Is May Be Last Call For Gamblers & Drinkers At Sin City Casinos
They have taken away our free parking and charge us daily “resort” fees to stay in their hotels and now some casinos are making moves to put an end the most cherished of all traditional Vegas perks: free drinks.
For decades, it was a Vegas given that if you gambled, you got free drinks. When you’re at a table game or slot machine, a cocktail waitress dressed in provocative attire comes around, takes your order and later brings you a beer or cocktail. In return you give her a tip but no money for the actual drink.
I have a feeling, with Vegas casinos acting like airlines by charging for every little amenity, that it’s only a matter of time before this time-honored tradition goes the way of hand-pulled slot machines.
In fact, it’s already happening in a sneaky kind of way.
Caesars Palace and MGM Grand are now keeping track of your gambling-to-drinks ratio electronically when playing video poker at casino bars. At Caesars, a green light comes on the machine to tell the bartender you’ve played enough to “earn” a drink while at MGM, the machine distributes a free drink coupon.
At Caesars, to earn a “free” drink, you have to pump money into the machine at the rate of $4 a minute. If you don’t keep pumping money into the machine, it flashes a red light. The casino refers to this system in excellent corporate speak, calling it a “comp validation system.”
But Caesars isn’t alone in utilizing this technology – gamblers/drinkers can also be saying “et tu Brute” at the Palazzo, Hard Rock Lake Tahoe and Westgate. They, too, have implemented this system. Scheduled to follow is Treasure Island, the Hard Rock and even the Golden Nugget, an off=the-Strip casino that built much of its loyalty on being known as one of the cheapest places to game. And drink.
Over at MGM, a representative told the LA Times that “the new technology has eliminated the guessing game for bartenders about how many drinks each guest is eligible to receive based on play.”
More corporate speak.
And with talk like that, you just know the casino executives are already formulating their language for taking away those comped drinks on the casino floor.