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Best of John G. Brokopp

Gaming Guru

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A Reader's Trip to Elko, Nevada's Red Lion Casino

27 August 1999

Have you ever been curious about the little ad in the newspaper giving information about trips to a place called the Red Lion Casino in Elko, Nevada for the eye catching price of just a little over one hundred dollars per person, including round-trip airfare and three nights' lodging?

That curiosity got the best of a regular reader of this column, Al H. He booked a vacation with the Red Lion Casino and was kind enough to report back to this column upon his return with a detailed e-mail message in which he gave a review of the travel itinerary, accommodations, and his overall experience.

First, however, an overview of what the trip is all about. Elko, Nevada is located 433 miles almost due north of Las Vegas. The packages from Chicago advertise round-trip air fare, transfers to and from the airport, deluxe room accommodations, and shuttle service between Red Lion, Gold Country Casinos, and High Desert Inn.

The cost? Depending on your departure date, the complete package per person can range from $109 to $124 plus tax. O.K. you ask. What's the catch?

For openers, you'll fly aboard an airline known as Casino Express, which is owned by the same parent company as the Red Lion Casino. The airline can operate at cost for Red Lion, which subsidizes it and makes the low cost packages possible.

There are different departure dates scheduled from different parts of the country throughout the year. For example, there are nine trips scheduled from Chicago during the three month period September through December 1998.

Luggage is limited to one carry-on bag per person. During the flight you'll be served a "light snack" and complimentary champagne and soda. The only other requirement is that you show you are carrying $350.00 in cash or traveler's checks prior to boarding your flight. Why? It's simply an act of good faith on your part to show you are willing to gamble on your trip, win, lose, or draw.

That's the deal in a nutshell. Now let's hear first-hand from Al H. about what it was really like to travel to the Red Lion Casino in Elko, Nevada:

"We arrived at O'Hare Airport at approximately 5:30 p.m. We had to report to the Delta Terminal. The Red Lion tour company would like to have you show up about an hour early. The plane pulled in the gate at 6:00 p.m. At 6:15 they began to check us in and we were able to board the plane immediately after receiving an envelope, which served as our boarding pass. Your seat number is written on the envelope. You keep the same seat on the return flight. We left Chicago at 7:00 p.m. and arrived in Elko at 10:10 p.m. Chicago time.

"When we got off the plane we boarded the buses for the Red Lion Casino. The trip from the airport to the casino is about 15 minutes. When we arrived at the casino our player's cards and room keys were waiting. They are very organized. The rooms are clean and comfortable. We had two queen-size beds, a coffee maker, and plenty of towels.

"The casino itself is not very large, but large enough. You have your pick of machines or tables. There is Spanish 21, Blackjack, Caribbean Stud Poker, Hold 'em, and a few others, but there was no Pai Gow Poker so I could not use my newly acquired skill.

"There was also a separate room for regular poker, a roulette wheel, a craps table, and plenty of machines. There was also a sports betting parlor, and a keno and bingo parlor.

"We got ready to leave for Chicago at 10:30 a.m. Chicago time three days later. The bus took us back to the airport. We went through the check-in, boarded the plane, and took off at 11:40 a.m. Chicago time. We landed in Scottsbluff, Nebraska for refueling at 1:00 p.m. We took off a 1:25 p.m. and landed in Chicago at 3:10 p.m. It was a very enjoyable trip.

"The food at the Red Lion was good. We ate only there because we were told it was the best food of all three casinos. I would do it again, even though I came home a loser, but that is par for the course! The trip cost $130.99 person, including tax, round-trip airfare, and 4-days and 3-nights accommodations."

Thank you very much, Al, for taking the "mystery" out of the Red Lion Casino for us. Sorry you didn't make any money, but I know the feeling! If any of you are interested in the Casino Express Airlines flight schedule, or you would like more information about Elko, Nevada, call toll free 1-800-258-8800 or visit their website at www.redlioncasino.com.

John G. Brokopp

John G. Brokopp's gaming column appears in Chicago Sun Times (Chicago, Illinois), The Times (Northwest Indiana), The Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa), The Courier News (Elgin, Illinois), The Gazette (Southwest Suburban Chicago) and Senior Wire (Denver, CO). He's also a regular contributor to The Colorado Gambler, Midwest Gaming & Travel, Casino Player and Strictly Slots. John possesses 28 years of experience as a professional handicapper, publicist, freelance writer, and casino gaming correspondent. He is also the author of two very popular books, The Insider’s Guide to Internet Gambling and Thrifty Gambling.

Books by John G. Brokopp:

> More Books By John G. Brokopp

John G. Brokopp
John G. Brokopp's gaming column appears in Chicago Sun Times (Chicago, Illinois), The Times (Northwest Indiana), The Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa), The Courier News (Elgin, Illinois), The Gazette (Southwest Suburban Chicago) and Senior Wire (Denver, CO). He's also a regular contributor to The Colorado Gambler, Midwest Gaming & Travel, Casino Player and Strictly Slots. John possesses 28 years of experience as a professional handicapper, publicist, freelance writer, and casino gaming correspondent. He is also the author of two very popular books, The Insider’s Guide to Internet Gambling and Thrifty Gambling.

Books by John G. Brokopp:

> More Books By John G. Brokopp