MGM Resorts Begins to Charge Parking Fees at Las Vegas Casinos
MGM Resorts International started to charge for parking at its Las Vegas-area casinos this week. The decision to charge for self-parking ends a decades-long policy in which Las Vegas Strip casinos did not charge customers for visiting their casino properties.
Until the end of 2016, parking is going to remain free for visitors who have a valid Nevada driver’s license. Self-parking fees will not be assessed to visitors who stay less than an hour, either. Everyone else is going to be charged for parking.
MGM Resorts is calculating that the customers of casinos like Bellagio — said by CNBC to be the favorite casino of the rich — are not likely to balk at paying parking fees, since such fees are paid most everywhere else drivers use a parking garage. Of course, customers do not like to be bilked, and the economic elite sometimes like to be treated as special customers, so the gaming company faces the danger of offending gamblers over a nominal fee.
List of Casinos Charging Fees
Because of the MGM Resorts’ large portfolio of Las Vegas casinos, a number of famous properties have started the new parking policies: Bellagio, Mandalay Bay, Aria, Mirage, New York-New York, Luxor, Monte Carlo, and Excalibur.
Five of the casinos charge higher rates for parking, including Bellagio, Mandalay Bay, Mirage, Aria, Vdara, The Delano, Circus Circus, and New York-New York. The parking rates for those five properties are $7 for a 1-hour to 4-hour stay, $10 for a 4-hour to 24-hour visit, and an additional $10 for eveyr day beyond Day 1.
The parking rates at the Luxor, Monte Carlo, and Excalibur are going to be somewhat cheaper. If a person parks between 1 hour and 4 hours at those three casinos, they will be charged $5. If they park between 4 hours and 24 hours, they’ll be charged $8. Every day beyond that will be an additional $8. Valet parking for the various properties range between $8 and $18.
Criticism for the New Policy
Since the new policy was announced a number of months ago, MGM Resorts has received criticism from customers and media sources. It is a standing tradition in Las Vegas that customers are not charged for the right to gamble. Conventional wisdom is the few dollars lost is more than offset by making it easy to gamble, and thus lose significantly greater amounts of cash through the house edge.
The question is whether the Las Vegas casino company is going to lose a significant percentage of the MGM Resorts customer base, or whether visitors will grouse, but fork over money to park anyway. One local media source talked to a customer named Frank Thomas, who said the parking fees are going to drive him and his wife away from the MGM properties. Mr. Thomas and his spouse were leaving Aria when they were questioned, and Thomas said MGM Resorts had lost them as customers.
What Impact Will It Have?
In an era when drivers expect to be charged fees for placing their cars in a parking garage, the question is whether most customers are going to balk at these particular fees at these particular sites. MGM Resorts International obviously believes people might complain, but paying a few dollars to park will not be a deal-breaker. Yet as much as the new fees take money from customers, it is as much of an inconvenience as anything. If a gambler can park for free down the street, they might be more willing to gamble at a Caesars Entertainment, LVS, or Wynn Resorts casino.
So far, none of the other Las Vegas casino operators have indicated a desire to charge for parking. Whether that reluctance is going to last, if MGM Resorts charges fees and doesn’t take a hit in customer traffic, is another matter entirely. It is the smart thing to say nothing and see how the MGM Resorts trial balloon works.
When the Policies Take Effect
Fees are being charged already at Aria, Vdara, Monte Carlo, and New York-New York. The new parking prices begin at Circus Circus, Luxor, and Excalibur on Tuesday. Mandalay Bay is set to start charging on Wednesday, while The Delano and The Mirage will begin the practice next week.
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