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Best of John G. Brokopp

Gaming Guru

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Experience The Past and The Future in Las Vegas

26 July 1999

Good food at reasonable prices and spectacular shows with big-name headliners have long been the reasons millions of people flock to Las Vegas every year, in addition, of course, to the greatest gambling in the world.

During the last decade, however, the powers that be in the city that never sleeps have created reasons to not only keep Las Vegas "the American way to play", but also to make it a more family-oriented vacation destination.

It is the opinion of this columnist that Las Vegas, in spite of its efforts to give itself a "G" rating, is still no place to bring children. It's a place for adults to experience an opportunity for fun and excitement 24 hours a day. Gambling is still what makes the city tick. You can't escape it, even when seeking out fun things for kids to do.

Be that as it may, Las Vegas casinos abound with bigger than life attractions. Two such attractions are The Race for Atlantis at Caesars and Star Trek: The Experience at the Las Vegas Hilton.

The Race for Atlantis is the first-of-its-kind 3-D motion simulator. Located in the new wing of the Forum Shops at Caesars, it has been called the ride of the future. Riders wear electronic headsets that include a personal sound system and goggles that use a synchronized infrared signal from the Imax projection system to enhance the special effects.

Race for Atlantis takes you on a high-tech chariot ride through a fantastic landscape. The 4-minute film is presented in a theater that is dwarfed by an 82-foot dome, the largest ever built for an attraction. About 1,000 riders can be accommodated per hour.

Visitors to the Race for Atlantis are greeted by a 30-foot statue of Neptune battling a sea dragon. There's also an atmospheric walkway "in the heavens" to wait for your turn to ride. The 3-D film features images that appear to leap off the screen right into your lap. It's like being transported inside a giant video game. Ticket prices are $6.75 for children and $9.50 for adults. It's open daily 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 10:00 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday.

The $70-million Star Trek: The Experience transports riders aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise. Guests venture to the bridge, travel on a turbo-lift, then experience a shuttlecraft mission through space and time. The entire experience makes you feel like you are part of the Star Trek universe. On display are models of the U.S.S. Enterprise, Voyager, and the Klingon Bird of Prey.

Adjacent to Star Trek: The Experience is the Space Quest Casino. The 20,000-square foot complex creates the illusion of being on board a space station orbiting earth. The casino personnel are dressed in Star Trek uniforms. Slot machines are played not with the traditional handles, but rather light beams that are broken with a pass of the hand to activate the spinning reels.

Star Trek: The Experience is open daily from 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Admission is $9.95 per person.

My wife Georgette and I had an opportunity to check out the Space Quest Casino at the Hilton. The waiting line for Star Trek: The Experience was a monster! It meandered through the casino and into the hotel lobby concourse. As for the casino itself, forget it! Our impression was that it's strictly a gimmick, overcrowded, and very noisy and distracting for anyone who takes their gaming seriously. It may be a nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to gamble there.

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