Las Vegas Casinos now Levy Fees on Drinks
Las Vegas casinos were once famous for free parking and free drinks but now this sin city is becoming the fee capital of the world. Casinos began eliminating free parking in recent years – a perk that had been afforded to visitors of all tier levels for decades. Resort fees continue to climb, Park MGM currently at $37 a day and now there is levy of fees on drinks.
This means Las Vegas casinos are now expensive to visit as guests are now incurring service fees on drinks at Strip resort properties. First reported by Vital Vegas, a recent guest at Park MGM questioned why his two drinks at the Mama Rabbit Mezcal and Tequila Bar came with a service charge. The bill – totaling $38.00 – increased to $43.04 after $3.14 sales tax and an ambiguous $1.90 service charge.
Another guest – under the Twitter handle “NotFromConcentrate” – noticed he, too, incurred such random charges at Park MGM. He reached out to MGM Resorts for an explanation.
This charge you’re seeing is a venue fee,” the casino operator explained. “It is not only applied for table service, but for bar service as well, and is being applied to every check in the venue.”
“This fee is applied to all things that keep the venue operationally running, like the gaming maintenance for all bar top games, Wi-Fi, lounge maintenance,” MGM added.
The Fee Game
According to the Park MGM website, the resort fee covers “property-wide high-speed internet access (public spaces and in-room), unlimited local and toll-free calls, airline boarding pass printing, and fitness center access for guests 18+.”
It’s not just MGM that’s in on the fee game. Sahara Las Vegas, which returned to the Strip last week after a disastrous run as SLS Las Vegas, is also charging a service fee at its bars. A receipt from The Foundry shared to Twitter shows a $14.00 cocktail ballooning to $16.80 after a mandatory 15 percent gratuity and five percent service charge.
Daily resort fees are now as high as $45 a day – the going rate at luxury properties, including the Bellagio, Aria, Vdara, Venetian, Palazzo, Wynn, and Encore.
The charges are the subject of two lawsuits filed by the attorney general for the District of Columbia and Nebraska. The complaints allege resort fees are a form of “drip pricing” where online retailers advertise one price, and then incrementally increase the cost through mandatory surcharges.
Social Media reacts
As we’ve said, MGM 2020 will transform comped drink practices in casinos as we know them. Next in the consultant crosshairs: Room service. Word is cost-cutting measures will make room service unrecognizable, if it continues to exist at all (other than for high rollers).
— Vital Vegas (@VitalVegas) March 13, 2019
Following the October 2017 mass shooting, Las Vegas pleaded with visitors to continue supporting the gaming mecca. According to MGM CEO Jim Murren, without you, casino and hotel staff don’t have a job. You are coming here supporting this destination and helping those families take care of themselves.
But then many Las Vegas Strip casinos eliminated free parking and raised up resort fees.
The controversy sparked when two Las Vegas travelers shared their bar receipts from Park MGM and Sahara, showing a service charge on their cocktails which caught the attention of different media channels.
On Twitter, users are outraged at the newest fees to invade Sin City.
One user tweeted, this whole fee thing has gotten ridiculous. They are making people angry and killing the golden goose. Very greedy and stupid.
Another explained, “I was joking when I suggested a toilet flush fee, an air conditioning fee, a housekeeping fee, a towel fee, quadruple zero roulette fee, pool lounge chair fee, casino admission fee, an hourly slot machine fee.”