Wendy Rush

A woman tourist is showing disapproval of her hotel lodgings. One of the many categories on the list of what tourists think are the biggest scams in Las Vegas.

Scams in Las Vegas, when you’re a local, usually involve that fake solar salesman who runs off with down payment from an unsuspecting homeowner. Or the unlicensed contractors who come out of the woodwork to do home repairs after monsoon season.

We’re talking about the kind of scams that screw you out of thousands of dollars and, more often than not, land you in small claims court.

Scams In Las Vegas Means Something Different For Tourists

But when it comes to people who come to Las Vegas for a vacation, scams include anything they feel like they wasted their hard-earned money on. Including places they eat, shows they see, and attractions they visit. And a recent study has just revealed exactly what tourists think are the biggest scams in Las Vegas.

RELATED: New Rail System Will Bring A Ton More Tourists To Las Vegas

It’s probably safe to say that the majority of the world has been subject to a scam at least once in their lifetime. Unfortunately, it’s just the times we live in. With online ordering, e-bills and social media, our information is everywhere. For anyone with half-decent hacking skills to access.

I know I get a scam phone call at least once a week. I’ve had my identity stolen. It’s not really a matter of “if” when it comes to getting scammed. Just “when”. And because of it, we’ve all just learned to be more cautious in our day-to-day life.

However, when visitors come to Las Vegas from out of town, scams are probably the last thing on their minds. They’re in Sin City to have fun and they always plan to spend more cash than they usually do.

But that doesn’t mean they’re willing to waste their money on things they think aren’t worth the price. And especially for a tourist who is more budget-conscience, that feeling of being scammed can come from places most might not expect.

Study Shows What Offers Tourists Believe Are Biggest Scams In Las Vegas

A recent study, conducted by casino.org, collected data that revealed the offers and experiences most labeled a waste of money by Las Vegas visitors. For the study, casino.org looked at over 1.5 million Tripadvisor reviews that mentioned Las Vegas resorts, shows, restaurants, bars, and attractions.

Reviews that included scam-related words were gathered for the study. In addition to “scam”, “rip-off” and “waste” were among the words flagged.

The number of reviews that included the key words was compared to the total number of reviews analyzed. Doing this allowed casino.org to calculate the percentage of reviews that were unfavorable for each Vegas experience.

The study then organized the results into separate categories: resorts, shows, bars and restaurants, and attractions.

Overall Results

Besides breaking down the top results in each category, casino.org also listed the overall results for the scam-related reviews on TripAdvisor. With 5.5% of reviews of this nature, Blue Man Group was dubbed the biggest scam in Las Vegas. Followed by Minus5 Ice Bar, with 5% of reviews indicating it was a waste of money. Third was Bluegreens Vacation Club 36, with 4.2% of the scam-related reviews.

Pampas Las Vegas and Criss Angel’s Mindfreak tied for 4th, each with 3.9% of scam-related reviews. And Saltgrass Steakhouse came in fifth, with 3% of scam-related reviews. 

To break down the results even further, casino.org took the highest percentages of scam-related reviews for Las Vegas experiences in each of the four aforementioned categories.

10 Big Scams In Las Vegas To Look Out For, According To Tourists

Here is the list of the Biggest Resort Scams, according to the TripAdvisor tourist reviews. Followed by the Biggest Restaurant and Bar Scams. The Biggest Show Scams. And finally the Biggest Attraction Scams.

  • Biggest Resort Scams

    The first category rounds up the resorts that were the most disappointing for tourists. A lot of popular casinos on the Vegas Strip landed in the top ten on the list. But none of those we know the most were in the top three. Here are the ones that were.

  • 1. Bluegreen Vacations Club 36

    The resort with the most scam-related reviews on TripAdvisor was the Las Vegas location of Bluegreen Vacations Club. They have locations all over the country, but the one on Tropicana had 4.2% of scam-related reviews. With 59 percent of the reviews including the word ‘scam’. Mostly pointing toward the timeshare program, but also siting cleanliness concerns.

  • 2. Jockey Club

    According to casino.org‘s study, nearly half of the scam-related reviews for Jockey Club mentioned the word ‘waste’. And one reviewer claimed they spent over $12,000 on their services, which they called ‘dreadful’. Overall, Jockey Club gather 2.8% of scam-related reviews. Landing it at number two on the list.

    The google reviews for the Jockey Club are mixed. It has a 4-star rating on Google. And many of the positive reviews site the location as their best asset.

  • 3. Club Wyndham Grand Desert

    Club Wyndham Grand Desert

    Indulge in a world-class experience at Club Wyndham Grand Desert, the perfect escape for your next leisure vacation, wedding retreat or group outing. Enjoy spacious, generously appointed rooms, with incredible views of Las Vegas, Nevada. Book online or call us today at 727-401-3600 to book your next unforgettable vacation.

    I’ve personally never been to Club Wyndham Grand Desert in Las Vegas, so I comment on the validity of these reviews. That being said, 2.7% of their reviews on TripAdvisor involved words that made it seem like a scam. But it should also be known that those reviews mostly pointed at their timeshare program. Calling the timeshare salespeople “rip-offs” and claiming the timeshare program had a lot of misleading information.

    The reviews regarding Club Wyndham’s hospitality were good. Just maybe don’t do the timeshare part, if you can help it.

    Rounding Out The Top 5

    Coming in at number four on the list was Hilton Vacation Club Cancun Resort, with 2.6% of scam-related reviews. And tied for number five were the Golden Nugget and Palms Casino Resort, each with with 2% of scam-related reviews.

  • Biggest Restaurant And Bar Scams

    Next, the study listed the restaurants and bars around Las Vegas that tourists thought were the biggest waste of their money. Here’s the top three.

  • 1. Minus5 Ice Bar

    Another place I’ve never personally experienced, Minus5 Icebar in Las Vegas just kind of screams “tourist trap”. Like it’s something you have to do once, to impress your visiting friends, but never a second time. And it seems like many TripAdvisor reviewers agree. A huge 5% of reviews indicated that Minus5 is a waste of money.

  • 2. Pampas Las Vegas

    Landing at number two on the list is Pampas. With 3.9% of TripAdvisor reviews being unfavorable. Well over half of those feeling like they wasted their money by dining at the restaurant. Some reviewers felt deceived because Pampas didn’t accept valid coupons or hotel gift cards. And others called the place a tourist trap.

  • 3. Saltgrass Steak House

    Located in the Golden Nugget hotel, Saltgrass Steak House was number three on the list of highest scams in restaurant. With 3% of reviews mentioning things that visitors thought were a rip-off. Overpriced food not worth the low-quality of what the patrons got for their money was a major concern. And the general vibe of the reviews were warning people to spend their time and money elsewhere.

    Rounding Out The Top 5

    Coming in a number four on the list was a tie between the Circus Circus and Bacchanal Buffets, each with 2.7% of scam-related reviews. And 2.6% of the reviews went to the MGM Grand Buffet, landing it at number five.

  • Biggest Show Scams

    The next category in the study mentioned the biggest scams when it comes to shows in Las Vegas, according to TripAdvisor reviewers. Here are the top three.

  • 1. Blue Man Group

    Guests look on as members of Blue Man Group carry leaf blowers with streamers during a pop-up appearance celebrating the return of their show at Luxor Hotel and Casino on June 25, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

    Guests look on as members of Blue Man Group carry leaf blowers with streamers during a pop-up appearance celebrating the return of their show at Luxor Hotel and Casino on June 25, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

    I saw Blue Man Group several years ago and it wasn’t too bad. But maybe the quality has gone downhill since then. At least that is what’s implied by the 5.5% of scam-related reviews from TripAdvisor. Former patrons of the show have said it was a waste of time and money and that your money would be better spent elsewhere.

  • 2. Criss Angel's Mindfreak

    Illusionist Criss Angel escapes from a straitjacket while hanging above the field before a game between the Chicago Bears and the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium on October 10, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

    Illusionist Criss Angel escapes from a straitjacket while hanging above the field before a game between the Chicago Bears and the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium on October 10, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

    I don’t know that there are many people who have seen Criss Angel anywhere who can’t say he seems like a fraud. And, according to the 3.9% of scam-related TripAdvisor reviews, former patrons feel the same about his show. Nearly all of those reviews called the show a ‘waste’ (casino.org). And said the tricks weren’t that impressive. Some reviewers went as far as to call the show a ‘marketing scam’.

  • 3. Penn and Teller

    Penn Jillette and Teller of Penn & Teller perform during The Give Back-ular Spectacular! fundraiser in partnership with The Union Solidarity Coalition at The Orpheum Theatre on October 25, 2023 in Los Angeles, California.

    Penn Jillette and Teller of Penn & Teller perform during The Give Back-ular Spectacular! fundraiser in partnership with The Union Solidarity Coalition at The Orpheum Theatre on October 25, 2023 in Los Angeles, California.

    Almost all of the 2.9% of scam-related reviews said the Penn & Teller show was grossly underwhelming. And I’m sure their feeling of being ripped off has a lot to do with the outrageous ticket prices. Reviewers also mentioned the bar at the show was vastly overpriced, claiming they spent an average of $20 per drink. Even for something as simple as a beer or rum and coke.

    Rounding Out The Top 5

    The Ka Cirque Du Soleil show came in at number four on the study, with 2.4% of scam-related reviews. And the fifth place went to the Jabbawockeez show, with 2.3% of the reviews.

  • Biggest Attraction Scam

    Finally, the study broke down the attractions that Las Vegas tourists called the biggest waste of money. And there was one clear winner.

  • Zak Bagans’ The Haunted Museum

    Historic, reputedly-haunted landmark featuring Zak Bagans' personally curated cornucopia of the macabre

    Visit Zak Bagans' The Haunted Museum in Las Vegas. Explore paranormal rooms and hallways of a historic mansion and view mysterious artificats. Book today!

    A whopping 4% of reviews on TripAdvisor for Zak Bagans’ The Haunted Museum claimed the attraction was a total waste of money. And over half of those reviews called the attraction a ‘rip-off’. So maybe spend your money at some other place. I hear the Mob Museum is nice this time of year.

  • Venetian Gondola Rides

    People take a gondola ride at The Venetian December 12, 2008 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Las Vegas Sands Corp., owner of The Venetian and The Palazzo in Las Vegas, is expected to cut 200 workers from the hotel-casinos to help the company save USD 100 million annually. Nevada's gaming revenues fell by more than 22 percent in October, the largest monthly drop in state history and the 10th straight month revenues have fallen. In addition the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority reported a 10.2 percent decline in number of visitors as the slumping U.S. economy continues to hit the gambling mecca that many once considered to be a recession-proof oasis.

    People take a gondola ride at The Venetian in Las Vegas, Nevada. While the gondolas continue to draw tourists, many reviewers have expressed frustration at the value they are not getting for their money.

    Another attraction in Las Vegas that many TripAdvisor reviewers felt was a scam was the gondola rides at the Venetian Resort. According to the study by casino.org, 3.7% of reviews mentioned patrons feeling ripped off by the cost of the attraction and how it wasn’t worth the short amount of time they got to spend on the ride.

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