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My teenage daughter thinks it’s funny to yell “Bingo” as we walk by various casino halls on our way to the movies. I would scold her but the scene of angry daubers being flung in disgust is priceless. I always justify her actions by the fact that most areas that house bingo seem to need an excitement face lift anyway.

I say “most” because the latest renovation project at Palace Station features a brand new bingo hall that has distanced itself from the perception of the game. “Our goal is to appeal to a broader audience”, according to Palace Station’s general manager Scott Nelson.

Research will quickly show that the roots of Palace Station grew from the game of bingo, evident by the property once being named Bingo Palace in 1977 after being purchased by Frank Fertitta, Jr., the founder of Station Casinos, in 1976. Fertitta was a guy who cared about community with an emphasis on its workers. That’s why in 1976 when he opened his first casino, called “The Casino,” it was obvious local traffic was the focus. Although the marketing department came up short providing a catchy name for the property, Fertitta made it up by providing a spot where everyone felt welcomed. Like Steve Wynn when he erected the Mirage in 1989, the consensus opinion was a hotel off the Strip corridor wouldn’t work. I consider this one of the early signs that you should never bet with the public.

Although the property had its share of success on the back of bowling, buffets, and bingo, it’s fair to say the look of the property became outdated. It became best known for where O.J. was arrested as its reputation floated away from the positive perception it once controlled. Clearly it was time to make a dramatic change to regain its rightful spot in the minds of Las Vegans.

“It had to become more pleasing, more inviting,” Nelson said. “We changed everything including the color scheme,” which is dominated by splashes of red and orange, giving the room a new feeling of warmth.

With all of the positive current change you can still find a lingering policy from the past such as free parking, something that seems to be at a premium these days. Once outside of your vehicle on the North end of the property, you’re literally a few feet away from the new home of dauber heaven.

At the hall’s doorsteps you’re visually pulled in by a video screen that would make Jerry Jones blush. The sheer magnitude of their huge electronic bingo board makes a statement to the rest of the city about who is really serious about this game. With over 300 seats, sessions are played daily on the odd hour from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. and the room’s demeanor is one that should excite or reignite your love for bingo.

The room seems to be noticeably engulfed by television screens that will surely be home to every college and NFL game this fall. Everything about the upgrades screams “we’re the best at what we do and it’s not even close.”

Let’s address the elephant in the room though, bingo has always been perceived to be a game that is played by older participants. But as with anything else, there has to be something that lures a new generation of players. Nelson reminded of how they’ll attack that perception with different themed nights like Rock n’ Roll Bingo; not sure if this means an evening with Def Leppard as I crush the B8 square with my blue dauber but even if not, these types of events, along with Country Bingo, should easily help turn the soil over for the game’s future. The massive bar in the left back corner will help too.

Upscale is the best way to describe my first experience as I stroll around to a unique VIP section in the back, an area that’s closed off by glass for their bigger clients to enjoy a quieter bingo experience, far away from kids who like to ruin bingo dreams.

After spending an afternoon at the property that sits right at I-15 and Sahara Ave., it was clear Palace Station has re-established itself as the major player for local business.


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