Las Vegas used to draw huge crowds with its buffet deals, comp rooms, and free cocktails. During its heyday, Vegas was considered a great deal for the whole family. But those days are gone, and the billionaires running those mega-resorts have all but done away with the perks of a weekend in Fabulous Las Vegas. With the constant addition of new resort fees and parking fees at many resorts, many visitors are staying away.
Casino Cash Cows
Apparently it’s not enough to empty the pockets of most of their visitors at the tables and slots. Casinos want to milk their visitors for every penny it seems. Luxury resorts like Palazzo, Encore, and Wynn are charging as much as $45 per day in resort fees and parking fees. And the greed is driving California cash cows out to pasture. According to Nevada statistics, traffic at the California-Nevada border is down 1.1% in the past 10 months – that’s 500 fewer cars per day.
Since the dawn of the highway and the American dream of hitting the road, visitors from Southern California barreled through the desert to drive to Las Vegas for adventure. But high fuel costs and new resort fees have resulted in fewer drivers shouting Vegas, Baby!
At one point there was a near shortage of rooms in Las Vegas, which seems to have given the larger resorts an excuse to charge whatever fees they wanted. And even though the nationwide economy is fairly strong, the added fees are turning California visitors away.
In the next five years, 12,000 new rooms will be added to the Las Vegas stable, meaning no more room shortages. The Drew and Resorts World Las Vegas will offer 3,719 and 3,500 new rooms. If the big resorts insist on charging excessive and random resort fees, they’re bound to feel the impact in their revenue reports.
Casinos Penalized by Travel Sites
Travel websites are already beginning to respond to this new trend in resort fees by placing resort-fee-charging casinos at the bottom of their listings. Since travel websites exist to help travelers get good bargains, they see little incentive to highlight greedy resorts.
Travel websites don’t want hidden fees or unexpected surprises for their customers. It’s bad for business. So the popular Expedia sites are now knocking casinos that charge resort fees to the bottom of the list. Travel hubs like Expedia thrive on transparency and many of them show prominent warnings about checking for hidden fees – especially at airlines, which are famous for tacking on luggage fees, seat reservation fees, etc.
Many people who had booked through popular travel sites were often unaware of the hidden resort fees, and had to swallow a bitter pill after they checked out of their Vegas resort. And this means blowback in the form of negative reviews of the casino and the travel booking site. Some travel sites are even charging casinos commissions based on their resort fees, so if they want to overcharge their customers, they’ll feel the sting as well.
Tribal Casinos and Online Gambling
What casino managers fail to realize is that California is the richest state bordering Nevada, and Las Vegas will lose millions of dollars in revenue if they turn away visitors from the Golden State.
And California’s gamblers have plenty of casinos to choose from on tribal reservations as well as online gambling. Seminole-owned Hard Rock has opened tribal casinos in California in partnership with tribes in the Sacramento and Bakersfield areas. So Nevada’s loss is California’s gain.
When booking your Las Vegas getaway, be sure to check the fine print for hidden resort fees. If enough people vote with their feet and walk away from greedy mega-resorts, maybe the casino moguls will finally get the message.
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