The 21 Dumbest Las Vegas Things of 2021
It’s fair to say 2021 in Las Vegas was a wonder to behold. There were ups and downs, including a cavalcade of stupid.
We’ll let other, less interesting, sites compile their 2021 highlights. We find the utterly moronic far more entertaining.
Here, then, are 21 of the dumbest things that happened in Las Vegas in 2021.
1. Moon Resort Announced (Again)
Of all the nonsensical projects floated in 2021, the Moon resort was pretty much the most absurd. Still, its impending construction was reported breathlessly around the world. Deeply dumb, never happening, and the stupidity train is just leaving the station.
2. Casinos Stopped Giving Change
An alleged, but fleeting, national coin shortage provided casinos the cover they needed to stop giving guests change when they redeem slot machine vouchers. Not just dumb, but annoying, and how consumer advocate groups aren’t all over this, we have no idea.
3. Tony Hsieh Didn’t Leave a Will
Beloved former Zappos CEO and downtown visionary Tony Hsieh passed away in late 2020, but things got really messy in 2021 when the reality of Hsieh’s lack of planning finally started to sink in. His estate is valued at $500 million, and no Will. WTF were you thinking, Tony? The piranha are circling the lambchop, and it’s only going to get worse.
4. Las Vegas Had a Mask Mandate
Oy, with the mask mandate. The mask mandate, and its associated efficacy debate, continue to plod on with no end in sight. We aren’t anti-mask, we’re anti-mandates. There are just a handful of states with mask mandates, Nevada shouldn’t be one of them.
5. PBR Bailed on Vegas
It was announced PBR (Professional Bull Riding) will leave Las Vegas for Ft. Worth, Texas starting in 2022. It’s no coincidence this bit of stupidity is listed immediately after the mask mandate thing. Cowboys don’t do masks. Reminder: NFR (National Finals Rodeo) isn’t going anywhere.
6. Bleutech Park Kept Tweeting
The biggest scam in the history of Las Vegas, Bleutech Park, continues its bafflingly clueless drivel on Twitter, with no end in sight. This whimsical, “digital infrastructure city” seems to toss tech buzzword manuals into a blender and relentlessly spews the resulting gobbledygook onto the Internet in the hopes some tormented, Howard Hughes-type billionaire will drop them some capital. It’s an embarrassment to “robust workforce ecosystems” and “decentralized food supply chains” and “solving future social gathering guidelines through innovation transforming spaces” everywhere.
7. Virgin Clung to BetFred
Virgin Las Vegas opened March 25, 2021. Without a sports book. The resort’s sports book operator, BetFred, has yet to be approved in Nevada. It appears Virgin is still pinning its hopes on BetFred, with January 2022 as the next opportunity for licensing approval. That sound you hear is Virgin kicking itself repeatedly.
8. Raiders Invited Steve Wynn to Light the Torch
In a completely tone deaf move, the Raiders invited disgraced casino mogul Steve Wynn to light the ceremonial torch at Allegiant Stadium before a game in Sep. 2021. This invitation wasn’t just stupid, it was profoundly offensive to the dozens of women victimized by Steve Wynn. The only way to explain this misstep by the Raiders is concussions, an ongoing problem in pro football.
9. John Gruden Filed a Lawsuit
In Oct. 2021, the coach of the Raiders, John Gruden, got the boot for racist, homophobic and misogynistic e-mails sent over a 10-year period. As if that weren’t stupid enough, Gruden filed a lawsuit against the NFL saying his treatment was comparable to “a Soviet-style character assassination,” whatever that means. The only thing dumber than doing stupid things is not taking responsibility for them while drawing further attention to them.
10. Pinball Hall of Fame Surveyor Botched It
The much-loved Pinball Hall of Fame opened at its new location in 2021. It’s a beauty, but there was a hitch. The third party surveyor screwed up the property line by several feet, resulting in the Pinball Hall of Fame’s building encroaching eight feet onto a neighboring parcel, the future home of Dream Hotel. Discussions to resolve the gaffe continue.
11. Fake Dispensaries Were Approved on Fremont Street
As if Fremont Street Experience doesn’t have enough challenges, some public official approved two “fake” weed dispensaries for Fremont Street. These outlets sell hemp flowers and CBD-based products, but make them look like the weed you’re thinking of (with THC, the stuff that gets you high), leading to what can only be described as a shameful rip-off perpetuated on unsuspecting tourists that only serves to make people mad and damage the reputation of Fremont Street.
12. People Kept Talking About the High-Speed Train
Talk of a high-speed train from California to Las Vegas has been happening for 30-40 years, yet still not a rail, tie or switch, whatever those might actually be. In 2021, hope abounded, but we’re still filing this multi-billion-dollar project in the “stupid” column because while it sounds good, so do warp drives and teleportation and everyone knows Elon Musk is busy drilling tunnels, so good luck with that.
13. Officials Gave All Net Resort More Time
Speaking of dumb things that just won’t die, enter All Net Resort and Arena. The resort project, next to Fontainebleau and across the street from the Las Vegas Festival Grounds, was first announced in 2013. In July 2021, Clark County Commissioners gave the project yet another six month extension to get its act together. They aren’t dumb, they’re just unduly optimistic, as the chances of this project getting off the ground are about as good as Criss Angel getting a personality.
14. Sahara Invested Even More Millions It Doesn’t Have
Right next door to All Net is another baffling enigma, Sahara. While the casino has been an unmitigated financial disaster, ownership continues to dump millions into improvements with zero chance of recouping the investment. From a pool area nobody visits to restaurant renovations and, now, a new porte cochere, Sahara has inspired more head-scratching than a psoriasis outbreak.
15. Some Dolt Damaged Manneken Pis
Dumb was front and center at The D casino when a group of revelers toppled an adorable peeing statue, Manneken Pis. The statue has since been replaced, but the stupid lives on in our memories. Bonus boneheadery: In Feb. 2021, another nitwit pilfered a bust of Kirk Kekorian at Circa. Circa is owned by Derek and Greg Stevens, the pair also owns The D and Golden Gate.
16. Restaurants Added More Shady Fees
Yes, 2021 was a challenging year for restaurants. Customer behavior hit an all-time low and product prices were all over the place. One solution exemplified how stupid 2021 got: Random fees. They had several names, but “service fees” and “services charges” and “concession fees” multiplied like molas. (Molas lay up to five million eggs at a time.)
17. Delilah Prohibited Photography
Delilah, a beautiful new supper club at Wynn, opened in July 2021. That’s not the dumb part. The dumb part is there’s a no photography rule. What in the hell is the point of creating something beautiful if you can’t take photos of it? We suggest you ignore this idiotic rule, but expect to be pestered constantly about it by security.
18. Miracle Mile Shops Started Charging for Parking
Miracle Mile Shops held out as long as it could, but started charging for parking in 2021. On the bright side, it appears the mall will invest some of that windfall (estimated to be $100,000 a month) into a renovation. It doesn’t make the decision any smarter, but at least we’ll be able to see some of our fees in action.
19. Bars Continued to Use Paper Straws
It’s the stupid that keeps on stupiding. For starters, paper straws are misguided theater. They not only ruin cocktails, they make people feel good that they’ve done something, but only serve to divert attention away from addressing serious problems. Most plastic in oceans comes from commercial fishing and poor waste disposal problems outside the U.S. To make these dopey straws even worse, more greenhouse gasses are created during the production of paper products than their plastic counterparts. Las Vegas is in the middle of a desert, so no sea turtles are being harmed with the use of plastic straws. It’s time for this annoyance to end.
20. Caesars Entertainment Bailed on Its Mid-Priced Shows
In May 2021, Caesars Entertainment pulled the plug on a number of its smaller theater venues, leaving a bunch of value shows out in the cold. We get the business reasons behind this move, but the loss of Cleopatra’s Barge (Caesars Palace) and the Anthony Cools Theater (Paris) and Sin City Theater (Planet Hollywood) was a blow to mid-priced shows in town and symbolizes another step away from value offerings, just as the closure of buffets and Laurel Lounges do.
21. A Metric Ass-Ton of Other Stupid Things
Look, we had to do a list of 21 dumb things, but there are so many more! People didn’t tip on million-dollar slot jackpots, dumb. There’s still no lottery in Las Vegas, dumb. The IRS tax threshold for slot wins is still $1,200, dumb. Encore became pet-friendly, dumb. (We love dogs, but it’s Encore.) Pickle tub drummers are still allowed on Fremont Street, dumb. Resorts World rebranded its Starlight on 66 lounge to Alle Lounge on 66, dumb. Endless road construction everywhere in Las Vegas, dumb. Far more people bringing dogs into casinos, dumb.
For such an incredible place, Las Vegas has a lot of dumb.
We’d love to hear about dumb things you’ve encountered in Las Vegas in 2021. Unless it’s a blog, then keep your damn opinion to yourself.