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Hotels experiment with vouchers at video poker bars

The Cosmopolitan hotel is expanding a drink voucher system, replacing old Vegas’ system of free drinks at all of its video poker bars.

In the old system — which still rules most hotel casinos — if you gamble on the casino floor or at a bar, you get free drinks from bartenders who monitor your gambling.

Since November, the Cosmo has been testing a ticket system at a video poker bar, where gamblers must gamble to receive vouchers for drinks.

That voucher system is expanding to “remaining video poker bars over the coming weeks,” Kevin Sweet, the hotel’s vice president of slot operations and marketing, said in an email.

You still get free drinks on the hotel’s casino floor.

The only other apparent hotels with vouchers: A voucher system is being tested at one bar at the MGM Grand and one bar at The Mirage, to see if that system will expand across MGM properties.

MGM’s pilot bars still give people a free drink when they first sit down. The next drinks are free based on the “volume and amount” someone gambles, MGM said.

Both The Cosmopolitan and MGM are using the same rationale for a voucher system: to employ tech to help bartenders and mixologists discern who deserves free drinks, instead of monitoring gambling drinkers by eye.

At Caesars Palace properties, you can still get free drinks while gambling on the floor and at bars, and Caesars hasn’t even hinted at considering changing that policy.

Caesars and all of the following hotels indicated on Thursday they do not have vouchers while sticking to the standard free-drink system: California Hotel; The D; Downtown Grand; El Cortez; Fiesta; Four Queens; Gold Coast; Golden Nugget; Green Valley Ranch; Hard Rock Hotel; Hooters Hotel; The Orleans; Palms; Red Rock Resort; SLS; South Point; Stratosphere; Suncoast; Treasure Island; Tropicana; The Venetian/Palazzo; Westgate Las Vegas; Westin; and Wynn/Encore

NO CHARGES

Prosecutors have reportedly chosen to drop a misdemeanor battery citation issued against NBA center/power forward DeJuan Blair at Drai’s nightclub in July.

Blair was cited for picking up a woman he was arguing with in line, and tossing her out of the line, which was followed by her striking back and Drai’s ejecting him.

TMZ reports the woman is upset authorities dropped it, while Blair has vowed innocence all along, saying he just moved her.

THAT’S NOT HOW YOU SPELL ‘BURGER’

If you want to stake out a place where a celebrity couple will be this weekend, Donnie Wahlberg and wife Jenny McCarthy are planning to pop into Wahlburgers burger joint.

Singer/actor Wahlberg spent Thursday morning promoting the new Bally’s eatery on “Good Morning America,” vowing to actually eat there.

“Me and my wife are celebrating our second anniversary this weekend, so we’re going to go to Vegas, and I get to visit Wahlburgers,” Wahlberg said.

He opened it here for the tourist base, obviously.

“Outside of (hometown) Boston, it was the place we most wanted to go to as our next location, because if we’re in Vegas, we can reach the whole world.”

WELCOME

Filipino TV host Ryan Agoncillo surprised his wife, Filipino movie and TV actress Judy Ann Santos, by buying a Las Vegas home for her and their three children.

After arriving at the house, he posted video of the moment he told her it was her home and carried her, as she laughed joyfully, across the threshold, and kissed.

Both of them have won quite a few movie and TV awards in the Philippines.

HOME TWEET VEGAS

UNLV student @AlanaALion: “Fun Fact: if you grew up in Vegas, you’ve been conditioned to say ‘I should just be a stripper’ whenever things get a little difficult.”

Podcaster @fivehundy: “My new goal in life is to buy a plot of land on Las Vegas Blvd. and then watch people freak out when I don’t do anything with it.”

@nevadaDOT: “83% of deaths in drunk driving happened between 6pm-5:59am over Labor Day in 2014. #DriveSober”

SIGHTINGS

“Mythbusters” science host Adam Savage, staying in the Aria hotel while giving a private talk to a science and tech conference.

Doug Elfman can be reached at delfman@reviewjournal.com. He blogs at reviewjournal.com/elfman. On Twitter: @VegasAnonymous

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