From contests to cocktails

September means football. It’s the best time of year for fans who live for the game—and a big promotions opportunity for casinos. One of the rites of the season is to take part in football contests. Of the 16 major contests running this year, three are particularly worth your attention: the Great Giveaway at Station Casinos, Pick the Pros at Coast casinos and the Free Football Contest at M Resort. All of these contests are essentially free to enter—at Station, you have to pay $25 up front, but if you play all 17 weeks and don’t win a prize, you get it all back in free slot-play. These contests are great fun—and they offer the potential to win big prizes with zero financial risk.

Perhaps the best two-week stint of the year for food lovers is in progress right now. Las Vegas’ fifth annual Restaurant Week runs through Sept. 11, featuring prix-fixe deals for $20.11, $30.11 and $50.11 at an amazing number of high-end restaurants around town. Check out the unbelievable list at

The price for Big Al’s Comedy Club at the Orleans has been reduced from $68.65 to $24.69. That’s a massive 64 percent reduction, making this one of the city’s most affordable entertainment tickets.

Do you ever get a hankering for late-night sushi? I mean really late night? You can cover that at the Lahaina Grill (4570 S. Hualapai Way), which serves fresh sushi nightly till 4 a.m. Nigiri sushi and traditional rolls are $4-$6 each, but that’s if you’re paying full boat. Half-price happy hours run from 3 to 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. every day. Beers are $2 and sake $3 during these times, so whether you drink or not, you figure to get out for less than $25 a man.

My favorite find of the month is a 99-cent shrimp cocktail at the snack bar in Henderson’s Eldorado Casino. A 99-cent shrimp cocktail of any kind is a rare find these days, let alone one that’s good—and this one is literally packed to the brim with tiny bay shrimp. There’s also $2 homemade soup, $1.25 ice cream cones and other time-warp-priced goodies, all served on paper and Styrofoam, just like the old days.