The Jeff Does Vegas Podcast

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Big Ideas - Inventing A New Table Game

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Every year, inventors come up with DOZENS of ideas for new casino table games, but only a handful actually make it to the casino floor.  Maybe you've got an idea for a new game floating around in your brain and you've been wondering how to make it reality and get it out to the Vegas gaming community?

My guest for this episode could be the one to help make it happen!

Back for her third appearance on the show is Heather Ferris, the CEO & Founder of Vegas Aces Services.

This time around Heather & I chatted about the process behind creating a new game, what makes for a good casino game, and some of the challenges behind convincing casino execs to give a new game a chance.

If you want to learn more about Heather, Vegas Aces, and the services they provide be sure to go visit their official website.  You can also follow Vegas Aces on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

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Jeff Does Vegas is an official Vegas.com affiliate! 

Help support the podcast & get exclusive deals by booking your hotel stays, shows, attractions, tours, clubs and even complete vacation packages (including air & hotel) with our special link!

 

20 Years Of X

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2022 marks the 20th Anniversary of one of the hottest shows on the Vegas Strip:

X Burlesque

Having opened back in 2002 at the Aladdin, the show now calls Bugsy's Cabaret home inside the legendary Flamingo Hotel.

Joining me for this episode of the podcast are Matt & Angela Stabile of Stabile Productions.  Matt & Angela are the husband & wife team who created & produce X Burlesque.  We talked about their early life in Vegas with Angela's involvement in several Las Vegas shows & Matt's family managing the career of a comedy legend.  We also discussed the inspiration behind the creation of X Burlesque, and some of the challenges X Burlesque has faced over its two decades in Sin City.

For more information on X Burlesque - including tickets and show dates & times - visit the Flamingo Las Vegas online and be sure to follow X Burlesque on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram.

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Jeff Does Vegas is an official Vegas.com affiliate! 

Help support the podcast & get exclusive deals by booking your hotel stays, shows, attractions, tours, clubs and even complete vacation packages (including air & hotel) with our special link!

What Was & What Will Be

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Welcome to a fun-sized bonus episode of the podcast!

This time around, I just wanted to take a moment to drop into the feed to send out a few quick shout-out's and "thank you's" for what's been going on over the last few weeks and share some announcements about what's coming up on the show over the next little while.

There's LOTS of awesome stuff coming up in the next few weeks, so be sure to keep an ear out for that and in the meantime, be sure to check out some of the recently released episodes including:

I also want to give a special shout-out to Ron Wrobel aka "@TrekkerRon" for inviting me on his podcast, "Con Pod: A Star Trek Convention Podcast".  This year, Las Vegas's annual Star Trek Convention is making the move from off-strip at the Rio to on-strip at Bally's.  Ron and I talked about what it's going to be like for Trekkies attending this year's convention to be smack-dab in the middle of the action.  To check out the episode, follow the show on Twitter at @TrekConPod, listen to it here or find it wherever you get your podcasts.

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Jeff Does Vegas is an official Vegas.com affiliate! 

Help support the podcast & get exclusive deals by booking your hotel stays, shows, attractions, tours, clubs and even complete vacation packages (including air & hotel) with our special link!

LIGHTS OUT! F1 On The Vegas Strip

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Formula 1 is considered to be one of the premier forms of auto racing.  The cars are the fastest regulated road-racing cars in the world with top speeds upwards of 350 km/h (215 mph).

F1 is also one of the richest sports in the world; with 22 races scattered across the globe, F1 reported over $2.1 BILLION in revenue in 2021 and it's not uncommon for the top drivers in the sport to earn well over $100 Million per year in salary alone.

So with all that money flying around, is it any wonder that Las Vegas wants a piece of that pie?

On March 30, 2022 the FIA and Formula 1, along with the City of Las Vegas & the State of Nevada, announced one of the worst kept secrets in motorsports:  Formula 1 would be hitting Sin City in 2023.

My guest for this episode of the podcast is Todd McCandless (aka "Negative Camber" aka "the Chief Opinion Officer") from The Parc Ferme Podcast, a long-running F1-centered podcast that goes in-depth into the world of Formula 1.

Todd and I talked about the rising interest in F1 in the United States, the so-called "Drive to Survive" effect on the sport and we took a deep dive into the upcoming F1 Las Vegas Grand Prix, sharing our opinions on the track layout as well as the impact the race will have on the city - both positive and negative.

For all the latest from the world of Formula 1 Racing, go check out the Parc Ferme website, follow the Parc Ferme on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram, and check out the Parc Ferme Podcast wherever you get your podcasts.

__________________________________________________________________________

Jeff Does Vegas is an official Vegas.com affiliate! 

Help support the podcast & get exclusive deals by booking your hotel stays, shows, attractions, tours, clubs and even complete vacation packages (including air & hotel) with our special link!

 

Hoop Dreams

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The WNBA was founded back in 1996 as the women's counterpart to the NBA and started league play in 1997.  Originating with just 8 teams, the league has since grown to a total of 12 teams, one of which calls Las Vegas home.

The Las Vegas Aces have been playing ball since 2018 but their history goes back much further than that, and joining me on this episode to talk about that - and much more - is John Maxwell, the team's Director of Media Relations.

John & I sat down during my most recent trip to Vegas to talk about the team's arrival in the city & how they were received, what made Las Vegas an attractive market for the WNBA, and the Aces' passionate & loyal fan base.

If you want to keep up with the Las Vegas Aces, be sure to follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  For tickets, game schedule, merchandise and other information, visit the official Las Vegas Aces website.

__________________________________________________________________________

Jeff Does Vegas is an official Vegas.com affiliate! 

Help support the podcast & get exclusive deals by booking your hotel stays, shows, attractions, tours, clubs and even complete vacation packages (including air & hotel) with our special link!

Viva Las Crypto

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Crypto Currency...Block Chain...Non-Fungible Tokens...Alt-Coins...

If you've been paying attention to financial news over the last few years, these are likely all terms that you've heard mentioned...but what the HELL are they?  And how do they relate to Las Vegas?

My guest for this episode is going to do his best to break it all down for us in the simplest terms possible.

Making his second appearance on the podcast is Jake Gallen.  Jake previously hosted a podcast called "The Guest List" where he interviewed Las Vegas creators, leaders & entrepreneurs.  In early 2022, Jake re-branded and shifted focus to the world of Crypto & NFT's.  He also founded a Crypto Consultation Firm called Nativ Research & has become heavily involved in the Las Vegas Crypto scene.

Jake & I connected on my last trip to Las Vegas and he was kind enough to explain what Crypto Currency is and how it works, what an NFT is & how they're currently being used, and we talked about the potential future for crypto & NFT's in the world of Las Vegas.

If you want to know more, be sure to visit Jake's Website and take a listen to the Jake Gallen Podcast.  Also, be sure to follow Jake on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

__________________________________________________________________________

Jeff Does Vegas is an official Vegas.com affiliate! 

Help support the podcast & get exclusive deals by booking your hotel stays, shows, attractions, tours, clubs and even complete vacation packages (including air & hotel) with our special link!

 

My Special Guest: Carrot Top

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My very special guest for this episode has been in the comedy business for over three decades.  He's been on stage all over the world and has been on hundreds of TV shows including Live with Regis & Kelly, Gene Simmons' Family Jewels, Scrubs, CSI and he's made over THIRTY appearances on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

Carrot Top has been headlining his own show at the Luxor in Las Vegas for the last 16 years and recently signed an extension that will keep him there through to 2025.

Carrot Top and I talked about his early days of prop comedy, how he comes up with his material, the current state of comedy, his apprehension when he first signed on at the Luxor and much more!

Carrot Top performs in the Atrium Showroom at the Luxor Las Vegas 6 nights a week.  Visit the Luxor's website for tickets and showtimes.  To find out if Carrot Top is touring to a city near you, visit his official website and give him a follow on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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Jeff Does Vegas is an official Vegas.com affiliate! 

Help support the podcast & get exclusive deals by booking your hotel stays, shows, attractions, tours, clubs and even complete vacation packages (including air & hotel) with our special link!

The Big League

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Ever since the Vegas Golden Knights made their NHL debut back in 2017, big league professional sports has been booming business in Las Vegas.  And, following the relocation of the NFL's Raiders in 2020, we can expect to see even more teams & leagues calling Vegas home in the coming years with the NBA and MLB likely additions.

My guests for this episode to discuss the future of pro sports in Las Vegas are Jayson & Paula Williams, husband & wife hosts of The Vegas Fever Podcast, a new podcast that dives deep into the sports scene in "Sin City".

We talked about the impact the Golden Knights have had on Las Vegas, theorized about potential homes for NBA & Major League Baseball teams, and whether or not Vegas can continue to support the professional and minor league franchises that keep popping up in the city.

You can listen to The Vegas Fever Podcast wherever you get your podcasts and be sure to follow Jayson & Paula on Twitter!

__________________________________________________________________________

Jeff Does Vegas is an official Vegas.com affiliate! 

Help support the podcast & get exclusive deals by booking your hotel stays, shows, attractions, tours, clubs and even complete vacation packages (including air & hotel) with our special link!

Going Through Changes

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Anyone who's a frequent visitor to Las Vegas knows it's a city in a constant state of flux and, thanks to some changes in resort ownership along with a few re-brands & major overhauls, the Vegas strip is likely going to look very different in the coming years.

Joining me for this episode to discuss some of these upcoming changes is fellow creator and travel blogger, Adam Bauer - aka "Travel Fanboy".  Adam got his start blogging about Las Vegas and has since expanded his horizons to include travel in general.

Adam & I shared our opinions on what we think the effects of these changes will be, what a volcano-less strip would look like, and we even dove into unfamiliar territory - rumours and speculation - regarding potential changes at the Tropicana.

Make sure you go ahead and follow Adam on Twitter & Facebook and be sure to check out the official Travel Fanboy website. 

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Jeff Does Vegas is an official Vegas.com affiliate! 

Help support the podcast & get exclusive deals by booking your hotel stays, shows, attractions, tours, clubs and even complete vacation packages (including air & hotel) with our special link!

The Best Dam Episode Ever!

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Get ready...we're going on a little road trip.

We're heading about 35 miles southeast of the Vegas strip, to Black Canyon, where one of the greatest feats of engineering in the United States - and possibly the world - is located:  Hoover Dam

Constructed in the late 1920's & completed in the early 1930's, Hoover Dam serves a multitude of purposes including flood mitigation & hydro-electric power generation.  Present day, millions of tourists visit each year to both marvel at this amazing structure and to take advantage of the many surrounding amenities including Lake Mead and the numerous hiking trails in the area.

My guest for this episode is Patti Aaron, Public Affairs Officer for the Bureau of Reclamation in the Lower Colorado Basin.  Patti and I talked about the history of Hoover Dam including its planning & construction, the "controversy" behind its name, some of the economic benefits of the dam's construction, and she shared some fun bits of trivia about Hoover Dam.

For more information on Hoover Dam and to plan your trip, visit the Bureau of Reclamation's website and be sure to follow Hoover Dam on Facebook.

__________________________________________________________________________

Jeff Does Vegas is an official Vegas.com affiliate! 

Help support the podcast & get exclusive deals by booking your hotel stays, shows, attractions, tours, clubs and even complete vacation packages (including air & hotel) with our special link!

My Special Guest - Enoch Augustus Scott

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My guest for this episode of the podcast has been a part of the Vegas performance scene for close to twenty years.

Enoch Augustus Scott got his start in Las Vegas with the classic show, Tony & Tina's Wedding.  He currently stars as "Zenoch", the Host & MC of Zombie Burlesque at the V-Theater in the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood.

Enoch & I discussed what initially got him interested in entertaining, some of his early Vegas gigs, his pandemic project (The Tiger Thing), and he shared what might be the most "only in Vegas" story ever.

Start following Enoch on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook and be sure to visit the official Zombie Burlesque website for tickets & show info.

Also, check out the original Tiger Thing concept videos on YouTube.

__________________________________________________________________________

Jeff Does Vegas is an official Vegas.com affiliate! 

Help support the podcast & get exclusive deals by booking your hotel stays, shows, attractions, tours, clubs and even complete vacation packages (including air & hotel) with our special link!

My Special Guest - John Shaw

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My guest for this episode of the podcast is a somewhat "unique" performer.

John Shaw is a magician, illusionist...and sideshow stunt artist.

He spits fire, swallows swords, eats light bulbs, and dangles paint cans from hooks attached to his eyelids.  And that's just a small sample of his repertoire.

Over the years, John has appeared on numerous TV talk shows, most recently on the Late Late Show with James Corden.

Currently, you can find him freaking out the visitors at Zak Bagans' The Haunted Museum and performing twice-weekly with Late Night Magic at the Alexis Park All-Suite Resort Las Vegas.

John & I talked about the crazy path that brought him to Las Vegas, his past TV appearances & the lessons he learned from them, what got him interested in magic & sideshow performances, and some of the various injuries he's sustained as part of those performances.

Be sure to follow John on Twitter, Instagram & Facebook.

If you want to see John in Late Night Magic, get your tickets via TicketKite.com or Vegas.com.

__________________________________________________________________________

Jeff Does Vegas is an official Vegas.com affiliate! 

Help support the podcast & get exclusive deals by booking your hotel stays, shows, attractions, tours, clubs and even complete vacation packages (including air & hotel) with our special link!

Another Damn Clip Show

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Back in March 2021, for various reasons, I put this podcast on a hiatus.  However, I noticed people were still listening and downloading past episodes.  As I watched the numbers grow, I made a commitment that when I hit 100,000 total downloads, I'd start releasing new episodes again.

I hit that mark in September of 2021 and since then, I've had the chance to have some great conversations with some incredible guests.

As I reach another milestone - Episode #100 - I thought it would be fun to go back and re-share some highlights from a few of those recent conversations.

If you want to check out the complete conversations, check out (in order of appearance):

- Episode #88: My Special Guest - Jonathan Jossel

- Episode #96: Show Me Vegas

- Episode #89: Vegas Unfiltered with Sam Novak

- Episode #94: Guys Gone Vegas

- Episode #91: Crime & Punishment - Mayhem in the Desert

- Episode #93: Beneath the Neon - The Tunnels of Las Vegas

- Episode #95: My Special Guest - David Perrico

- Episode #92: Reinvention - The Family-Friendly Era

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Don't forget: Jeff Does Vegas is an official Vegas.com affiliate! 

Help support the podcast & get exclusive deals by booking your hotel stays, shows, attractions, tours, clubs and even complete vacation packages (including air & hotel) with our special link!

Sin City…Silver Screen

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Sin City has served as the setting for dozens of movies over the last 75 years.  Drama, comedy, horror, action...films of every genre have used Las Vegas as a backdrop.  And if you've ever wanted to visit the spots where some of your favorite Vegas movie scenes were filmed and get the backstory on those scenes, my guest for this episode of the podcast has you covered.

Chris Ramirez is the CEO and founder of Las Vegas Movie Tours, a brand new tour experience that takes riders along the famed Vegas Strip, through the arts district and into Downtown Las Vegas showing off the spots that served as the settings for films like The Hangover & The Hangover Part III, Austin Powers, Jason Bourne, Oceans Eleven, and many others.

Chris and I discussed his background in the movie industry, what attracts film makers to Las Vegas and the inspiration behind the creation of Las Vegas Movie Tours.

If you'd like more info on Las Vegas Movie Tours and want to book your place on the tour, visit their website and secure your spot today!  You can also follow Las Vegas Movie Tours on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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Don't forget: Jeff Does Vegas is an official Vegas.com affiliate! 

Help support the podcast & get exclusive deals by booking your hotel stays, shows, attractions, tours, clubs and even complete vacation packages (including air & hotel) with our special link!

Show Me Vegas

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I love having other Vegas content creators on the podcast.  It's always a blast having conversations with people are as equally - or even more - passionate about Las Vegas as I am.

My guests for this episode are Jordan & Ashden, the creators of Show Me Vegas on YouTube.

Hailing from Missouri, the couple makes frequent trips to Las Vegas, sharing their adventures with their 3500+ subscribers.  They do live streams, room & hotel tours, restaurant & show reviews, and have recently launched a weekly Vegas news video series titled, This Week In Vegas.

We talked about what sparked their love of Las Vegas, what inspired them to start vlogging their Vegas trips, some of their favorite spots to stay & play, and much more.

Subscribe to their videos on YouTube and follow them on Facebook for exclusive content.

And, check out Jordan & Ashden's video review of Aria that got them a whole lot of attention!

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Don't forget: Jeff Does Vegas is an official Vegas.com affiliate! 

Help support the podcast & get exclusive deals by booking your hotel stays, shows, attractions, tours, clubs and even complete vacation packages (including air & hotel) with our special link!

My Special Guest - David Perrico

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My guest for this episode of the podcast is "Best of Vegas" award-winning trumpeter, composer, producer and conductor, David Perrico.

If you've ever spent any time at the legendary Cleopatra's Barge in Caesars Palace, there's a very good chance you've seen David performing with his Pop Strings Orchestra, in which he takes some of the best musicians in Las Vegas and fuses together Pop Music with Classical Music.  And, in addition to Pop Strings Orchestra, David is also the creator & arranger of Pop Evolution, a mash-up of Pop & Big Band music.

Just this year, David landed what might be the most amazing gig ever: House Band at Allegiant Stadium for the Las Vegas Raiders.

David and I talked about what it's like performing in front of 65,000 screaming NFL fans, the inspiration behind creating Pop Strings Orchestra & Pop Evolution, other projects he's working on and much more.

Find out where David is going to be performing next, by visiting his website or following him on Facebook & Instagram.

And, if you want a sample of what Pop Evolution and Pop Strings Orchestra are all about, check these out!

Pop Strings Evolution performing Van Halen's "Hot For Teacher" (YouTube)

Pop Strings Orchestra performing Journey's "Separate Ways" (YouTube)

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Don't forget: Jeff Does Vegas is an official Vegas.com affiliate! 

Help support the podcast & get exclusive deals by booking your hotel stays, shows, attractions, tours, clubs and even complete vacation packages (including air & hotel) with our special link!

 

Guys Gone Vegas

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"VEGAS BABY!!!"

That's the battle-cry heard in pretty much every airport around the world, as groups of guys get set to board their flights for what they hope will be the ULTIMATE guys' trip to Las Vegas.  But will it be a trip to remember for all the WRONG reasons?  My guest for this episode is here to help make sure that's NOT the case.

David Demontmollin is a 20-plus-year casino industry veteran, star of Discovery Channel's series "American Casino" and the author of "The Las Vegas Little Black Book: A Guys Guide To The Perfect Vegas Weekend".

David and I discussed how to plan an amazing trip to Vegas for you and your pals, covering everything from the perfect time of the year to travel, to picking your hotel, to how to get into nightclubs and much MUCH more.

Order "The Las Vegas Little Black Book: A Guys Guide To The Perfect Vegas Weekend" on Amazon (along with David's other book, "Classic Vegas Mistakes") and be sure to follow Classic Vegas Mistakes on Twitter.

Also, check out David's past appearance on the podcast on Episode #16 - "Classic Vegas Mistakes".

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Don't forget: Jeff Does Vegas is an official Vegas.com affiliate! 

Help support the podcast & get exclusive deals by booking your hotel stays, shows, attractions, tours, clubs and even complete vacation packages (including air & hotel) with our special link!

 

Beneath The Neon - The Tunnels Of Las Vegas

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Below the glitz & glamour of the Vegas Strip lies a massive network of underground tunnels.  In addition to serving the practical purpose of directing flash flood water away from the big casinos & resorts, the tunnels have become a living space for hundreds, if not thousands, of homeless people in the city of Las Vegas.

My guest for this episode of the podcast is intimately familiar with these tunnels, having spent time interviewing dozens of their residents for his books "Beneath the Neon" and "Dark Days, Bright Nights".

Matthew O'Brien is a writer, editor and teacher who lived in Las Vegas for twenty years.  He's considered an authority on homelessness in the Las Vegas tunnels and is the founder of Shine A Light, a program that helps people living in the tunnels and provides them with the resources to get out of the tunnels.

We discussed Matthew's first experiences with the tunnels of Las Vegas, the work that went into writing "Beneath the Neon", what inspired him to found Shine A Light, and much more.

If you'd like to purchase "Beneath the Neon", "My Week At The Blue Angel" or "Dark Days, Bright Nights" you can visit Matthew's website at beneaththeneon.com.

If you want to know more about Shine A Light and see the amazing work they do, follow them on Facebook and Instagram.

(NOTE: I shouldn't have to say this, but I will.  DO NOT go exploring the storm drains under Las Vegas.  It's a very hostile environment for anyone who's not familiar with the miles and miles of tunnels.  By going into the tunnels, you're risking severe injury or even death.)

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Don't forget: Jeff Does Vegas is an official Vegas.com affiliate! 

Help support the podcast & get exclusive deals by booking your hotel stays, shows, attractions, tours, clubs and even complete vacation packages (including air & hotel) with our special link!

 

Reinvention - The Family-Friendly Era

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"The only constant in life is change" - Heraclitus

There's nowhere else in the world where that statement is more accurate than Las Vegas.

It's constantly evolving, always trying to find new ways to bring new people - and revenue - to the city.  And from the late 1980's through to the early 2000's, Las Vegas made the conscious decision to cater to a group of travellers whom they'd never attempted to attract before:

Families.

From castle-shaped hotels, to pirate battles in the desert, to full-blown amusement parks, Las Vegas made no secrets about who they wanted to come to the city during that time in history.  But where did it all start?  And how did it end up?

My guest for this episode of the podcast is UNLV professor and Las Vegas historian, David G. Schwartz.  David & I discussed some of Las Vegas's early attempts at being family-friendly, what led to the push to try to attract families to the city, and the eventual shift away from that strategy.

Want to learn more about Las Vegas's family-friendly era of the 1990's?  Visit these links:

- "Family Friendly Las Vegas: An Analysis of Space and Time" - Diana Tracy Cohn

- "Column One: Las Vegas Gambles on Families" - LA Times (Sept 23, 1994)

- "The Sun's List Of Shuttered Family Friendly Vegas Attractions" - Las Vegas Sun (Feb 23, 2012)

- "Family Friendly Las Vegas of the 90's" Panel Discussion (Video) - The Neon Museum (2016)

And as discussed, check out the "Treasure Island: The Adventure Begins" TV special that ran on NBC-TV in 1994 to promote the opening of the Treasure Island Resort.

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Don't forget: Jeff Does Vegas is an official Vegas.com affiliate! 

Help support the podcast & get exclusive deals by booking your hotel stays, shows, attractions, tours, clubs and even complete vacation packages (including air & hotel) with our special link!

 

Crime and Punishment

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I've covered a lot of Las Vegas history on this podcast, but something I've never really taken a deep dive into are some of the fascinating true crime stories from the city's past.  There's a lot of info out there about some of the more "notorious" cases, but my guests for this episode like to focus on some of the lesser-known crime stories.

Anthony & Meagan Smith are the creators of Mayhem In The Desert.  Born & raised Las Vegans (and legit "true crime junkies"), they took it upon themselves to start chronicling some of the extremely interesting and sordid tales that helped shape the history of Sin City.

We talked about what it was like growing up in Las Vegas, what inspired them to create the website, and their writing & research process.  They also shared some of their most favorite Las Vegas true crime stories.

Head over to Mayhem In The Desert & start reading some of these incredible stories.  And, be sure to follow Mayhem In The Desert on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Reddit. 

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Don't forget: Jeff Does Vegas is an official Vegas.com affiliate! 

Help support the podcast & get exclusive deals by booking your hotel stays, shows, attractions, tours, clubs and even complete vacation packages (including air & hotel) with our special link!

 

Virgin Territory

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After operating for almost 25 years, the former Hard Rock Hotel & Casino - just off the Vegas strip at the corner of Harmon Avenue & Paradise Road - shut its doors on February 3, 2020 in preparation for a massive re-brand and renovation to become the Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, which officially opened in March 2021.

In addition to being Sir Richard Branson's first entry into the Vegas market, it also marked the first tribal casino presence in the city with Mohegan Sun Gaming & Entertainment taking over operations of the new 60,000 square foot casino.

My guest for this episode is Joe Hasson, the General Manager of the Mohegan Sun Casino at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas.  We discussed his early career & how he got into casino management, the partnerships between Mohegan Sun & the other operators on site, and the challenges of opening a new property during a global pandemic.

For more information on Mohegan Sun Casino at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, be sure to follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or visit their website where you can also book your stay at the resort.

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Don't forget: Jeff Does Vegas is an official Vegas.com affiliate! 

Help support the podcast & get exclusive deals by booking your hotel stays, shows, attractions, tours, clubs and even complete vacation packages (including air & hotel) with our special link!

Vegas Unfiltered with Sam Novak

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"Probably Biased.  Definitely Honest."

Sam Novak has been been using that tag line over the last few years for his blog, Vegas Unfiltered.

Sam has become known around Las Vegas as the guy who isn't scared to share his opinion.  Whether it's a show, restaurant, hotel or any other Vegas attraction, if it's a complete and total train-wreck, he'll tell you exactly that.  However, if it's worth your time & money, he'll tell you that as well.

Sam and I talked about what inspired him to create Vegas Unfiltered, we reminisced about some of his more "savage" reviews, we discussed the changing Vegas entertainment scene, and much more!

You can follow Sam on Twitter & Facebook, and be sure to check out Sam's unfiltered reviews & recommendations at Vegas411.com and the Vegas Unfiltered blog.

__________________________________________________________________________

Don't forget: Jeff Does Vegas is an official Vegas.com affiliate! 

Help support the podcast & get exclusive deals by booking your hotel stays, shows, attractions, tours, clubs and even complete vacation packages (including air & hotel) with our special link!

My Special Guest - Jonathan Jossel

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When it first opened on July 1, 1971, at the corner of First and Main in Downtown Las Vegas, The Plaza Hotel & Casino was billed as "the largest hotel & casino in the world" with more than 500 rooms on the property.

Over the last half-century, in addition to cementing itself in Las Vegas pop culture, the property itself has seen a variety of changes.  It's been through renovations, upgrades, and ownership changes.

And as the Plaza celebrates it's 50th Anniversary, I'm joined on this episode of the podcast by Jonathan Jossel, the CEO of the Plaza Hotel & Casino.

We talked about his pre-Vegas life & what brought him to Las Vegas, what's behind the recent uptick in interest in Downtown Las Vegas, his plans for the future of the Plaza, and much more.

Be sure to follow Jonathan on Twitter & Instagram and make sure you check out the Plaza's official podcast, "On the Corner of Main Street" by heading to the Plaza's website (or wherever you listen to podcasts).  While you're there, book yourself a stay and take in some of their 50th Anniversary celebrations!

__________________________________________________________________________

Don't forget: Jeff Does Vegas is an official Vegas.com affiliate! 

Help support the podcast & get exclusive deals by booking your hotel stays, shows, attractions, tours, clubs and even complete vacation packages (including air & hotel) with our special link!

Casino: Fact vs Fiction

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The 1995 movie, "Casino" directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci and Sharon Stone is, in my opinion, an absolute classic and a must-watch for anyone at all interested in Las Vegas.

The film - which just celebrated its 25th anniversary - tells the story of Sam "Ace" Rothstein, an expert sports-handicapper who's sent to Las Vegas by the Chicago Outfit to oversee the skimming operations at the fictional Tangiers Hotel & Casino.

"Casino" is based on actual events and pulls its story from the book, "Casino: Love and Honor in Las Vegas", written by Nicholas Pileggi who co-wrote the screenplay along with Martin Scorsese.

As always, whenever a book based on a true story makes a move to the big screen, there's certain plot points that tend to be overly dramatized (or even flat-out made up) for the sake of entertainment.  My guest for this episode of the podcast is here to help shed some light on some of the Fact vs. Fiction aspects of "Casino".

Geoff Schumacher is the Vice President of Exhibits & Programs at the Mob Museum in Las Vegas.  He was kind enough to join me to help separate reality from fantasy when it comes to the world of "Ace" Rothstein/"Lefty" Rosenthal.

Did hotel security actually smash a cheater's hand with a hammer?  Did an FBI surveillance plane actually run out of gas and land on a golf course fairway?  Was there really an issue with blueberry muffins?

We get the answers to these questions - and many more!

Visit The Mob Museum's official website and be sure to follow them on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram.  Also, be sure to subscribe to the Mob Museum's YouTube channel where you can check out virtual tours, special presentations and more!

And if you want to really get into Las Vegas history and read the true story of Frank "Lefty" Rosenthal, Anthony Spilotro, the Hole in the Wall Gang and the massive Stardust skimming operation, pick up your copy of "Casino: Love and Honor in Las Vegas" by Nicholas Pileggi.

Goin‘ Solo

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I do A LOT of solo traveling, particularly to Las Vegas - but I've also done solo trips to other cities including Seattle, Toronto and Los Angeles.

People often ask me what the appeal is of traveling solo. 

Don't I get bored?  Do I worry about my safety?  What does my wife think about me traveling solo?  (The answers to those questions are, in order: no, no and she's fine with it since I'm usually doing stuff she doesn't like)

A lot of folks won't take the jump and book a solo vacation, but I'm hoping my guest for this episode of the podcast might help change a few minds.

Janice Waugh is the founder of Solo Traveler World, a website & online community devoted to people who love to travel solo.

Janice & I talked about the inspiration behind her creating Solo Traveler, the best ways to plan a solo trip, the mistakes to avoid while traveling solo and how to stay safe & out of trouble when you're on your own in a strange city.

If you'd like to connect with Janice & the Solo Traveler community, visit their website at SoloTravelerWorld.com, follow them on Twitter & Instagram, or join the Solo Travel Society on Facebook.

Hidden Gems - Pizza Joints, Steakhouses & Dive Bars

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One of my favourite things about being a frequent Vegas visitor and having friends who live there has been them taking me away from the tourist areas to check out some of the locals' spots around the city.

And I've been noticing more and more lately that people have been asking about these locals' spots; they want to know some of the cool places around Las Vegas where the residents go to eat and hang out - and my guest for this episode is here to help out!

Robert Harley is a Vegas local who runs a vlog called "Let's Get Vegasy".  He does live videos on Facebook & YouTube on an almost-daily basis showing his adventures around the city, and something he focuses quite heavily on is the food & beverage scene.  So, I thought it would be helpful for Robert to jump on the show and share some his picks for these so-called "hidden gems".

We talked about the big three - Pizza Joints, Steakhouses & Dive Bars - as well as a few other spots that Vegas visitors might want to check out.

If you want to check out Robert's latest videos, you can join the Let's Get Vegasy Facebook Group or subscribe to the Let's Get Vegasy YouTube Channel!

 

Total Immersion - The Psychology Of Slot Machines

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I think we've all had that experience where a bunch of time passes and we have no idea where it's gone.  Whether it's while driving down the highway, surfing social media or - sitting at a slot machine in a casino in Las Vegas.

But what causes that effect?  Why do our brains drift away like that and take us out of reality?

My guest for this episode of the podcast is here to help us understand.

Spencer Murch has a PhD in Psychology & Cognitive Science from the University of British Columbia and, over the last several years, has been involved in several different research projects surrounding the cognitive science of gambling.  Recently, Spencer completed a study surrounding "immersion" and being "zoned in" or "zoned out" during slot play.

Spencer took the time to jump on the show with me to explain the methodology behind the study and share the results of his research.  We also talked about the part slot designers play in creating that "immersion", what the future of gaming may hold and how to avoid "zoning in" or "zoning out" while playing slots.

If you'd like to learn more about the psychology of slot machines, check out:

- Research Snapshot: Exploring zoned-in or zoned-out immersion during slot machine gambling
- Research Snapshot: The relationship between dark flow, depression, and multiline slot machines

Or pick up a copy of the book, "Addiction By Design" by Natasha Dow Schull.

Vegas From Across The Pond

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I always love having other "Vegas fanatics" on the podcast, and my guest for this episode definitely falls into that category!

Joining me from "across the pond" is Steve White, better known on Twitter as @LasVegasUK.  If you've ever listened to the ZorkCast presented by TravelZork, you'll recognize Steve as the British half of the show.  Steve is also extremely well-versed in all things Vegas.

Steve & I chatted about everything from our predictions on potential changes coming to Las Vegas, to our very first trips to Vegas, to the unique Vegas guide that Steve is in the process of writing.  Also, being that Steve is in the UK under full-on lockdown and I'm in Canada facing extremely strict rules surrounding travel, we thought it was worth having a discussion about travel restrictions & the impact they're having on international travellers.

Start following Steve on Twitter right now and be sure to check out ZorkCast, the official TravelZork podcast, for great Las Vegas advice - and travel advice, in general.

My Special Guest - Dani Elizabeth

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My guest for this episode is a Vegas Showgirl - and I'm not talking about the "showgirls" you see strolling the strip, posing for pictures with tourists.  I mean, a LEGIT Las Vegas Showgirl.

Dani Elizabeth began dancing as a small child - and she just never really stopped.

Growing up in upstate New York, Dani studied marketing & advertising in University and continued to dance through her college years with her school's dance team, an arena football team and even performing as a superhero at a Six Flags theme park.  From there, she was off to Los Angeles, where she had the opportunity to train with a world-renowned Broadway dancer & choreographer.

From LA, she headed to Vegas where she joined the cast of of one of the most legendary shows in Las Vegas history: Donn Arden's "Jubilee" at Bally's.  She performed there until the show's closure in 2016, following which she joined the cast of yet another legendary Vegas show, "Crazy Girls" at Planet Hollywood, where she's since worked as a dancer in the production and now serves as the show's host.

Dani & I talked about all of this during our conversation, as well as how she's been staying busy during the COVID-19 shutdown - including launching a new business with her fiancee, who also happens to be another Vegas headliner.

If you want to keep up with what Dani is up to, be sure to follow her on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.  To see Dani performing live in Crazy Girls, visit the show's official website for tickets & info!

Closed For Business

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Only twice in recent history, has Las Vegas seen a so-called "shutdown" of the famed Vegas Strip.

In November 1963, casinos closed their doors for a National Day of Mourning following the assassination of then-US President John F. Kennedy.  That closure lasted about 17 hours and even then, only a few casinos took part with several just shutting down their gaming areas for the duration of the funeral - about 3 hours.

The next shutdown would happen 57 years later...and last much MUCH longer.

Due to the rapid spread of the COVID-19 virus, Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak issued a directive ordering a month-long closure of all non-essential businesses as well as a freeze on all gaming & gambling, effective March 18, 2020.  This essentially brought Las Vegas to a screeching halt.

Originally slated to last 30 days, the total shutdown lasted almost 90 days.

To say the effects of the closure were "devastating" for the people who live & work in Las Vegas would be the understatement of the century.  And, due to ongoing restrictions & limitations, the effects are still being felt to this day - almost 10 months later.

Joining me for this episode of the podcast is C. Regi Rodgers, the Managing Partner & Director of Entertainment for Connoisseur Entertainment and Action Shot Productions.  Regi & his partner, Stephen Cibo are behind a new documentary called "Closed For Business", which gets up close & personal with the people who've been hit hardest by COVID-19 in Las Vegas.

Regi & I chatted about the inspiration behind the production, some of the stories shared by people appearing in the documentary and much more.

Be sure to check out the trailer for "Closed For Business" and follow Regi & his team on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram.

And if you'd like to help get "Closed For Business" completed & released, become a backer on INDIEGOGO.

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