Category Archives: Free Las Vegas

Wynn Resorts Rights a Wrong, Rolls Back Paid Parking

Few saw it coming, but Wynn Resorts has bucked a trend by announcing it will give free parking to its hotel guests, as well as a way for us commoners to get free parking, too.

Your first question, of course: Las Vegas hotels make their own guests pay for parking?

Well, yes. Where have you been?

Currently, Wynn and Encore charge guests for self-park and valet, a trend that’s become the norm in Las Vegas, just as it is in other cities.

Self-park rates run $7 for the first 1-2 hours, $12 for 2-4 hours and $15 up to 24 hours. Valet charges currently run from $18 (up to two hours), to $27 for 24 hours.

Starting July 1, 2018, that all changes.

Wynn Encore

Wynn Resorts could use some positive buzz right about now. Free parking is a great place to start.

Guests of Wynn and Encore will be able to self-park or valet for free. Remember when free parking was a thing in Las Vegas?

Free parking for hotel guests will be included in their $39 resort fee. Wynn Resorts assures customers the resort fee won’t be increased to accommodate the new policy.

Don’t get us started about resort fees. That’s a fight for another day.

But wait, there’s more.

Non-hotel guests will also be able to park free, albeit with validation. Guests will be validated upon receipt of a $50 spend at Wynn or Encore.

That minimum can be spent at all the retail stores, restaurants, shows, nightclubs and lounges at either of the resorts.

Players will be pleased to hear even money spent gambling counts toward the $50 minimum spend to get free parking. The company hasn’t release details about how that will work, but we trust they’ll figure it out.

Wynn parasols

Sorry, gazing at the pretty things won’t get your parking validated. Buy a couple of drinks, though, and you’re good.

This change in paid parking policy is a pretty big deal in Las Vegas. Paid parking is an ongoing source of frustration for visitors, and many believe is has caused a shift in public perception of Las Vegas as a value destination.

We are one of those people.

So, what’s the motivation behind Wynn Resorts’ move?

Well, there’s the official answer, referred to as “horseshit” in public relations parlance.

Maurice Wooden, President of Wynn Las Vegas, said, “We have come to believe that charging additional parking fees is counter to the personalized service we provide. This new policy directly reflects the way we know our guests want and deserve to be treated.”

So, it suddenly dawned on them guests don’t like having to pay for parking? Right.

Wynn $5,000 machine

This machine at Wynn is $5,000 per spin. You’re covered on the parking.

Wynn Resorts has at least three reasons to change its paid parking policies.

First, its restaurants, shows and retail stores have taken a hit since paid parking was instituted. And it’s not just happening at Wynn and Encore, but at casinos all across Las Vegas.

Restaurants don’t receive the financial benefits of paid parking, at all, so they’re being hurt with nothing to show for it.

Increasingly, restaurants, shows and retail stores are letting their casino overlords know they’re suffering, and it appears Wynn Resorts is listening.

Second, it’s Wynn Resorts, so there’s an undeniable public image component.

Generously setting aside parking fees can’t hurt during a time when Wynn Resorts is trying to restore its tarnished reputation following the Steve Wynn sexual misconduct scandal.

Wynn Resorts is throwing everyone a bone. Which, come to think of it, is what got Steve Wynn in all that trouble in the first place.

We’ll wait.

Wynn funny chip

Oh, like we’d do a story about Wynn without including this chip. Do you know this blog at all?

Third, follow the money.

Wynn’s neighbors, Venetian and Palazzo, still offer free parking. That means many customers park at these competing casinos and walk to Wynn and Encore.

One of the cardinal rules of Las Vegas casinos: Don’t send customers to a competitor. Guests may intend to pass through Palazzo to gamble and dine at Wynn, but there are lots of distractions along the way.

So, the bottom line is Venetian and Palazzo deserve props for holding strong on free parking. If they’d rolled out paid parking, it’s unlikely Wynn Resorts would be changing its policies.

Palazzo

We all owe you a beer, Palazzo.

Along those same lines, let’s not forget another neighbor with free parking: Fashion Show Mall. You can bet there’s a collective sigh of relief at retail outlets inside Wynn and Encore right about now.

We can only hope the new parking program at Wynn and Encore is an acknowledgment by casinos that paid parking is an unnecessary annoyance to customers.

Paid parking is a short-sighted revenue play that hurts brands and, ultimately, Las Vegas.

Let’s hope the other big casino companies in Las Vegas, Caesars Entertainment and MGM Resorts (which started this whole paid parking mess), see the light, too.

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Guy Creates Las Vegas Race for Friends and It’s Amazing

Everyone needs a friend like Gabe Sinna.

Sinna recently celebrated a birthday, and decided to invite some friends to join him in Las Vegas for the festivities.

Lots of people have done that. But Gabe Sinna isn’t everybody.

After months of planning, Sinna created an ingenious game for his friends to play, inspired by the hit travel competition on CBS, “The Amazing Race.” And his game has raised the bar for Las Vegas scavenger hunts forever.

Amazing Gabe

Trust us, the word “amazing” isn’t used lightly here.

See, just about everyone has a friend who’s a planner. But Gabe Sinna is more than that. He’s a savant. He’s a genius. He’s a freak.

And we’re not just saying that because Sinna dove deeply into the recesses of this very Las Vegas blog for nuggets to inform his “Amazing Gabe” race.

Amazing Gabe

Gabe and the better half of the teams competing in the “Amazing Gabe” race.

While Sinna orchestrated an entire Las Vegas trip for his friends, we tagged along on the part that featured downtown. Not only do we work downtown (in marketing at Fremont Street Experience), the area is home to some of our favorite places in Las Vegas.

Sinna did extensive research about downtown before creating his race, then built his “race” using elements of “The Amazing Race,” including “Detours” and “Roadblocks.” He even used artwork inspired by the show. Told you he’s a freak.

Amazing Gabe

This is the photo caption where we don’t mention how much free time Gabe clearly has.

At the beginning of each leg of the race, Sinna distributed clues (“Route Info.”) and his friends, all couples, got to explore downtown in a fun, unique way.

It should be noted Sinna’s friends are also sort of freaks, as they made matching T-shirts with Sinna’s face on them for each team.

Amazing Gabe

Gabe’s friends weren’t messing around. It’s a little thing called “bragging rights.”

The “Amazing Gabe” race included a carefully-curated list of things to do downtown:

  • Take a photo with the gold nugget replica at Golden Nugget
  • Get a pic with a million bucks at Binion’s
  • Try a scorpion shot at Nacho Daddy
  • Visit Banger Brewing
  • Ride the SlotZilla zipline
  • Visit Golden Gate
  • Rub Buddha’s belly at The Cal
  • See the Berlin Wall at Main Street Station
  • Ride the Downtown Loop to the Gold & Silver Pawn shop
  • Take in the Neon Museum
  • Grab a dog at American Coney Island at The D

The downtown race culminated at Pizza Rock, of course. Did we not mention Sinna reads this blog?

Gabe Sinna’s friends are apparently fellow Las Vegas aficionados, because they navigated his clues with relative ease. (It was determined later the Internet may have made some of the clues too easy to solve. Thanks a lot, blogs!)

Amazing Gabe

Everyone got to express their feelings about Communism at the Berlin Wall display inside the restroom at Main Street Station.

Ultimately, the red team won.

Amazing Gabe Las Vegas

Congrats, Joe and Angie. You’re Internet famous. Not redeemable for cash.

As mentioned, the downtown “race” was just part of the fun. Sinna created a nearly 20-page, spiral-bound booklet for his friends.

The booklet included, among other things, his friend’s favorite drinks.

Amazing Gabe

This is what we meant when we said, “Everyone needs a friend like Gabe.”

There were also agendas for other days of their trip, shuttle schedules, maps of The Strip and downtown and a page for his friends to note which Vegas casinos they’d visited.

One of our favorite parts of his booklet was devoted to a photo hunt. Sinna created an extensive list of Las Vegas-themed photo ideas, including images of:

  • Bachelorette with a sash
  • Slot win of more than $50
  • Any celebrity (yes, a photo with this blog qualified)
  • A doppelganger
  • Guy with a mullet
  • Bike cop
  • Tasteful side boob
  • Pink flamingo
  • Vegas sunset
  • Neon sign
  • Party pit dancer
  • In line at White Castle
  • Any Elvis
  • Showgirl with feathers
  • Guy named Don (I.D. required)
  • David statue at Caesars Palace
  • Pay phone
  • Night club line
  • Kissing at the Bellagio fountains

Now, that’s a Las Vegas photo hunt right there.

Amazing Gabe

What happens in Vegas goes into the Cloud.

Sinna’s booklet also included another scavenger hunt list with items like “business card from a pit boss,” “slot ticket worth .01 (exactly),” “show ticket stub,” “deck of casino cards” and “trifecta of porn cards (brunette, blonde and redhead).”

While we love Las Vegas a lot, we bow before the love Gabe Sinna clearly has for this town. Seriously. His name even has “sin” in it.

Thanks to Gabe for letting us tag along on several legs of the “Amazing Gabe” race! We were truly impressed with his knowledge of Vegas, as well as his organizational ability, as it’s well-known we are personally bereft of the planning gene.

Amazing Gabe

We are not a heights person, but for some, winning prevails over woozy.

If you’ve done anything even remotely as creative as Gabe for a Las Vegas visit, we’d love to hear about it. We won’t hold our breath.

Amazing Gabe

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Bellagio Conservatory Embraces Italian Roots With First-Time Capri-Inspired Display

Bellagio, the Las Vegas resort inspired by a town in Italy, has tapped into its Italian roots again with a new Conservatory & Botanical Gardens display transporting guests to the island of Capri.

Bellagio Conservatory Italy

The new Italian display at Bellagio Conservatory is like a vacation from your vacation.

Bellagio’s Conservatory rarely disappoints, but it’s great to see an all-new display.

As always, Bellagio’s Conservatory is a free attraction and remains one of the best free things to do in all of Las Vegas.

Bellagio Conservatory 2017

Bellagio’s horticulture teams has pulled out all the stops for this first-time display. Bellissima, as the kids say.

Bellagio’s new Italian display, which runs through Sep. 9, 2017, covers a lot of ground, with water features, colorful villas and a metric ass-ton of flowers, of course.
IMG

Guests enter the vibrant new exhibit through a 26-foot archway. Inside, there’s an eight-foot fountain.

Bellagio Conservatory Italian display

This is a wonderful place to freshen up, as well as to meet some helpful Bellagio security guards.

Nearby is a 22-foot moss-covered fountain that pays tribute to the Fontana dell’Ovato located in Villa d’Este, a 16th century residence in Tivoli.

In case there was any doubt, we knew all that off the top of our head and definitely did not copy and paste it from a news release.

Bellagio Conservatory

Villa d’Este is a 16th-century villa near Rome and Fontana dell’Ovato means “oval fountains.” Look at you, inadvertently learning things from a Las Vegas blog.

The eight-foot plate, showing an Italian village, is made of lentils, something we never would have known was a thing except for our enduring love of a 1980’s British sitcom, “The Young Ones.” You bet it’s random.

Bellagio Capri display

In Greece or Turkey, this would be broken by now.

In the north section of the Conservatory, there’s water streaming from lion and monkey sculptures, as well as four lemon topiaries, whatever those might be.

Bellagio Capri display

Bellagio’s horticulture department employs nearly 160 people, all of them with a greener thumb than we’ll ever have.

The lemon topiaries are made of about 1,400 flowers.

Bellagio topiary

“Topiary” comes from the Latin word for an ornamental landscape gardener, “topiarius,” a creator of topia. No, really.

The centerpiece of this seasonal display is a miniature village with 50 villas, each with a terrace.

Bellagio Capri display

You can’t spell “Bellagio” without “bella.”

There’s a bell tower, unbrellas, boats and other flourishes like a 50-foot lemon tree and “Lover’s Rock.”

Bellagio umbrellas

Umbrellas were once called “bumbershoots.” Yeah, we’re spending way too much time on Wikipedia.

Overhead, there’s a sun and moon, each 16 feet tall.

Bellagio Italian sun moon

Every guy in every bar in Las Vegas with sports on. Dude, priorities.

The entire Italian display uses an incredible 57,000 flowers and 560 shrubs. Shrubs never get any of the glory at Bellagio’s Conservatory. While they play a supporting role, without shrubs, the Conservatory would be like “Goodfellas” without Joe Pesci or “Jaws” with Robert Shaw.

Shrubs should really look into getting a better P.R. agency.

Bellagio boxing gloves

You can find this piece in the back of the Conservatory. We’d say this was a clever promotion for the Mayweather-McGregor fight, but it was in the works long before the fight was announced.

Bellagio’s Conservatory & Botanical Gardens are a must-do in Las Vegas, and the first-time Italian display makes it a must-do all over again.

Bellagio Conservatory Taste of Italy 2017

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Security Breach: El Cortez Begins Creation of Imbibe Bar

Way back in Jan. 2016, we caught wind of a new bar coming to El Cortez, the classic hotel on Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas.

At last, the hotel’s current casino bar has been closed and Imbibe bar is in the works.

El Cortez Imbibe bar

Yes, even if it’s just a curtain, it qualifies as a security breach. You’re quite the stickler, aren’t you?

The hotel has made no official announcement about the bar, it’s closure, any expansion
or even the bar’s name. Just go with it, anyway.

Naturally, we had to peek behind the drapes to see what’s up inside.

El Cortez Imbibe bar

The future home of Captain Morgan spiced rum and possibly other kinds of liquor we care much less about.

Presumably, the new Imbibe bar will try to appeal to a younger crowd. From what we hear, there’s already a strong millennial presence on Fridays and Saturdays. El Cortez benefits from all the surrounding restaurants and bars (think Gold Spike and Commonwealth) in the Fremont East District.

We did a walk-through of Fremont East so you can get your bearings.

Staffers say not only is the bar being renovated, but it’s expanding beyond the current casino bar’s footprint, and could potentially swallow the area where the keno parlor resides. (The keno desk would then be relocated to the hotel’s sports book area.)

El Cortez Imbibe lounge

Cornhole and foosball in 3…2…

We’ll keep an eye on the new bar at El Cortez, of course, but in the meantime, you’ll want to take advantage of a new promotion at the historic casino.

Here’s a thingy because we’re too drunk to relay the details.

El Cortez promotion

We refuse to do math unless it directly benefits us. This is that.

So, that’s cool, right? You’re making a withdrawal from the ATM, anyway, so why not get some free slot play?

Once you make your ATM withdrawal, head to the casino cage. There, you’ll be given a certificate for free play. Take the certificate to the loyalty club desk, and the free play is put on your club card.

El Cortez promotion

Vast fortunes have been won in Las Vegas with $15. Actual results may vary.

Now, win something and stick it to The Man. Winning with free play is even sweeter than the regular kind of winning, promise.

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Our Favorite Bellagio Conservatory Display Takes Us Back “Under the Sea”

You know how Las Vegas attractions too-often describe themselves as being “immersive”?

Well, in the case of the Bellagio Conservatory’s summer display, “Under the Sea,” it’s
true. Because it’s under the sea. Please, try and keep up.

Bellagio seahorses

Seahorses have no teeth and no stomach, which is why you’ll never see one at a Las Vegas buffet.

“Under the Sea” is far-and-away our favorite Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Garden display of the year (sorry, pandering Chinese New Year display), so let’s dive headlong into this free, family-friendly Las Vegas attraction.

Bellagio Conservatory Under the Sea

A whale’s tail is called a “fluke,” a term which also describes the time you actually won something playing keno.

While many of the elements of “Under the Sea” will be familiar to frequent Las Vegas
visitors, the centerpiece of the display is new.

“Under the Sea” features a walk-through fish tank designed by the team behind a Las
Vegas-based reality show, Animal Planet’s “Tanked.”

Bellagio Conservatory

The aquarium structure holds about 1,500 gallons of water and approximately 15 children screaming, “Look, Mommy, it’s Dory!”

Guests walk down a tunnel flanked by two 20-foot aquariums. Tip: As you’re strolling
through the aquarium structure, don’t forget to look down. The floor is illuminated and
animated.

Bellagio Conservatory Under the Sea

Told you it’s immersive.

The fish in the aquarium are on loan from Mandalay Bay and include five flame angelfish, six sailfin tang (Dory is a regal blue tang, but close enough), six Spanish hogfish and three lunar wrasses. Any of which would make a damned fine band name, by the way.

Once again, the Bellagio Conservatory has created an impressive display, including tens of
thousands of plants.

The “Under the Sea” exhibit boasts 80,000 blooming plants. No, we did not count them. We
have a life. The blooming plants include New Guinea impatiens, calandiva, hydrangea,
sunflower, salvia, pineapply lily, asalea, chrysanthemum, miniature rose and calla lily.
The exhibit gets 6,000 tulips each week, and it has about 2,000 ivy plants.

Bellagio calandiva

We’re guessing these are calandiva, but we know flowers like we know fact-checking and copy editing.

Shout-out the exhibit’s 600 shrubs, too. We were not entirely aware begonias and hibiscus
were shrubs, but who are we to argue with horticulturalists? Or people who write news
releases about their work, for that matter.

“Under the Sea” also has seahorses, dolphins, a clam and pearl, a sea turtle, starfish, scuba divers, a seal and a whale. There’s also a mermaid looking a little like she’s on her third night in Las Vegas, if you get our drift.

Bellagio mermaid

The mermaid’s realm comes complete with a matching set of bidets.

Let’s not get bogged down trying to figure out why there are flowers growing “Under the Sea.” This is whimsy, not a Jacques Cousteau documentary. (That sound you hear is Millennials collectively shrugging.)

There are also massive jellyfish. These gelatinous creatures are some of the most distinctive in our planet’s oceans. Jellyfish use their “bells” for locomotion and their stings provide us with an excuse to urinate on our friends.

Bellagio jellyfish

This is the first known jellyfish upskirt, ever. It’s a little thing we like to call “innovation.”

Happily, the Bellagio Conservatory’s seasonal exhibits remain free. Which is definitely
going to jinx it, sorry. Think we’re kidding? Attractions like this aren’t cheap. Bellagio
has 120 people on its horticulture staff.

For a long time, Las Vegas casinos used free attractions to draw customers to gamble. But Las Vegas visitors are gambling less, and we’d wager just a tiny fraction of people who
visit Bellagio to see the Conservatory end up at the slot machines or tables.

“Show in the Sky” at Rio went away, “Sirens of TI” had its plugged pulled at Treasure Island and the volcano at Mirage cut back on its number of shows. Not to be a buzzkill, but enjoy the Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Garden while you can!

Bellagio Conservatory sea turtle

Sea turtles were around during the late Jurassic period. Turtles seem laid-back now, but they were a little freaked out about the late period thing.

Find out more about the Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Garden.

Interestingly, the photo of the “Under the Sea” display on Bellagio’s Web site isn’t
actually the display. It depicts a previous incarnation. Don’t be so OCD, bro.

Bellagio scuba diver

“Please turn your head and cough.” ~Sea moss

Enjoy a metric ass-ton of photos from Bellagio Conservatory’s “Under the Sea” display, a reminder to appreciate and preserve sealife, especially the adorable kind. Because let’s face it, nobody’s making a blob fish out of carnations anytime soon.

Bellagio Conservatory Summer 2016

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Three Surprising Things That Will Change the Way You Las Vegas Forever

There are lots of changes happening in Las Vegas, some of which will change your experience
in a big way.

Here, we’ll take a look at three changes that could fundamentally alter how you park, drink
and eat in Las Vegas.

1. Paid Parking at Las Vegas Casinos

Free parking has long been a perk of playing at Las Vegas casinos, but no more. Starting
June 6, 2016, the practice of giving guests free parking will change for good.

Las Vegas paid parking

There’s always something new happening in Las Vegas, and up to this point, we’ve said that as a good thing.

MGM Resorts is doing at its Las Vegas destinations what all Las Vegas hotel-casinos have
wanted to do for ages. From here on out, you’ll pay for the privilege of visiting their
resorts. Surprise!

Here’s how parking fees break out.

Short-Term Visitors
If you’re visiting an MGM Resorts hotel for a short period of time, have no fear. Your first hour in self-parking is free.

We should probably list off the hotels in the MGM Resorts family: Monte Carlo, Luxor, Excalibur, Bellagio, Aria, MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay, Delano, Mirage and New York-New York. We tend to blog while drunk, so that may not be a complete list. You always have Google.

Moving on.

Parking Las Vegas

Parking fees, in part, will go toward enhancements like lights that let guests know if spaces are available (green light) or not (red). It’s an imperfect science.

Registered Hotel Guests
If you’re a registered hotel guest, your parking fee gives you in-and-out privileges across all MGM Resorts in Las Vegas. Your parking fee can be “conveniently charged to your room bill,” a phrase which has given us fits of giggles ever since we first read it.

Loyalty Club Members
Certain members of the company’s player loyalty club program, M Life Rewards, will get parking gratis. Self-parking is free for Pearl, Gold, Platinum and Noir tier members. Valet is free for Gold, Platinum and Noir members. Players club members can just scan their player’s club card to get in and out, you don’t need a ticket.

Paid parking Las Vegas

Sin City’s newest “one-armed bandits.”

Nevada Residents
Locals gets a sweet deal, at least until the end of 2016. Nevada residents can self-park up to 24 hours free until Dec. 29, 2016.

So, then, how much does parking cost at MGM Resorts hotels? We’ll different prices apply to different hotels, actually. Here’s a look.

Fees for Parking at Monte Carlo, Luxor, Excalibur

  • Self-Parking
    0-60 minutes, free
    1-4 hours, $5
    4-24 hours, $8
  • Valet
    0-4 hours, $8
    4-24, $13

Fees for Parking at New York-New York, Bellagio, Aria, MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay, Delano, Mirage

  • Self-Parking
    0-60 free
    1-4 hours, $7
    4-24, $10
  • Valet
    0-4, $13
    4-24, $18

The fee for a lost ticket is $30, which could actually end up being a bargain depending upon how long you park.

You can get all this information on the official MGM Resorts parking information page, too.

Paid parking Las Vegas

MGM Resorts partnered with SP+ to manage the 40,000 parking spaces at its 12 Las Vegas resorts. “SP” stands for “Sucker Punch,” and that’s the story we’re sticking to.

Other Las Vegas casinos are taking a wait-and-see approach to paid parking, but we have
little doubt that by 2017 everyone else on The Strip will be onboard and paid parking will
be universal. We recently predicted paid parking will be rolled out at Caesars
Entertainment resorts (pretty much the other half of resorts on the Las Vegas Strip) by Jan. 1, 2017.

Remember, change is the only constant in Las Vegas, for better or worse. And speaking of
worse, that leads us to the drinking part.

2. Skinny Pours at Resort Bars

Not to pick on MGM Resorts, but at the moment they’re the company most focused on cost-
cutting measures, and this one’s a doozy.

It hasn’t been reported in any news outlet we’re aware of, but MGM Resorts has quietly
begun shrinking the pour in its cocktails.

Specifically, the amount of liquor in a “standard pour” (a shot) in mixed drinks at MGM Resorts casinos has always been 1.5 ounces. Now, a top-down mandate requires pours be 1.25 ounces, or 17% less.

Surprise!

Also of interest, and perhaps not so surprising, is the fact comped drinks have less liquor than cocktails you pay for. Comped mixed drink shots are one ounce, while paid-for drinks get the 1.25-ounce pour.

shot_glass_las_vegas

Some people say “more is less.” Some people are idiots.

While that doesn’t sound like a lot, when multiplied out by the thousands of drinks served
at casinos across Las Vegas, it adds up to a substantial amount of liquor and, by
extension, cost savings.

This change has gone virtually unnoticed, a fact partially explained by the fact the
company did extensive blind taste testing to see if diminishing the pour quantity would be
noticed by customers. It was decided most people couldn’t tell the difference, so the new
guideline was rolled out across all MGM Resorts casinos in the city.

Margarita

Expect to see lots of “pour systems,” used to control liquor costs, rolling out in Vegas casinos. Word has it MGM Resorts is testing bartender-free cocktail dispensers in Mississippi to avoid union troubles.

MGM Resorts isn’t the only company tightening its grip in the hooch, of course.

We’ve long chronicled the ways casinos are monitoring gambling in relation to free drinks, including the use of slot machine vouchers and other buzz-killing systems, as well as the insidious practice of substituting liquor brands for comped drinks.

Feel like you’re not getting that same buzz when you’re in Vegas? There’s a very good
reason. Paying for parking is certainly a pain, but cutting back on our inebriation level
gets us downright cranky.

Update (6/7/16): A rep from MGM Resorts sent a response to our story about the smaller pour size, stating:

“We did analysis last year across our resorts and across Las Vegas. We found that bars and restaurants at MGM resorts were not dispensing liquor in mixed drinks at uniform levels. We also did search across Las Vegas and found the standard liquor pour is 1.25 ounces at most Las Vegas resorts. As a result, we took steps in 2015 to standardize the beverage process to assure each customer receives an accurate and consistent measure of liquor in each mixed drink.”

MGM Resorts

You say “inaccurate and misleading” like it’s a bad thing!

“Our view is that universal spirits and pour size among our properties has improved the guest experience by offering a consistent product. Bartenders prepare drinks more efficiently and consistently by maximizing the use of free pour jiggers and bar guns. By also aligning these procedures we also make training and transfers between resorts efficient and more available for employees seeking to advance their careers.”

No, really.

MGM Resorts statement

Just bask in it for a minute.

MGM Resorts added: “We expected no negative comments from our customers and have received none.”

Here’s what we learned: 1) MGM Resorts actually made its pours smaller in 2015, not recently. 2) Less liquor in drinks improves the guest experience. 3) The decision to make pours smaller was made, in part, to help bartenders advance their careers. 4) “Universal Spirits” would make a great band name.

Thanks to Gina Lazara and Channel 13 here in Las Vegas for covering this story. (Note: This blog isn’t the one that first reported MGM Resorts would begin charging for parking.)

3. Surge Pricing at Restaurants

Here’s a relatively new practice that’s equally ingenious and frustrating.

In more and more cases, Las Vegas restaurants post menus online that don’t include prices. It’s not a huge deal until you understand the reason.

The newest tactic used by restaurants, especially those at large resorts on the Las Vegas
Strip, is to change their prices depending upon demand. Surge pricing, as it’s commonly
called in the ridesharing world. Surprise!

That’s right. A given restaurant on a Tuesday might charge $14.50 for chicken parm. That
exact same dish, during a busier period, such as on a Saturday, could be priced at $17.50.

Chicken Parmesan

Is nothing sacred?

Because of the transient nature of a tourist-based clientele, restaurants are relying on
the fact guests will only visit once during any given stay and not notice the inflated pricing. Some Las Vegas bars have used surge pricing for cocktails for some time, and now food is subject to the same WTF.

There are teams of analysts behind the scenes calculating how to adjust pricing to make
the most of fluctuations in demand, and juggling cost and pricing to extract the most profit
possible given a host of variables.

You might say that in some cases, the bean-counters are literally counting beans, then
deciding how much to charge for them given increases and decreases in demand. It’s good
business, but doesn’t give us a good feeling.

Las Vegas couple dining

It’s easy to be carefree when you’re a model.

So, knowing such changes are going on, it means we need to stay even more vigilant as
guests of Las Vegas casinos and restaurants. And parking garages.

The more we know about how things work, the better prepared we’ll be to protect our
bankrolls and patronize the establishments we feel are giving us a fair shake.

We’d love to hear your reaction to these new trends, as well as any tips and tricks for
getting the biggest bang for your bucks in Las Vegas!

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