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Vegas Casinos Add Controversial Drinks Charges

David Burgundy | 08 Oct 2019

LasVegas ImageWith a service fee being added to guests’ drinks at resort properties on the Strip, Las Vegas casinos are facing accusations of sanctioning daylight robbery by disgruntled tourists.

The hip and trendy Park MGM casino hotel left a bad taste in a visitor's mouth recently after he queried why 2 drinks from the Mama Rabbit Mezcal + Tequila Bar came with a service charge attached to the bill. It pushed his cheque up to US$43.04 from US$38. That’s a sales tax of US$3.14 and an extra US$1.9. This was not the only Park MGM complainant, and the casino operator was forced to explain.

The brand described the additional charge as a venue fee, applied for table and bar service and worked into each cheque from the venue. Apparently, this is necessary to keep things running the way they should, covering the costs of printing airline boarding passes, bar top game and lounge maintenance, and unlimited local and toll-free telephone calls. They said this money would also contribute to levies incurred by the fitness centre they provide for guests over the age of 18 and their supplying Wi-Fi.

The Fee Capital of the World?

Casinos in Las Vegas started doing away with free parking some years ago, a benefit that visitors of all tier levels enjoyed for a long time. Resort tolls are steadily climbing, too, and Park MGM is not the only operator to be instituting additional tariffs.

Sahara Las Vegas has also jumped on the service-fee bandwagon, with a Foundry receipt shared to Twitter revealing a US$14 cocktail shooting up to a total cost of US$16.80 after a 15% tip and 5% service charge got added.

Park MGM’s daily resort fees currently clock in at US$37 a day, but luxury properties like the Aria, Bellagio, and Venetian see this rate skyrocketing up to US$45.

Visitors are Fighting Back

The Attorney General for the Columbia and Nebraska District has filed two lawsuits over these charges. The plaintiffs are accusing resorts of Drip Pricing, where online retailers advertise services for a certain price and then incrementally increase this by adding compulsory additional charges.

People took to Twitter to vent their fury, saying that prices in Las Vegas are becoming absurd. Potential tourists seem to feel that this is pure greed on the part of the various operators in Sin City and are calling for a halt to the whole thing.

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