Las Vegas is home to more than 130 casinos, each with its own attractions and unique culture. If you’re planning a trip to Vegas and feeling overwhelmed by the sheer number of different places to gamble, don’t be intimidated. While Vegas can be overwhelming for first-time visitors, at least it was to me, it doesn’t have to be.
When planning your vacation and trying to decide which casinos you want to gamble at, it’s essential to keep a few things in mind. Certain casinos are generally more luxurious than others and cater to a more wealthy and experienced clientele.
However, others are a bit more relaxed and can be enjoyed by people from different levels of wealth and backgrounds. If you’re feeling cautious about picking the right casino, here are 7 of the best casinos for first-time visitors or new gamblers to visit in Las Vegas.
1 ‒ Golden Nugget
The Golden Nugget on Fremont Street in Downtown Las Vegas is arguably the best gambling destination for inexperienced gamblers. The casino is one of the oldest in Vegas and still holds a positive reputation as some of its other neighboring casinos continue to be overshadowed by the Strip.
Players can commonly find $5 tables around the casino during the week, but be ready to wait a few minutes to find a seat.
Fremont Street is only 10-15 minutes away from the Strip and is a must-see for first-time Vegas-goers. While it might lack some of the attractions the casinos and resorts on the Strip offer, Downtown Vegas has a particular, undeniable charm. And, of all the casinos Downtown, Golden Nugget is widely held as one the best.
2 ‒ New York, New York
One of the most important things new gamblers need to consider is comfort while gambling. Feeling out of place or uncomfortable while you gamble is one of the easiest ways to guarantee losses at the tables. New York, New York, located near the south of the Las Vegas Strip, is one of the places for new gamblers to gain some confidence.
The casino has a fun, carefree vibe while also bustling with activity due to its location on the Strip. During weekdays and mornings, gamblers can find several cheaper playing options, like $5 blackjack and craps. These $5 tables on the Strip can be a bit of a rarity, and if you happen to find a seat at a table, it’s easy to find yourself spending hours gambling for cheap.
Additionally, the casino has several different attractions, including a variety of dining options and a roller coaster. The sportsbook at New York, New York, isn’t nearly as big as other casinos, but it serves its purpose.
3 ‒ El Cortez
Like the Golden Nugget, El Cortez is located in Downtown Las Vegas, which provides a different atmosphere for first-time Vegas-goers. El Cortez doesn’t feature some of the major attractions other casinos offer, which has its pros and cons. It’s not as lavish as some of the casinos on the Strip, but it provides a plethora of cheap gambling options, both at the tables and slots.
If you’re gambling in Las Vegas for the first time, Old Vegas is a must, especially if you’re trying to keep your bankroll low. El Cortez provides more of an old school approach, which can help new gamblers feel comfortable while betting.
The clientele Downtown is known to be more relaxed and willing to help new gamblers at the tables, which definitely benefits new gamblers. El Cortez is a local favorite, so if you want to get away from the touristy parts of Vegas, it’s worth checking out.
4 ‒ Treasure Island
Treasure Island is located at the northern edge of the Las Vegas Strip and is a fantastic introductory casino for gamblers who are new to the city. The casino is affordable for players who are mindful of their bankroll and features several different entertainment and dining options.
To my surprise, Treasure Island has a sportsbook that I would consider to be slightly underrated and a poker room for gamblers who prefer to play poker. Treasure Island might not be considered the most state-of-the-art, especially considering its proximity to the Venetian and the Mirage.
The clientele is typically accommodating to new players, and the dealers are eager to introduce you to the games. What it might lack in awe-inspiring architecture and design, it makes up for in pure unadulterated fun and comfortability.
5 ‒ Excalibur
Circus Circus is commonly known as the most family-friendly casino, but Excalibur could be considered a close second. It may seem counterintuitive to gamble at a casino that appeals to families but think about a few things. If you’re a gambler who is scared of committing mistakes at high-stakes tables, then a relaxed environment is crucial. You may be put off by the thought of children running around the casino, but in my experience, this is a non-issue.
The lessons the Excalibur offers, combined with dealers who are willing and able to help you understand a new game, are too enticing for new gamblers to pass up.
The ambiance in the Excalibur is fun and can assist in ensuring a pleasant experience. The casino is conveniently located right across the street from New York, New York. If you haven’t found the casino that works for you, head to the Excalibur and take advantage of some free lessons.
6 ‒ Planet Hollywood
This pick might be controversial to some for a few reasons. Planet Hollywood, unlike some of the other casinos I have mentioned to this point, features a more lively atmosphere. The casino might not provide the most relaxed environment for beginners to get their gambling feet wet, but it’s still a must-see. Some of the best people-watching in Las Vegas takes place at Planet Hollywood, and there is seemingly nonstop action.
Planet Hollywood is one of the loudest casinos I have entered and routinely has some form of live music playing. If you find yourself easily distracted while gambling, this isn’t the place for you. To go along with the normal spectacles that are common in casinos, this one also has go-go dancers performing right behind the dealers.
If you’re going to Vegas to have fun, then Planet Hollywood is the casino for you. During my first trip, my friends and I stopped by after watching the Bellagio water show to play a few hands of blackjack, and we ended up staying for over an hour. While I can’t admit that it was my most profitable session of blackjack, it was undoubtedly the most exciting due to the variety of entertainment the casino offers.
7 ‒ Any Casino Where You’re Comfortable
Each casino I’ve listed has its benefits and downsides. Before my trip, I spent hours researching which casino to play and settled on a couple I thought would be best suited for me. To my dismay, none of these casinos were all that enjoyable for me. However, after a few hours of trial and error, I found several that I hadn’t researched that proved to be right up my alley.
Deciding where to gamble is a personal experience, and the casino that works for you might not appeal to others. Don’t over plan and back yourself into a corner by refusing to admit your mistakes and try new things. Every casino is worth exploring, and you never know which one will be your preferred gambling destination.
In this post, I’ve mentioned several casinos that are worth visiting on your first trip to Vegas. Some, like the Golden Nugget and El Cortez, retain the old-school feel of Las Vegas, while others sit on the beautiful Vegas Strip. Most of these provide new gamblers who are watching their wallets an opportunity to gamble on a budget as long as you play smart, of course.
The beauty of Las Vegas is the variety you’ll find from casino-to-casino, and no two establishments are the same. If one doesn’t work for you, there are over 130 different casinos to try. The most important thing for inexperienced gamblers is to be able to relax while you gamble. Once you find that comfort zone, sit back, enjoy yourself, and try to win some money.