Many venues on the Strip are starting to implement service fees on drink orders. This fee is placed on table or bar services and is used to cover additional costs including maintenance. Founder of tourism website Access Vegas Ted Newkirk says,
“It’s like a sales tax but doesn’t go to the state, doesn’t go to the server.” Newkirk says the fees have been around for years but are beginning to gain the attention of residents and visitors.”
He believes that since the fee doesn’t seem to appear to be a property mandated charge, there must be third party operators who are requiring this fee. It is unfortunate to witness Las Vegas casinos becoming more expensive to visit, as service fees on drinks are now being incurred by guests at Strip resort properties.
A recent guest at Park MGM recently questioned why his two drinks at the Mama Rabbit Mezcal and Tequila Bar came with a service charge. The bill – totalling $38.00 – increased to $43.04 after $3.14 sales tax and an ambiguous $1.90 service charge. While another guest commented
“this charge you’re seeing is a venue fee,” the casino operator explained. “It is not only applied for table service, but bar service as well, and is being applied to every check-in the venue.” He added This fee is applied to all things that keep the venue operationally running, like the gaming maintenance for all bartop games, Wi-Fi, lounge maintenance.”
Resort fees, defended by casinos and hated by tourists
Las Vegas resort fees are often defended by casinos as affording guests amenities such as in-room and resort-wide Wi-Fi, local and toll-free calling, gym, boarding pass printing, and other services. The fees continue to increase as Las Vegas visitors lash back on social media at raising rates. Jaimie Black, who is planning to drive up from Los Angeles soon and has done extensive research looking for a place to stay around the valley, said “unlike at Sands’ Venetian and Palazzo, and the two Wynn Properties, Caesars charges for both self and valet parking. Such luxuries are included at the Sands and Wynn resorts. MGM also charges for parking,” he added “Resort fees – sometimes disguised as a “destination fee,” “venue fee,” “concession fee,” “amenities fee,” and “facilities fee” – “all come down to greed.”
Lawsuits on the use of resorts fees
Hotel brands have faced various lawsuits in the past months over the use of resorts fees. The District of Columbia attorney general filed one against Marriott on July 9th while still in the same month, the Nebraska attorney general filed another against Hilton Hotels. Under the lawsuits, complaints allege that the companies are increasing a portion of daily rates through unavoidable charges.
Las Vegas properties have included local and toll-free calling, fitness centre access, daily newspapers, boarding pass printing, Wi-Fi, and notary service in their resorts fees.