Let Wednesday, Kelly Clinton was back at the Tuscany Suites & Casino Piazza Lounge to perform, and I was there.
I was allowed in the lounge, mask-less, after giving my name. No temperature check, just my name written on a log. I suppose if the Tuscany finds one of the audience members eventually tests positive, we will all get phone calls or texts or get-well cards or something.
The lounge was dark and Kelly was singing behind a plastic shield. The lounge was less crowded than usual, but I saw friends there. One of Kelly’s three masked musicians was stationed on the dance floor (rather than on the stage) to preserve the distancing rules. Three of my favorite singers, Clint Holmes, Jimmy Hopper and Lannie Counts, were in the audience and were invited to sing (behind the plastic shield). None of the guys seemed the worse for shutdown wear, and I was thrilled seeing them. Kelly looked and sounded great. Though the show was to go on until 11:30 p.m., I made my exit by about 10 p.m. Why? I guess during the shutdown, I had gotten so used to activity, nap, activity, nap that I was due for a nap. Enjoyed the outing, though, and will return.
Thursday, of course, was the day the casinos opened. I decided, solo, to investigate. Wearing a mask, I started with the Wynn Las Vegas. I was greeted by a masked lady valet who actually knew my name and gave me a big “Welcome back!”. (A friend and I are Monday regulars.) Inside were a bunch of official mask-wearing guys in dark suits ready to give directions, answer questions, etc. They couldn’t answer my main question, however, so I had to walk the whole casino floor to get an answer. No, the play cash I had formerly gotten every week wouldn’t start until NEXT week. Great.
The casino was very quiet, and the machines had not been moved, just the chairs. You were asked to chose a machine based on whether it did or did not have a chair in front of it.
Next stop: The Tuscany casino where I knew my $35 in play cash would be available, and it was. A modest number of cars were in the parking lot, but lots of people were inside the casino, most wearing masks. Lots of noise and people, and the atmosphere was much more comfortable because of it. My “favorite” machine had disappeared, and a line of folks were waiting to get into the coffee shop. The previous night I had asked about the crowded parking lot and a security lady explained, “Well of course; the casino opens tomorrow!” Would I have booked a Vegas trip at this time? Probably not.
I played my $35 and ran it up to $80, but kept playing and lost some of my own money as well. Somehow, having kept the same amount of money in my wallet for two months, losing was a bit less fun than I remembered.
Also, without my gambling buddies nearby and while wearing an uncomfortable mask, the thrill wasn’t what I remembered either. Maybe with time, the excitement of Las Vegas will return, but for now, on a scale of 1 to 10, I’d give my gambling experiences a 4 — but we’ll see.