I can’t understand the acceptance of paid parking at casinos in Las Vegas.  Sure it’s going to happen sooner or later, but to accept the premise of it so easily, rattles me to the core.

This is not an indictment of MGM, even though it has a middle school tone to say “well, they started it!”  To accept it’s happening is inevitable, but to compare the casino industry to all other forms of entertainment is false. Let’s visit the rationale for free parking.

On the Strip, it’s paid parking at all MGM, Caesars properties, as well as Cosmopolitan. Atlantic City has had paid parking for years, but at $5 and free pass for next garage.

WELL, EVERYBODY ELSE DOES IT!

If you visit other entertainment venues – stadiums, concerts, amusement parks – parking is paid for, and many times at a high price.  So why not when you visit a casino?  This is what the mayors of major cities, owners of professional sports and now casino operators are citing for reason that a tradition of free parking at casinos should change.

According to the annual Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority poll, in 2016, the average bankroll for a 3 1/2 day trip is barely over $600, or $200 per day.  According to one Strip operator, staying at a mid-level casino/resort will cost about $20 per day of your stay.  That is 10% of the average bankroll spent on parking at the hotel you are staying at!  Most hotels have free parking when you stay in them, don’t they?

WHY IS CASINO PAID PARKING DIFFERENT?

Here’s why:

When you pay for the parking at these venues, those behind the entertainment give you exactly what you paid for.  But a casino’s entertainment (gambling) involves the “House Edge.”  Remember the house edge?  It refers to the fact that when you enter the casino, visitors who gamble are already losing money for their visit, the question is how much.

Simple House Edge
Simple House Edge

When you go to a concert in a major city, usually the paid parking is taken care of by a different entity other than the entertainment itself, not those supplying the entertainment. But check out this scenario:

How would you feel if after paying for parking, paying for food, paying for drink (yes that’s coming to a casino near you also, my friends) that you sat down only to realize that the ticket you paid for might not be for the entire show and encore!  At any given time with your $50 ticket, an usher would come over and ask for more money (added bankroll) or you were done watching this show. Would you buy that ticket knowing ahead of time you had a chance of only seeing 75-80% of the show (penny slots), 90-98% of the show (video poker, table games) or missing the last song & encore?

That’s the difference.  Free parking, as well as free drinks, was part of the balance for gamblers dealing with the house edge. Remember, the second you enter a casino, YOU ARE AT A DISADVANTAGE!

It’s not enough that the house advantage continues to bite at the ankles of the casino’s patrons, casinos are using more tactics to nickel and dime us to our bankroll’s quicker death – 6/5 Blackjack, three zero roulette, carnival games with high house advantage, diminishing video poker pay tables, lower slot payouts, less free odds in craps – WHEN WILL IT STOP?

JUST TAKE UBER OR LYFT

Taxi line at Las Vegas McCarran Airport to take you….wherever.

When I visit Las Vegas, I rent a car.  Many people do.  For over twenty years, I have navigated my way around the Strip, I-15, and around the surrounding communities like Summerlain, Henderson, and North Las Vegas.  For $200  I get a car for 5 days, I get control of my life and control of what casino to visit – and how long.  Go ahead, wait for your ride-share, pay twice – or even thrice a day that I do and tell me it doesn’t come close to the same price for the week.  One taxi ride is the cost of one day rental for me – and I don’t have to depend on a smelly car and high prices to take me where I want to go.

But paid parking? Another attempt to keep you there, to pay for your…..well everything……and entertain yourself gambling at the house edge.  The longer you stay, the longer the house edge works against you, the more your pay for parking, and the more you kid yourselves that “it’s OK, everyone else is doing it.  It’s the price you pay for entertainment.”  Hey, Mr. Oblivious, go read above in this post about HOUSE EDGE!

CASINO INDUSTRY RATIONALE

Finally, I will end with an explanation of paid parking by a well-known casino……. I mean resort…….giant who happens to own casinos across America.  If you figure out who it is, please keep in mind the rest of the casino industry is looking to follow suit.  And I’m not “lion.”

Parking at Cosmopolitan, or is it MGM? Caesars?

“At (fill in the name), our goal is to provide convenient, safe and secure parking for all of our guests. We are investing in new parking technologies that create a better parking experience for visitors to any of our Las Vegas resorts. These investments will ensure that our facilities are bright, clean and easier to navigate than ever before. Whether you are visiting for a few hours or for a few days, parking at any of our (fill in the destination) resorts should be easy and convenient for all.”

With a show of hands, how many of you feel that all the money collected in parking at America’s casinos is being collected with the casino “guest” in mind?   Raise your hands nice and high……..

Hmmm, not many……just what I thought……….

 

Binbin

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