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Worst of Las Vegas 2021

For every winner, there must be a loser. Sadly, we had plenty of those last year.

We may be a few days into the new year, but that doesn’t mean that the stench of 2021’s stink bombs has already dissipated. If you read our two-part “Best Of” series (here and here), then you know that we’ve been planning to devote space to the misfires and monstrosities that made our last twelve months so turbulent. So here they are…the absolute WORST OF LAS VEGAS 2021.

Loser of the Year – TERRY FATOR

One glance at the above photo and you might ask yourself “Which of those is Terry Fator and which is his drug-addicted puppet Dougie?”. Yes, it’s true that the two look strikingly similar. And who could blame Fator if he did indeed tumble down the marijuana well with his forever-high creation? After all, the former America’s Got Talent winner plummeted from being the city’s highest-paid star to regurgitating offensive jokes in a forgotten second-floor banquet room. But if you know the whole story (here in all its sleazy, frightening glory), then you’re aware that a downward spiral of this magnitude couldn’t have happened to a more deserving bag of shit.

So how do you close out a year as the city’s biggest creep? Well, you announce the return of “A Very Terry Christmas”. This heartwarming seasonal production brought together such endearing characters as a flaming homosexual, an alcoholic redneck, a big-lipped Uncle Tom, and an aging sex fiend. Fator also threw in a joke about the murder of Nicole Simpson Brown and Ron Goldman for the kids.

Congratulations on your “Biggest Loser” award, Terry Fator! You’re a monster.

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Worst Strip Hotel – BALLY’S

Bally’s Las Vegas is a 2,800 room hotel-casino located in the heart of the Strip. It’s been on a downward spiral for quite some time, signaled in large part by the construction of epic flop Grand Bazaar Shops in 2015. The outdoor mall, which replaced a pathway of gardens, flowers, and waterfalls, was an immediate failure. It’s now just mostly-empty storefronts and plenty of room for the homeless to camp out.

Enter through the shared Bally’s/Paris garage and you’ll be greeted by out-of-service elevators, broken escalators, and the city’s filthiest carpeting (above). Bally’s has basically become a collection of closed-down restaurants, closed-down attractions, closed-down stores, and an understaffed casino. Forget about flagging down a cocktail server on the gaming floor, but if you head to the bar, you’ll most likely be ignored by surly bartenders. Restrooms feature out-of-order sinks, broken toilet paper dispensers, filthy toilets, and peeling wallpaper.

Just like the Rio (another Caesars property) Bally’s has become a stepchild waiting to be shipped away to creepy Uncle Ernie. The “Bally’s” name was supposedly sold to Twin Rivers Holdings in late 2020, meaning Caesars no longer gives an eff about maintaining the hotel-casino (or their own reputation as its operators). The upside is that you can usually get lower-than-average room rates if you don’t mind going elsewhere for nearly everything…even a cup of coffee. The only real reason for casual visitors to stop by is for the entertaining production EXTRAVAGANZA.

Most Depressing Sight – CASINO SHOPPING PROMENADES

Just a few years ago, seemingly every Strip resort was ripping out the front of their properties to build shopping centers. Treasure Island, Bally’s, Park MGM, Mirage, Paris, and more bulldozed fountains and statues in favor of another Starbuck’s and CVS. But what about those long-winding shopping corridors that already existed? They’re faring even more poorly than Wynn’s unnecessary THIRD retail promenade. The STRAT, Bally’s, MGM Grand, Rio, Mandalay Bay, and more are home to dozens of stores and restaurants that are walled off by plywood. It’s really depressing. Tropicana wisely jettisoned their own plans for a Strip-facing mall a few years ago, but now that they’ve been purchased by Bally’s, who knows?

Saddest Closure – UNCENSORED INTERNATIONAL

Bawdy revue UNCENSORED INTERNATIONAL at Treasure Island would have received our “Best New Show” award if it hadn’t already closed by November. Extremely daring, and perhaps too racy for even Las Vegas, the acclaimed Mexican production has been performing around the world for a decade. But Sin City requires a unique sort of marketing that the producers of UNCENSORED didn’t attempt to crack. The behind-the-scenes intrigue of this cutting-edge show made for a dramatic tale that Vegas 411 witnessed from the inside. Click here to check it out.

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Filthiest Movie Theater – AMC TOWN SQUARE

This one pains me to write, as I’m a former manager for AMC Theaters. As such, I know the high standards that this nationwide chain of cinemas once achieved. Alas, you’d never believe it after a visit to AMC Town Square 18, which is consistently repulsive and disgusting. In the past two years, I’ve reported this theater to the Nevada Health Department, written complaints to the corporation itself, and contacted Dirty Dining at local television station KTNV-13. The only reason I continue to patronize is their excellent AMC Stubs A-List monthly subscription program, which includes up to three movies per week and additional perks for less than the price of two adult tickets.

During a visit over New Year’s weekend, four of the six self-serve soda machines were out of commission, and one of the remaining two had no ice. Staffers were bringing out cold popcorn from the back in large plastic bags, as the poppers weren’t able to make enough fresh product for guests. The men’s room floors were soaked with urine, every soap dispenser was empty, and computer-printed paper signs apologized for no paper towels to dry your hands (surely that’s a health code violation). Trash cans in the corridors overflowed with garbage and auditoriums were sticky and filthy. Just another day at AMC Theaters. Welcome back to the movies!

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Nastiest Parking Garage – THE FLAMINGO

When things began to recover after the initial wave of COVID-19, many of us in the industry hoped that casino bean-counters would finally wisen up and keep guest parking free of charge. Yeah, right. Eventually, nearly every major resort restored those insipid fees. Aging properties like Bally’s, Paris, Planet Hollywood, LINQ, and the Flamingo reach right into your pocket upon arrival, snatching anywhere from $12 to $24 a day for the privilege of arriving by car. But ask what they’re doing to maintain those facilities, and you’re likely to get a few darting eyes and some lame-ass excuse. Nearly every Caesars-owned property has repulsive parking facilities, but Flamingo is by far the worst.

Biggest Pain In The Ass – BROKEN ESCALATORS/ELEVATORS

The complaints have gone on for years…and so have the excuses. “They’re too expensive to maintain” (then why install them at all?). “Sand and dirt ruin the mechanisms” (it’s 2022….we flew to the moon fifty years ago and still can’t address that problem?). No matter where you go, inside or out, garages, overhead walkways, casinos, hotels, the airport, and shopping malls all feature the latest in technology….the world-famous LAS VEGAS BROKEN ESCALATOR. Lately, elevators have wanted their share of the notoriety, so they’ve decided to stop working as well. 

Listen, I’ve been to nations that most people have never heard of, and their escalators and elevators work just fine. Same with the tiniest airports and much less famous cities in our own country. It’s really not that hard to service these things. Now the Las Vegas airport has decided to eliminate moving walkways…due to the expense of keeping them working.  The sheer stupidity of it made the news.

Is this how we treat our paying guests? Apparently so. And just like with the nasty-ass parking garages, the money to maintain them is going straight into somebody’s bank account…instead of where it belongs. 

Check here for the conclusion of “WORST OF LAS VEGAS 2021.

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