I Don’t Like Thinking About Money On Vacation In Las Vegas
My feelings on the casino drink monitoring systems at the Cosmopolitan, Caesars Entertainment, and MGM Resorts International casino bars are mixed. I generally don’t mind the systems, especially at the Cosmopolitan, but I’m not entirely happy they have to exist.
While the systems seem to streamline the process for bartenders and keep grifters away from the bars they’ve also forced customers to think about how they spend money more often in Las Vegas. Nobody visits a Las Vegas casino bar and wants to think about how they spend money.
Many of us vacation in Las Vegas to get away from the real world for a few days. There may have been an unintended consequence to drink systems, fees, and cutbacks. Then again, maybe the added fees are making customers spend the way casino operators prefer.
The drink monitoring systems aren’t a burden when playing alone. They may not even be noticed when playing video poker while chatting with a friend. However, more people can slow down how quickly we play the game. Remember, the drink systems account for time played and pace played.
My recent vacation on the Vegas Strip had me playing much slower than normal while catching up with a friend for the first time in a year. The catch up got deep and pulled my attention away from the gambling (GASP!).
My friend and I were drinking beer at TAG SPORTS BAR at The Linq when I actually had to think about whether or not I wanted to pay for a beer or throw more money into a machine and see if my play would qualify for the beer. The video poker pay tables at casino bars on the Vegas Strip are typically bad. Money can go fast even when playing games with the lowest volatility.
I had one too many bad sessions before realizing that each beer essentially cost $40 or more. My friend and I were playing so sporadically since we were in semi-deep catch-up mode. My beer was eventually empty and the drink light was dead red. I did the math and decided to buy a beer for $8 and finish off the few hands I was destined to lose anyway.
That’s Not How I Want To Do Vegas
I continued to buy beer while we were at the bar. It seemed like a smarter way to spend money. That’s not how I want to do Vegas. I’ve always budgeted for a vacation well enough so that money has never a concern when I vacation on the Vegas Strip. I’d much rather frivolously spend money than have to think about every dollar. I don’t mind spending money when I feel as though I’m getting a value in return (see Giada review).
Sitting at the bar I did some thinking on whether or not I was being smart or spending money how the casino preferred. Over time 6/5 Bonus Poker has a house edge somewhere between 3% and 4%. Over time the casino will generate about $4 for every $100 spent.
Meanwhile, if Tag Bar sells a craft or imported beer for $8-10 they’ll make about $4 – $8 of gross profit for each bottle sold. More expensive beers might even generate even greater gross profit. Beer sales should have less volatility than video poker and that got me to thinking a little more about money.
I usually don’t want to do what a corporation wants but sometimes it makes sense. This situation got me wondering if Caesars Entertainment wanted me to play their bad video poker or just to buy a beer. I think the latter might be the case after doing quick math.
Streamlining the process for staff and cutting over-comping drinks might have been the motivation behind these drink systems. More than ever it seems like this might be a good time to consider just buying drinks instead of playing the bad video poker machines at Caesars casinos. There’s still some value at the Cosmopolitan where drinks that cost up to $15 are complimentary.
I tend to gloss over complaints about how “New Vegas” takes the fun out of visiting Las Vegas. I can usually find the good in most situations. Heck, I was able to find a “good” place to play 6:5 blackjack! I’m just going to re-evaluate where to find the best return for my money. For what it’s worth, $8 for an imported high ABV beer at Tag Bar is a great value for the Vegas Strip.