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Coming Soon: No More Free Parking At MGM Resorts

By Chuckmonster on Thursday, 22nd October 2015 7:20am
  » filed under Las Vegas  comments: 44


Get out your pitchforks and fasten your seat belts folks, Las Vegas as you know it is about grind to a screeching halt.

Sources have told VegasTripping that MGM Resorts International is on the verge of announcing a new part of their Profit Growth Plan initiative - charging fees for parking in all MGM resorts self park garages in Las Vegas.

I'll wait while you pick your jaw up off the floor.

The new, mandatory fees will be charged to all automobiles that enter the garage - be it locals, casino players, diners, high rollers and hotel guests. Think of it as the resort fee your Toyota has long been asking for. It is unknown what the price points will be, but like resort fees, they will probably be similarly tiered based on the property level.

These new parking fees join other Profit Growth Plan initiatives MGM is slowly instituting, all of which are designed to increase company profits by "transparently" adding or increasing fees, streamlining services and standardizing offerings.

Many MGM hotels have already started instituting Profit Growth Plan initiatives, transitioning from custom sets of linens and bath products to cheaply made, poor quality offerings with property logos hot stamped on generic clear bottles.

For those of us within driving distance to Las Vegas, a weekends worth of parking fees would be akin to buying another tank of gasoline. For folks who fly and rent cars at the airport, the new fees could will potentially double the daily cost of a mid-sized rental car.

It is also within the realm of possibility that players at certain M Life levels and above will be able to use comp points to "bypass" parking fees, which amounts to throwing your points in the garbage and calling it a benefit. While you are at it, just go ahead and throw some of your hard earned MyVegas clicks into the fire to in the form of eventual "free parking" vouchers as well.

A new parking fee will also present an obstacle in the way of folks thinking about making a run downtown or the liquor store or In-N-Out, thereby keeping guests "tucked in" to the hotel they arrive at, eating MGM's farm to table puffery and drinking from a trough of pre-mixed hand crafted one of a kind cocktails.

While it will surely rain cash down on MGM shareholders and buy Murren a little more time in the CEO seat, it is an anti-visitor policy. Resort fees are a way to reclaim hotel room proceeds from 3rd party retailers as well as a tax dodge and a way to monetize the availability of seldom used hotel services. If I'm driving up to Aria and am faced with parking fees, I'll go park at Cosmopolitan, I'll probably end up eating there and gambling there too.

But what happens if/when the rest of the Las Vegas resorts follow MGM's lead? With resort fees settling in at the $30/night range and a probable $20 car fee, every car load of people is going to pay $50/day just for the pleasure of showing up.

But what if Caesars promises to KEEP PARKING FREE just like they did (for a time) with resort fees? Would this change the way you make your booking decisions, throwing a lifeline to MGM's bankrupt and beleaguered competitor? Would you opt for Caesars instead of Bellagio, Cromwell instead of Aria, Flamingo instead of Excalibur, Wynn instead of Mirage? And will anyone know at the time of reservation that a hotel is going to charge them $20/day at the self park entrance? Since it isn't part of the booking, you most likely won't.

Just when I was starting to appreciate MGM CEO Jim Murren's urban planning vision as well as the "less cardboard, more prick" way he's been acting in the press, he decides to pull the lever on the parking garage slot machine and potentially fuck Vegas up forever.

I would guess that the only way this will cease to happen is if the people roar back at the Lion. Tell em now and tell em loud.


Comments & Discussion:

This doesn't seem outlandish during NHL games at whatever their new stadium is. 24/7 is silly.

That is pure bullshit. I've rented cars and parked for free since 1980. I will not stay nor go to any property that charges me to self park.

Atlantic city does this now, and during peak times it can cost up to $50 just to park - and that's each time. Between this change, and the mlife changes on 12/5 that render table play usesless for comps (no express comps earned in LV), I have to wonder what's going thru the minds of the upper management. As much as I'd love to continue to stay at Bellagio or Aria, my lowly play won't register enough for a host, so I'll only have to visit and admire.

I talked to Derek about the lack of comps for table game players at VIMFP, and he was just as shocked - why cut off the source of revenue that helped build the city into what it is today? It's just short-sighted.

In AC the standard fee was $5 to self-park, and they give you a receipt when you pay that allows you to park for free at another casino, provided its within 24 hours of when you get the receipt. As toastcmu said, it can be a lot more, but maybe I'm just lucky and never have had to pay more than $5.

I've been so over the Strip for well over five years, as well as over renting a car. I used to enjoy going to the locals places, but not so much anymore. Hopefully downtown can resist the changes as long as possible......but not likely when you consider the infestation of resort fees, charging more for rooms with two beds, and I read recently that just about all of the Nugget's blackjack tables are 6/5 except at $25 (have to see what's up with this when I'm there in a few weeks).

@hail2skins I've also never really had an issue with it in AC. If you play for even a nominal amount of time you can go print a parking voucher that doesn't come out of your comp dollars. I think I've only ever given money to a parking attendant once. Hopefully MGM goes with a similar system.

What is next?.......pay toilets? Seriously, think about it.....anything and everything is a possible revenue generator in todays Vegas. Any hotels that have seperate throne rooms in the bathrooms, this could be a go. Just swipe your key card to unlock......shows up on your bill under "Misc-Head". God forbid you eat at White Castle!

Regardless......one way or the other, I will not be paying to park. Thanks for posting this......I was just about to book a January trip at Aria or Vdara. Now I will wait to see what comes of this.

I can almost see this if they did it like they do (hopefully still) at the Golden Nugget where non-guests get several hours of validated parking but have to pay after that timeframe, but guests have free self-parking. They really should include parking as part of the resort fee for guests. If not, that really sucks.

Wow, this actually makes sense... if this were anywhere other than Vegas. Free parking is sacrosanct on the strip. With the stratification of F&B prices, it's really one of the last "novelties" of casino subsidization for the average joe. It sounds petty but it really is one of the last "magical" things about Vegas. It will be interesting how they implement it, as they will likely need something that interfaces with mlife and hotel billings. An off the shelf ticket machine and dealing with validation and such would seem rather tacky for their upscale properties.

I wish I had known about this before I completed that survey from MGM on how my stay was. Betcha Platinum and above will be free parking and the plebes like us will pay. Insert card on entry? What crap.

I wonder how much of this has to do with the casinos getting slaughtered in Macau? With Wynn slowly killing their table games and slot paybacks, now MGM going after whatever they can to make some money...it seems like theyre trying to milk the one area for them thats doing well.

Money grubbing bastards! I'll stop spending any money in any MGM property . What's next a cover charge to loose money in the casino.

Seems kind of odd, given that self-park is a product that competes with valet; and valet costs the casino more in labor and is "complimentary" (the tip means it isn't free in practical terms, but it also doesn't show on the company books.) Self parking isn't really a competitive product, it basically competes with the valet worker who is being paid hourly wages that are below-market for a job that demands specific skills.

Seems like they should do what downtown does, which is issue exemptions to people who walk across the casino to validate a ticket. At least offer some kind of parking pass for hotel guests. Roll it into the resort fee to justify that further, if you please. Though I notice that Golden Nugget has implemented something very much like this: they've handed parking validation off to the slot club, who will only validate your ticket if you put a point on your card and then stand in the line at the desk. At that point, it's cheaper to just pay the parking fee.

If it affects you, vote with your wallet and go where they won't do it. I'm pretty damn certain that Station won't be doing this.

Caesars is going to jump on this bandwagon so fast. What's to prevent a driver from dropping all his passengers and luggage off at Bellagio's porte cochere and parking the car across the street at Bally's?

Resort fees, drink tickets at the bar and now this.
Like Chuck said--ROAR BACK. We need to stop this apathy that is allowing the casinos to bend over and screw us even more.
I have a reservation at the Mirage next month that I'll be canceling, and I will tell them why.

Yes, great idea, becuase this has done such wonderful things for Atlantic City.

Where can I sample farm-to-table puffery on the strip? It sounds delicious. I'll very likely be in LV for CaterSource this spring and F-t-T is BIG in the catering business these days...I'd love to try it!!!

Just like baggage fees, resort fees, etc it's here. My guess is just like the other fees people will bitch and moan and pay it because we like going to Vegas. The outrage rings a bit hollow when everyone still goes to Vegas and still goes to the offending properties. Just like resort fees I will do the math and determine if the property is worth the money. Because Bellagio has a parking fee doesn't mean I am going to stay at Flamingo.

as an MGM shareholder, applause!

as a vegas visitor, now I will finally be a regular Monorail traveler!

I'd squawk way less about this move if the cost cutting wasn't so prevalent elsewhere. Resort fees. Early-check-in fees. Insane food&beverage prices. Tighter gambling rules. Tighter slot/reward club. Deferred maintenance. A reserved place to sit at clubs/pools. That said, I see this from many sides.

From the casino side: Parking spots cost money (land, electricity, cleaning, etc.)
From the urban planning side: Name any other city whose hotels don't charge for parking.
From the cheapo side: Is anything sacred? Or will Vegas start charging for drinks soon?
From the rational side: Paying to park means some folks will have that much less to spend IN the resort.
From the seasoned traveler side: Limos, taxis, Uber, and shared shuttles are about to get MUCH busier.

Of course, when fewer people are filling the parking spaces, the casinos will demolish some or all of the space, leading to fewer spots. And then they can charge even more for the remaining parking, because economics.

Hm. Gotta agree, reluctantly, with donnymac66.
While I like to rent a car on solo trips, our group refuses and prefers to take cabs (or the complimentary SkySuites airport transfer when we stay there or at Vdara's upper rooms) and walk everywhere else. I wonder if the Uber situation has had any influence here, given the power of the cab/shuttle/limo cartel.

As an aside, the resort fee has ticked up at MGM Resort's upper tier properties. That and the free ride makes the premium for those Suites "seem" less onerous in a twisted way, when compared against multiple single rooms, long-hauling cabs, and now parking fees.

But still... Bleh. Pay toilets, indeed. Hope they start putting plastic liners in the wastebaskets....

"The outrage rings a bit hollow when everyone still goes to Vegas and still goes to the offending properties."

What these places don't seem to recognize is that most people come to town a pre-set budget. What they spend on fees, they're not going to spend in the club/spa/casino/restaurant. But polling and quarterly calls both confirm that people are still coming here and spending less when they're getting here, so...?

On the other hand, they know it'll be spent in THEIR garage and not in somebody else's; which is always the risk with the club/spa/casino/restaurant. That advantage becomes moot when everybody else's garage is doing the same thing.

The real problem with this sort of program is that the people who self park is only a segment of their visitors, and many of them overlap with their hotel guests. I think it's possible somebody proposed an end to complimentary valet service, but figured a second Wynn Tip Pooling scandal would break out among valets if they tried taking a cut of that money.

Like all things in Vegas the market will prevail right or wrong. MGM is betting on the younger demographic who doesn't know any better coming by car or the convention goer who will expense this. If this becomes the norm in Vegas due to industry trend, I will vote with my feet. MGM gets little of my gaming dollar now, they will just get none. If it spreads further, Vegas will become a distant memory on my vacation destination. There's too many good local joints within 2 hours to be nickled and dimed by these resort operators.

I really don't care since I stopped renting cars on my Vegas trips about 5 years ago because it was getting too expensive with all the extra fees the rental companies were charging and now spend the money on cabs, and its a lot less stressfull not having to drive in Vegas traffic. I suspect people will bitch and moan about the parking fees but in the end tourists with rentals and tourists driving in from Cali will pay it because it's Vegas Baby!

So happy I don't drive!

Let's get one thing out of the way: MGM and Caesar's couldn't care less about keeping Las Vegas "special."

They're doing everything in their power to homogenize their product from coast to coast, as if they were Burger King and McDonalds. They don't care if you're gambling in Vegas or East Jabipp, as long as you're in one of their casinos. It's all about squeezing everything from every guest, every minute, everywhere.

Parking? Maybe $5 a day wouldn't make me squawk but something tells me we're looking at a lot more than that. A pox on both houses (because yeah, Caesar's will be on this too, like flies on sugar).

This is all about the Arena.... smart move. But they still need to land the team.

This is just a logical extension of the new reality of the Strip though, isn't it? MGM (who is inevitably parroted by Caesers) has been speaking loudly for ten-plus years that they are not concerned with the traveler who is educated and budget conscious on any real level. Whether it be through fees, dwindling comp programs, or terrible gambling. They are daring that crowd (of which I count myself a member) to go stay Downtown or elsewhere. Personally, I am obliging. I can't enjoy my vacation while feeling like a total sucker. My last trip was mostly off-strip, as will be my next trip in January (Red Rock).

I agree with Chuck that this is "anti-visitor" for people who know better. But I don't think folks who pay less attention are either seeing, or caring, that they are being attacked by a thousand cuts. I would venture a guess that if you were to poll random people walking down your street, most would believe that parking in Vegas is likely not free today. This decision by MGM won't move the needle for them. The occupancy rates on the Strip are fine, and plenty of people are still hunkering down for 6-5 blackjack, 7-5 video poker, and $100 of mediocre vodka. These are the current marks of the corporate Strip operators, and they are plentiful in number.

If it comes to this I will just stick to Laughlin and the Indian Casinos in California. And I sure other Californians will do the same. What's the saying? Don't bite the hand that feeds you.

I know people hate to hear logic when it seems like it might be supporting something they're against but think about this from a business perspective. @MiniVegas says that what people spend on fees they don't spend on club/spa/casino/restaurant . . . see the error in that logic?

If you own a business and you can make, let's say for the sake of argument, $25 a night extra per customer in resort fees which cost you almost nothing, why would you care if people had $25 less to spend in nightclubs, spas, the casino, or in restaurants? All of those things have a much lower profit margin than a resort fee. If you buy $25 worth of food, the business has to give you something for that $25. If they charge you a $25 resort fee or parking fee, they're giving away relatively low cost or no-cost services (i.e. wifi, access to the pool, access to the gym) which means more of the $25 ends up in their pockets. They might have to get an extra $100 per customer selling you stuff to earn the same $25 in profit they can make off a fee.

I'm not saying that to justify what they're doing, nor am I necessarily blaming them for doing it. It's just business. If you understand the mindset, you at least understand how they're thinking about it.

If you don't think they had an army full of MBAs figuring out how much business they would lose vs how much they stood to gain, you're fooling yourself. Same thing happened with the resort fees. Same thing is happening in the airline industry. Who would have thought you would have to pay to check a bag? Now, it's the norm and airlines make hundreds of millions of dollars in these fees now.

Because, really, there are a certain percentage of people who will look at these fees and say, $100 a night plus $25 a night in resort fees, and another $25 a night for parking is $150 a night. And there's way, way more people who see $100 a night on Expedia and jump in their cars and drive to Vegas and groan at the fees but still, psychologically, think they're paying only $100 a night.

This would make me much less inclined to go to Vegas. It is the principle dammit. A few bucks a day when I am paying hundreds if not a thousand a night for a suite is whatever. However, considering the high cost of food, the fact they want me to gamble, and the fact that I pay a Resort Fee, makes this a really crappy move. Even if my Gold or probably Platinum tier next go around waives this charge it still really irritates me.

I'm sorry, but I don't bite on that. It's not cost free to run an empty casino, they may not pay as many servers or dealers but there's still associated cost. The same is even more true of parking; since the bicycle guard on the lookout for car thieves costs the same regardless of whether there's 100 or 1,000 cars in the garage.

You have to spend a little money to make some money; and nothing emphasizes that better than games of chance that have an incredibly small chance to award huge sums of money but regularly gross far more than that for the proprietor. Parking isn't actually providing anything worth paying for so long as everybody using the parking is generating revenue inside. If they had a bunch of lookie-loos that walk around and leave, then I guess it would make sense.

The other thing is that the same company is providing valet service, which isn't going away for all the reasons I outlined above, and isn't going to provide the company with any money on the books for the reasons that I outlined above (namely, valet drivers want all revenue from valet to go them directly, and trying to screw with that opens the doors to labor disputes.) Consider how often you hear people complain about having to compete with the price of "free", whether you're talking about newspapers with paywalls complaining about free/public news sites, or app developers trying to make a financially stable competitor in a category of apps that give themselves away for nothing. Making a mousetrap worth paying for when another mousetrap is donationware is difficult.

Valet service is donationware. You're paying the driver a few bucks so they treat your car nice and so the valet guy can eat, and if your car is a rental you probably care less about the first one. The article posted straight up has no idea how much a parking fee would be, but Chuck already theorizes the worst scenario of coughing up multiple Lincolns for any length of stay, whether it be all day long or just an hour's drop-in. At that price, though, a lot of people would rather just tip the valet guy.

All you're doing with this scheme is creating a huge line of cars for valet by creating artificial scarcity for something that isn't in short supply. If self parking is too high, most people will simply tip the valet guy the as they'd pay for self parking and spare themselves the walk, and not show the company any profit there. The few people who won't trust valets under any circumstances (my family, for instance) will just find some other way to see this shit or go somewhere else. And all the while, the garage that's one car emptier still has to be lit and monitored.

Definitely a pay toilets move. I have to wonder if free valet would be the next to go, otherwise valet will fill faster than the garage!

I don't drive so this doesn't affect me but I can see how it affects others. Charging for parking is BS because people who park at your casino are obviously going to spend some money in your casino. If they have to pay then there is less for them to spend or they will go somewhere else. If i am staying there parking should be free or folded into my resort fee. I spent 140 at the linq for 5 days. Internet fees, my free bottles of water and whatnot. If I drove there and my parking was included then I wouldn't have an issue. If it wasn't then I would be geting screwed. Continually nickle and diming people drives customers away. No pun intended.

"...creating artificial scarcity for something that isn't in short supply." - MinVegas hit the nail on the head. He just summed up what's wrong with American business today. The shithead MBA's fuck up the experience, drive away the customers and then raise prices to paper over their fuck-ups.

Here's the thing, this has already been going on in Vegas for a number of years now, just on a smaller scale. Mandarin Oriental has been charging a parking fee to their guests for some time now. Vdara does not offer self-parking, so you have to pay to park via the valet. Four Queens for a number of years charged hotel guests that drove a parking fee. The Plaza includes parking in their daily resort fee and charges non-hotel guests to park. Binion's tightened their free parking as well, by requiring that you gamble or dine there in order to get validated. Main Street Station also did away with their free parking for non-guests (But if you spend at least $5 in one of the restaurants at MSS or the Cal or gamble at least $5/hand for 30 minutes, you get free parking.)

I remember stays at the Imperial Palace, Golden Nugget and Four Queens in which they gave hotel guests parking passes. This is what MGM ought to do instead of charging everyone. They give you a parking pass at check in, you show the pass to the attendant at the booth and they pass you through.

As for Caesars jumping on this, I could see them starting to charge to park in the lots behind Flamingo/Linq/Harrah's. That's a decent amount of land not generating revenue for them.

I agree with vespa. Your room key should be your parking pass since you are paying the resort fee anyway. As for the land behind Flamingo.linq/Harrah's there isn't much they can do to turn that into revenue friendly property. They did have the food truck fest back there last year and it made money. Perhaps some more dining options would work there.

But just think of all the great amenities you get for this parking resort fee!

You get:

There's enough suck at Mgm that parking fees are the dressing on a s#!+ salad that they have served up. If ever I have occasion to do business or pleasure on the strip you can rest assured that Mgm Resorts Intetnational has lost my business.

Really shitty on MGM...I always rent a car during my Vegas trip since I have business/activities off strip plus I like to visit other strip casinos...

Yes I would believe Caesars jumping on this also, mostly as an excuse to prevent MGM guests from parking free in Caesar's structures.

I do not anticipate parking including in the resort fee since MGM charging parking as a revenue generator...MGM knows that people staying at the property are the ones who will pay to park since they are at this property...

I'm still pissed off about resort fees, and now this? Madeline Kahn pretty much sums up how the very idea of this makes me feel.


i suspect that they'll roll it out for arena events at monte carlo, nyny, mgm and mandalay. when they realize that everybody parked at Aria and Excalibur, they'll get it too. once the gates and pay stations go in, it is only a matter of time before they turn it on 24/7.

The more I think about this the less offended I get AS LONG AS they give reasonable options to validate and avoid the charges. Eat at the restaurant, stay at the property, etc. Of course everything on the Strip is geared toward conventioneers on an expense account. To hell with the rest of us.

Jimbo chimes in the the topic... http://vegasinc.com/business/gaming/2015/oct/30/mgm-resorts-murren-prospect-charging-parking-every/

@fivehundy Glad that Jimbo chimed in and validated VT's reporting. This is one of those cases where I really wish VT didn't have this story right. The rest of the story misses the entire point... this isn't about arena, it is about everywhere. Writer obviously didn't read this piece. I wonder if MGM PR in their "we will not confirm or deny" whispered the arena angle as a possible out. Once the gates go up at the arena locales, they will soon go up everywhere.

The Las Vegas Weekly did a lovely play by play of this article and quoted the peanut gallery comments too: http://lasvegasweekly.com/as-we-see-it/2015/oct/28/fear-of-losing-free-parking-strip/

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