Coke or Pepsi (But not both)

Las Vegas is an amazing city. You can have the time of your life. Some say you can have whatever you desire here in Sin City, but this is not true. One thing you cannot have is a Coke. For reasons that baffle me, here in Las Vegas, Pepsi is dominant, at least off the Strip. All the Station Casinos and the Boyd properties have only Pepsi products, and these two companies own almost all the hotel/casinos off the Strip. On the Strip, the battle rages, but it is either one or the other. Pepsi and Coke have staked out their turf.

But it’s not just Coke, and it’s not just the restaurants. I had an aunt visit Las Vegas. She was a big Coke drinker. She was staying at the Orleans. This hotel is just off the Strip, and she couldn’t buy a Coke at the gift store or any other place in the hotel. She had to leave the Orleans and go to a corner gas station that had a convenience store to buy Coca-Cola. I find this to be bizarre. When did this happen? When did casinos face the issue of Pepsi or Coke? There is now more choice of soda in a 7-11 store than a Las Vegas hotel.

I’ve been to every major gambling property off the Strip, and I got to the point where I would just ask for a Diet Pepsi. One day, I was at the Silverton. This is a hotel/casino to the south of the Strip near Blue Diamond. At the buffet, I asked for a Diet Pepsi and the server asked me if Diet Coke was okay. I was stunned. Sure, I’ll take a Diet Coke. I’m still not sure if Silverton represents a counter-attack by Coca-cola, or this is what is left of their presence outside the Strip.

Although Pepsi dominates off the Strip, there is a battle between the two soda pop companies for supremacy all along Las Vegas Blvd. It seems that Pepsi rules on the north and south ends of the Strip, but they are closing in on Coke that has territory staked out in the middle.

But what upsets me the most is that the soda wars go against the history of Vegas. If you arrive in Las Vegas and are considered a whale, you will not get the soda of preference if it goes against the contract the hotel has with a particular soda company. A whale is one of the most important customers a casino can have. A person who has enormous wealth and spends a lot of it gambling. But if this whale were to ask for a Coke in the land of Pepsi, they would need to have a sit down with him and explain that no such product exists in their casino. Granted, they may send somehow on an errand to visit a local drugstore to buy a Coca-Cola product for their important customer, but if you’re someone like me that doesn’t reach the level of a whale, you’re shit out of luck.