, better and newer and you haven’t seen it before. People don’t care about all this bigger and better stuff.

They come here with their hard earned money — and every day they realize how hard earned it is — and they’re going to spend it where they’re going to get value. They want to know that they are going be taken care of, and that you’re going to treat them like they want to be treated.

That’s not what service is about (in Las Vegas) anymore. Good customer service doesn’t necessarily mean more people, it just means having the right people and continually motivating people along the way.”

Unfortunately for Marnell III, the timing of M Resort’s debut coincided with the Great Recession, and flat performance forced him to sell the venue to Penn National Gaming just one year later. However, he did remain on as president, while giving up an ownership stake, so Marnell III is still guiding M Resort’s vision. But that bit of insider business aside, M Resort never broke stride, and today the property stands out as a master class in Off-Strip casino design.

The 390 guest rooms are larger and more spacious than industry standard, with rates as low as $100 throughout the week. Spa Mio, M Pool, and the Villaggio Del Sole Pool and Entertainment Piazza combine for all the swimming and sun you can ask for. I’m talking about an infinity pool, hot tubs, poolside cocktail delivery, and even a live DJ in the exclusive DayDream area.

At mealtime, Anthony’s Prime Steak and Seafood, Jayde Fuzion, and Marinelli’s Pasta Bar are among my personal favorites, but you’ll find a dozen or more other options to choose from.

With over 100,000 square feet of floor space, M Resort is also one of the most expansive casinos in Sin City.

You’ll find 48 table games on the premises, plus 1,502 slot and video poker machines – all under a unique open-air ceiling design that allows natural light to flow in.

Trust me when I tell you that there’s nothing in the world like enjoying your favorite casino games in the comfort of sunlight, without flashing fluorescents and smoke obscuring the view. Everything manages to feel fresh and light within the M Resort casino area, which is no small feat for a gambling hall.

Games like craps, roulette, blackjack, mini baccarat, Pai Gow Poker, and Three Card Poker are carefully laid out into four distinct gaming areas, which makes finding your favorite table a breeze. And staying true to Marnell III’s spirit, the service from dealers and floor staff will leave you speechless.

At every turn, employees at M Resort smile, ask your name, and make sure you’re on the right path. The goal for Marnell III is to return Las Vegas accommodations to the personalized service of old, where pit bosses and managers took the time to know and reward their regular customers.

But even if you’re just passing through, the folks at M Resort take great pride in treating tourists and locals alike as part of one big family.

That’s just one reason why I prefer M Resort over similar properties on The Strip – but it’s the most important. Part of the appeal of venturing away from the megaresorts is leaving the corporatized culture of The Strip behind.

Despite the 2010 takeover, Marnell III has ensured that M Resort lives up to his vision of an affordable, customer-friendly casino where players are the priority.

2 – Green Valley Ranch Resort in Henderson

The centerpiece of the Station Resorts’s empire is Green Valley Ranch, a sprawling Mediterranean-style resort situated in the upscale Green Valley neighborhood of Henderson.

By linking directly with The District – a mixed-use commercial area comprised of shops, restaurants, and retail spaces – Green Valley Ranch’s entertainment appeal goes far beyond gambling.

Whether you’re being pampered in the 35,000-square-foot spa, swimming and diving at the 8-acre pool area, catching a flick at the Regal Cinemas movie theatre, or shopping the day away over at The District, Green Valley Resort is built to please.

The 500 guest rooms were also renovated recently to meet the most modern of luxury standards, and as a AAA Four Diamond-rated hotel, Green Valley Ranch is definitely one of the nicer places to stay in the city.

The Discovery Channel agreed, and in 2004 – just three years after Green Valley Ranch opened – the network set up shop to begin filming on “American Casino.”

The reality series tracked the professional goings-on of the casino’s staff, from Station Casinos president Lorenzo Fertitta to pastry chef James Fricker. The show was cut short after two seasons, but in that time millions of viewers were invited to watch firsthand how dedicated service sets Green Valley Ranch apart from the rest.

For me, that begins at any of the property’s world-class fine dining establishments, including Hank’s Fine Steaks & Martinis, Pizza Rock – home of 12-time world pizza champion Tony Gemignani, and the acclaimed Clique Hospitality restaurants Borracha and Bottiglia.

Green Valley Ranch Resort

With so much going on, you’d be forgiven for forgetting about gambling during your first trip to Green Valley Ranch – but when it’s time to play, this place is a player’s paradise. Imagine, if you will, a casino floor spread out over 143,891 square feet, with 55 table games running around the clock, and 2,200 slot and video poker machines sprinkled throughout every nook and cranny.

On the blackjack tables, expect to find $5 to $25 stakes. The game uses a double deck rather than a six- or eight-deck shoe, and best of all, you’ll always score 3 to 2 on blackjacks – not the inferior 6 to 5 payout popularized by the corporate big boys on The Strip.

Along with the dealer hitting on soft 17s and re-splitting on aces permitted, the house edge on blackjack at Green Valley Ranch drops down from 0.50 percent to 0.40 percent.

And this extremely player-friendly setup isn’t limited to low rollers, either.

If you head to the Green Valley Ranch high-limit area, you can enjoy the same rules and gameplay while betting at $50 minimums.

That sort of value is huge for sharp gamblers, and it’s all part and parcel of what makes Off-Strip gambling great.

When you hit the craps table, you’ll enjoy the favorable 3x – 4x – 5x setup on odds bets, with a nice $5 minimum.

If you’ve never played live craps and are still a bit intimidated by the whole thing, I’d recommend checking out the “Shoot to Win” craps machines by Aruze. These games let players figure the game out on their own, using a button to activate a “bubble popper” that rolls a pair of oversized dice. Usually electronic versions of classic table games are money traps, but not at Green Valley Ranch.

Their bubble popper craps machine uses a $1 minimum (with a $250 maximum), and players can take odds bets of up to 5x.

It’s the same deal at the roulette tables, too, with a low $5 combined minimum for inside and/or outside bets. You’ll be spinning the American double zero wheel, though, so expect to face the 5.26 percent house edge rate.

And if you prefer to get your feet wet on a machine simulation, try “Organic Roulette,” an electronic machine alternative. The wheel and ball are still real, but instead of spreading chips around at a crowded table, you can simply click your wagers into a touch screen.

For baccarat players, a $5 minimum is in place on the “mini” edition of the game. If you prefer traditional baccarat where players can squeeze their cards, head over to the high-limit room, where the minimum climbs to $50. In each case, you can take advantage of the popular Dragon bonus side bet if you’re feeling lucky.

Other table games to choose from at Green Valley Ranch include Ultimate Texas Hold’em, Pai Gow Poker, Crazy Four Poker, Let It Ride, and Three Card Poker.

The rooms here are a bit pricey, beginning at $60 and climbing to $280 for the best suites, but between the all-inclusive nature of the property and the most player-friendly gambling in town, Green Valley Ranch is well worth it.

3 – The Golden Nugget in Downtown Las Vegas

When your grandfather regales you with tales of his Sin City exploits, he’s not talking about the megaresort monstrosities lining The Strip.

No, the old timers used to get their gamble on along Fremont Street in Downtown Las Vegas, home to a handful of the most iconic casinos in all of America. The Riviera, Showboat, Binion’s Horseshoe – and of course, the Golden Nugget Las Vegas.

Constructed way back in 1946, the Golden Nugget might seem like just another relic of Las Vegas history, especially from the outside looking in.

Admittedly, the Fremont Street district isn’t what it used to be, and despite a movement in recent years towards renovation and revival, the Downtown area can be a bit dilapidated.

Golden Nugget Casino

Which is why so many regular Vegas visitors take their action to the Golden Nugget. This place combines the budget-friendly prices that define Fremont Street – think $49 per room and up – with an elegance and sophistication that’s straight from The Strip’s more luxurious venues.

Marble floors meet gilded columns and vaulted ceilings. The furniture is fresh and modern. And everywhere you look, the touch of gold lends a palatial vibe throughout the entire interior.

Simply put, when you walk inside the Golden Nugget, you’ll instantly be transported from Fremont Street to one of Las Vegas’ most fabulous casinos.

Where else would you find a massive gold nugget known as the “Hand of Faith,” weighing in at an absurd 874.82 ounces?

And for the film buffs out there, be sure to search for the backgrounds and settings used in classics like Elvis Presley’s Viva Las Vegas (1964) and the James Bond flick Diamonds Are Forever (1971).

At one point, the Golden Nugget was the biggest game in town, and while some things have certainly changed, that sense of pride in seven decades worth of memories remains indelible.

A renovation project completed in 2014 upgraded all 462 guest rooms spanning the 1st through 15th floor, a fact noted proudly by Golden Nugget vice president of marketing and advertising, Lauren Westerfield, at the time:

“We are committed to constantly maintaining the highest standards when it comes to our property.

With these renovations we are ensuring that we are positioned as the most upscale resort in downtown Las Vegas while remaining an affordable option as well.”

In terms of dining options, EAT Grotto Italian Ristorante is a Michelin-recommended eatery, Chart House is home to Downtown’s best seafood, and Vic & Anthony’s Steakhouse is always a treat. In addition, the famous Golden Nugget buffet puts over 100 dishes spanning the culinary spectrum within arm’s reach.

One reason for the Golden Nugget’s renaissance is the influence of casino mogul Steve Wynn. Before he spearheaded The Strip’s genesis with megaresorts like The Mirage, Treasure Island, the eponymously-named Wynn, and its sequel Encore, Wynn became the youngest casino owner in Las Vegas in 1971 when he took over ownership of the Golden Nugget.

Wynn’s famous flair for the extravagant was immediately evident, as he revived the slumping Golden Nugget through a series of renovations, expansions, and improvements.

Although he sold his interest in the Golden Nugget in 2000, Wynn’s indelible influence on the property can be seen in every amenity and attraction.

Take the Tank Pool as an example. The Golden Nugget’s casino facility is built around an incredible three-level swimming pool that weaves in and out of a fully functional saltwater aquarium. Guests are invited to shoot down a towering waterslide, going face to face with massive 300-pound tiger sharks as they plunge into the pool below.

Unique adventures like this are what Las Vegas entertainment is all about, a fact Wynn knew instinctually as he built the Golden Nugget into what it is today.

When you’re finished exploring the premises and find yourself looking to join the action, the Golden Nugget never disappoints. The gaming floor spans 56,000 square feet, and while that’s only half of what’s found at a typical casino resort on The Strip, all of your favorite table games, slots, and video poker machines can be found in abundance.

Specifically, the Golden Nugget spreads 55 table games and 1,400 slot and video poker machines throughout the casino – which is right on par with a few of the older venues on The Strip.

For a slice of the old days, try one of the holdover slots that still use coins rather than cards or vouchers. It’s a little less efficient, but there’s nothing quite like grabbing a handful of quarters and dumping them in an overflowing bucket to get the gambling juices flowing.

Those machines are there to please a niche crowd, however, so you can expect to find your favorite modern video slots, too – complete with card scanners and all the latest technological accoutrements.

The Golden Nugget is also home to a 13-table poker room – one of the largest on Fremont Street – along with a modernized race and sportsbook that rivals a few of those found on The Strip.

But by far the best part about heading Off-Strip and staying at the Golden Nugget is the player-friendly odds and payouts you’ll enjoy. Craps players will find the 3x – 4x – 5x system in use for odds bets, which beats the rate found on The Strip by a mile.

Blackjack aficionados don’t have to suffer through diluted 6 to 5 payouts for making the game’s best hand, as the Rush Lounge is home to 3 to 2 payouts for just a $15 minimum. And if video poker is your thing, take full advantage of the 9/6 full-pay Jacks or Better machines, and full-pay tables on all variants, for that matter.

The whole point of bringing your action Off-Strip is value, after all, and the Golden Nugget knows this better than most venues.

From the low room rates, the discounted entertainment options found along the Fremont Street Experience, and, of course, favorable odds and payouts across the board, the Golden Nugget combines the best of both worlds – a local’s casino built with tourists in mind.

4 – Red Rock Casino Resort and Spa in Summerlin

One of the most extravagant and luxurious casinos in all of Las Vegas is also one of the city’s best-kept secrets.

Red Rock Casino Resort and Spa is nestled in the glitzy golf resort suburb of Summerlin, about 30 minutes northwest of The Strip.

Red Rock Casino Resort

Before you even park the car, you’ll get a sense of what this place is all about when you see The Shops, a luxury mall complex located just across the street. The Shops is home to 125 stores and restaurants, including Macy’s, Dillard’s, Nordstrom Rack, Michael Kors, Sur La Table, and Trader Joe’s.

As soon as you enter the actual Red Rock Resort, that sense of sophistication only intensifies, what with Swarovski crystal chandeliers worth $6 million dangling from the ceilings, and original pieces by famed artists modern artists like Takashi Murakami, Vik Muniz, and Paul McCarthy hung from the walls.

Thanks to a $35 million renovation project undertaken in 2014 by ownership group Station Casino, Red Rock Casino Resort boasts one of the finest blends of interior design and amenities in all of Las Vegas.

In a profile published that year by Travel Weekly to preview the upgraded digs, Station Casinos vice president of corporate communications Lori Nelson summed up the Off-Strip industry leader’s reasoning for renovating Red Rock Casino Resort:

“This is the crown jewel in our family, and it’s really important that the guest feels that, no matter what space they’re in.

It was time to invest in making sure this destination looks beautiful, provides a lot of entertainment offerings and gives our guests another reason to check us out. We talk to our guests. We ask them what they want. A lot of these decisions are based on what we hear from our guests.

We’ve really grown a tourist clientele that is a discriminating guest to Vegas.

They’ve kind of been there, done that on the Strip. They want the excitement of Vegas, but they don’t want the chaos and the crowds.”

You’ll surely find the excitement of Vegas at Red Rock Casino Resort, as the property includes 87,000 square feet of gaming space.

The table game selection spans 68 of your favorites, from blackjack, baccarat, roulette, and craps to Casino War, Pai Gow Poker, and Zappit Blackjack.

A full race and sportsbook with seating for 260 is the perfect place to catch the game, and Texas hold’em players will find tournaments and cash games running around the clock in the 18-seat poker room.

And if you’re a machine player, you’re in luck. Red Rock Casino Resort has 2,860 slot and video poker machines ranging from penny stakes to the high-roller room.

Red Rock Casino Resort also uses the popular “Boarding Pass” players club promotion found at all Station Casinos properties. Sharp gamblers the world over prefer Station Casinos above the larger corporate chains, because a Boarding Pass card and a little savvy can produce significant savings when it comes to comps and perks.

Players also enjoy the benefit of high odds on craps, low minimum wagers, and the best payouts on blackjack, making Red Rock Casino Resort a relative value despite the luxury trappings.

Rooms here begin at $80 and go up on the weekends, so this isn’t your traditional Off-Strip bargain, but if you’re willing to splurge, the AAA Four Diamond-award-winning Red Rock Casino Resort is more than worth the added expense.

Just the pool area alone, which connects several lagoons and sun tanning areas in a design reminiscent of the best beach-style resorts, provides endless hours of relaxation on the house.

The Red Rock Spa covers 25,000 square feet of pampering and primping, with everything from facials to massages provided by highly-trained professionals. A movie theatre, bowling alley, Kids Quest, and dozens of shopping outlets ensure guests don’t have to gamble to have a good time.

The Grand Café, Yard House, T Bone’s, and Hearthstone top the fine dining selections, but you can easily save a few bucks in the food court, which features great grub from Fatburger, Ben & Jerry, Capriotti’s, and Panda Express.

I offer my full recommendation, but fair warning – once you’ve stayed at Red Rock Casino Resort, it can be quite difficult to return to “real life” at any other Las Vegas property.

5 – South Point Hotel Casino and Spa

Head southbound down The Strip, past the Luxor and Mandalay Bay, and 15 minutes later you’ll see the South Point Hotel Casino and Spa glimmering like a golden mirage in the distance.

This place seems too good to be true at first—a megaresort casino fit for The Strip that feels far away from the frenzied reality just a few miles up the road.

South Point Hotel Casino

Opened in 2005 as the South Coast casino by former owner Michael Gaughan, the South Point of today was created in a major 2007 renovation after Boyd Gaming acquired the property.

That overhaul resulted in a massive 25-story T-shaped hotel tower, which houses more than 2,100 guest suites, along with 80,000 square feet of modern gaming floor, and a 400-seat showroom.

Before the sale was completed, Gaughan praised the renovation project for transforming the South Point into a full-scale entertainment venue which puts many of its rivals on The Strip to shame:

“The space will enable us to open more of the slot floor to foot traffic. I think people will feel more comfortable in the whole casino with the opening of this new area.

Our rooms are big at 500 square feet and now larger than some suites in town. By adding these new rooms, we are able to accommodate larger conventions.

I am always looking for what the customers want, and I am prepared to give it to them.”

Between Gaughan’s vision and Boyd Gaming’s operational skills, customers received quite the gift in the South Point.

The property is home to a 16-screen Century Theatre movie theatre, a bowling complex with 64 lanes, the immaculately-appointed Costa del Sur Spa, a race and sportsbook with seating for 300 bettors, a 22-table poker room running cash games and tournaments 24/7, and an enormous bingo hall that regularly awards five-figure jackpots.

Add in a barber shop, video game arcade for the kids, and a lagoon-style pool, and there’s really no reason to leave the South Point during the duration of your stay.

Whether you want to gamble or simply relax, the South Point really does have it all.

And I really do mean that, as the South Point bills itself as the only casino in Las Vegas where guests can ride a horse by day, and play H.O.R.S.E. in the poker room by night.

The South Point Arena and Equestrian Center regularly hosts top-level rodeo and dressage events, but in between those centerpiece shows, folks staying onsite can ride ponies and play cowboy with baby bulls.

For nightlife, the Grandview Lounge has emerged as one of Las Vegas’ most happening Off-Strip hotspots, combining the classic cabaret feel with modern musical stylings. For dinner, Silverado Steakhouse, Don Vito’s, and Big Sur Oyster Bar are personal favorites, but Steak and Shake, Zenshin, and Baja Miguel’s all draw rave reviews.

6 – Gold Coast Hotel and Casino

The closest you can get to The Strip without actually standing on Las Vegas Boulevard is the Gold Coast Hotel and Casino.

Located within walking distance of The Strip, or a short Uber ride if you prefer, the Gold Coast is just west of the I-15 highway if you started at Caesars Palace or Bellagio. Just head past the Rio along Flamingo Road, and you’ll find this hidden jewel of the Las Vegas gambling scene.

Known as one of the first “local’s casinos” in the city, the Gold Coast opened to the public in 1986, and it’s been a mainstay for sharp players and budget-minded families alike ever since.

The building’s exterior is nothing to write home about, and at first glance, you may not even recognize the Gold Coast as a proper casino. No looming hotel towers or faux cityscapes here.

Gold Coast Hotel Casino

Instead, the squat edifice is situated horizontally, spreading the facility out over 89,000 square feet of gaming space, with 711 rooms taking up a short 10-story riser.

But stepping through the doors and onto Gold Coast gaming floor changes everything, as gamblers are treated to a slice of what Las Vegas used to be like. With 49 table games and 1,890 slot and video poker machines on hand, the Gold Coast is devoted to making gamblers happy.

To that end, the dealers and floor staff here pay special attention to their players. You’ll find yourself on a first-name basis with folks within a few hours, and unlike the corporatized atmosphere of The Strip, employees here genuinely seem happy when you walk away a winner.

That ethos is an extension of ownership group Boyd Gaming, which was built by Las Vegas legend Sam Boyd over several decades. The elder Boyd passed away in 1993, but his casino empire – which includes sister casino The Orleans, among several other Off-Strip facilities – is being taken care of by son Billy Boyd and family.

The Boyds have long recognized the importance of treating players like family, which is why regulars at the Gold Coast are treated so well to this day.

And family is a big part of the Gold Coast’s appeal. As the first Las Vegas casino to include a movie theatre, the Gold Coast knows quite well that not every guest comes to gamble.

When you’re looking for a safe place to park the kiddos for a few hours, nothing beats popcorn and the latest Marvel movie. Along with a massive bowling alley upstairs, equipped with optional bumper lanes for the little ones, the Gold Coast goes to great lengths to accommodate the whole family while the parents play.

And play you will, because the Gold Coast offers everything from basic blackjack, baccarat, and roulette to electronic versions of the classics, and modern hybrids like Three Card Poker and Super Fun 21.

On certain nights, the table games area is even transformed into a Hippie Party Pit, where dealers rock tie die T shirts and reminisce about the golden days. And if you prefer social games like keno or bingo, the Gold Coast has dedicated parlors for both.

As per usual with an Off-Strip casino, the Gold Coast also furnishes players with the most favorable odds and payouts around. I’m talking about 3x – 4x– 5x odds on craps, $5 double-deck blackjack, and $10 Pai Gow Poker.

Throw in an abundance of penny slots and full-pay video poker machines – not to mention a sportsbook with some of the best lines in the city – and the Gold Coast is value defined.

That philosophy extends to the dining options as well, with everything from a run-of-the-mill Subway and T.G.I. Friday’s to the award-winning Ping Pang Pong – named one of the Top 10 Chinese food restaurants in America by Travel + Leisure magazine – offering affordable fare.

And for folks who enjoy hitting up The Strip without staying there, the Gold Coast is only a few minutes away from Sin City’s top comedy acts, concerts, and shows.

Overall, for anyone looking to take an Off-Strip adventure while still sticking close by to all the buzz, you just can’t beat the Gold Coast.

7 – Plaza Hotel and Casino in Downtown Las Vegas

Another original icon of the “Old Las Vegas,” the Plaza Hotel and Casino is located at the western end of the Fremont Street Experience.

This joint opened in 1971, so it’s got a few decades on the Golden Nugget in terms of youthful vigor, but like that classic establishment, a series of renovations and remodels have brought The Plaza into the modern age.

When you visit The Plaza, however, a feel for history never hurts.

This is the kind of place that proudly runs a wedding chapel right on site, making The Plaza the perfect place to make the ultimate gamble. The circular dining room and domed ceiling at Oscar’s Steakhouse – named for former Las Vegas mayor and lawyer for the mob Oscar Goodman – combine to offer grandiose views of the surrounding lights and nightlife.

Plaza Hotel and Casino

And on the roof, the Pool at the Plaza provides 70,000 square feet of swimming, sun, and relaxation – complete with a poolside bar, cabanas, lily pad daybeds, and a 12-person Jacuzzi hot tub.

Everything at The Plaza somehow evokes The Tangiers, the extravagant venue overseen by Robert de Niro in the classic film Casino, and I mean that in the best possible way.

Las Vegas may lean heavily toward Disneyland with the megaresorts on The Strip, but there’s something to be said for an old-school 70s casino straight out of Sin City’s wild west heyday.

But even with nearly five decades of history to fall back on, The Plaza isn’t stuck in neutral like so many Off-Strip casinos. In 2011, the Play LV ownership group funded a major renovation project to upgrade the casino and hotel facilities at The Plaza. Marble floors, new carpets, modern furniture and fixtures – the works.

At the time, Play LV president and chief executive officer Tony Santo touted the renovations as one reason to put The Plaza ahead of the pack on Fremont Street:

“The renovations will transform this iconic property into a more modern, comfortable and sophisticated hotel and casino in the heart of downtown Las Vegas.

It has taken a lot of work over many months, but I’m confident that past guests will enjoy and appreciate the changes while new guests will view the updated Plaza as an exciting, new destination with more amenities and attractions than it ever had in its 40 year history.”

The casino at The Plaza is nothing to sneeze at either, with 23 table games and 550 slot and video poker machines spread out over 57,000 square feet of floor space. The Plaza is known for running a wide variety of classic games and new creations, so the table games menu runs the gamut as follows:

  • Blackjack
  • Craps
  • New Saturn Glo Roulette Wheel & New Blaze Roulette table Crap less Craps
  • Double Deck Blackjack
  • Free Bet Blackjack
  • Pai Gow Poker with Progressive Jackpot
  • 3 Card Poker
  • Let It Ride
  • Ultimate Texas Hold’Em
  • High Card Flush

You’ll also find a fully-fledged bingo hall running day and night, a keno parlor, and a race and sportsbook operated by William Hill.

The dining options aren’t limited to Oscar’s Steakhouse, so once you’ve soaked in the views there, be sure to try Hash House a Go Go for breakfast, or Pop Up Pizza for a slice at lunch.

Starting at only $30 per night, The Plaza gives new meaning to the idea of Off-Strip value.

And with house entertainment like the four-person comedy and musical act Scintas, the savings can go toward the same sort of shows that cost an arm and a leg in Strip-side venues


The next time you visit Las Vegas, consider venturing away from the Strip.

Plan to stay at one of the 7 best Off-Strip casinos in Las Vegas that are listed on this page.

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