Drink monitoring systems may not affect you if you’re visiting a video poker bar in a casino specifically to play video poker. It’s a different story if you’re passively playing video poker expecting complimentary drinks. The systems aren’t ubiquitous…yet.
Caesars Entertainment is the only company using the system at all casino bars in at their Las Vegas properties. The Cosmopolitan should have all video poker bars on board soon. MGM Resorts International only has the system at certain bars for now. This is about to change as more Las Vegas casinos get on board with drink monitoring.
According to the Washington Post The Venetian, The Palazzo, and Westgate have installed the Ardent Progressive System. The drink monitoring systems will be installed in some independently operated casinos soon. The Golden Nugget will be the first casino in downtown Las Vegas casino to use a drink monitoring system. Treasure Island and the Hard Rock will also be installing the systems soon.
Last year I compared the MGM, Caesars and Cosmopolitan drink monitoring systems that were operating. The pace of play and money required to play through in order to receive a complimentary drink weren’t an issue when I was alone. When I played while talking with friends the pace slowed as did the complimentary drinks.
Business today is about consolidating expenses and maximizing revenue. According to Ardent, one of their clients saved a lot of money on complimentary drinks year over year. “Our comp costs were reduced by 40% YOY using this product, it will save us over $1,000,000 annually at this location alone.” That’s a legitimate saving.
Putting $20 in a video poker machine at a bar has often been with the intent of getting complimentary drinks while possibly winning a few bucks in spite of poor video poker pay tables. Now we have to consider the value of a drink as a prize. There’s a monetary value to your time and money when playing video poker at the bars. This is why I found the Cosmopolitan system the best value of all the systems. If nothing else, you’re playing for top shelf drinks, unlike the other casinos.
The New Ping Pang Pong Is Open
Ping Pang Pong has had a special place in my heart for many years. The popular Chinese restaurant at the Gold Coast has re-opened in a new and larger space. Hopefully, the staff will be increased because the line to get a seat can be extremely long at times.
The Gold Coast and Ping Pang Pong is always the first stop on my winter vacation. The crew is stoked to see that there’s a roomier Ping Pang Pong. Eater has been on top of this renovation since before it was announced. You can read about it here.
MGM Grand Gets (Luxury) Chinese Restaurant
It’s strange to think that a restaurant space at the incredibly busy MGM Grand could be vacant for a long time. When Pearl closed on their version of restaurant row that was the case. Well, that restaurant space will be occupied by another Chinese restaurant called China Tang.
The operator, Lai Sun Dining, has fine dining restaurants all over the world with many Michelin Star Awards. Expect to see prices in line with the other fine dining restaurants at MGM Grand. China Tang Restaurant, first opened in London in 2007 at the Dorchester Hotel, is now open in Hong Kong at Landmark Atrium.
Wynn Paradise Park Expansion Shrinks
Steve Wynn’s initial plans for Wynn Paradise Park were YUGE with a side of strange. Do you remember the talk of ziplines and an eight-story tall gorilla? The initial projections were that the expansion would cost around $1.5 billion to $2 billion. Not so fast, my friend.
Now that the Wynn Resorts board has decided to move forward with expansion, they’ve cut out the strange and pulled back the reigns on the overall project for the time being. The lagoon will still be the centerpiece of Wynn Paradise Park. However, the overall plans have been downsized.
Convention space isn’t expensive to build and will be added as originally planned. The real news is that a new hotel tower is not included in the first phase. They are planning to add that later. Once completed, the new attractions should be a new attraction that helps Las Vegas break visitation records.
Wynn Las Vegas room rates are already among the highest in Las Vegas (top three each month is always some combination of Wynn, The Venetian, Cosmopolitan) and would seemingly rise as they add the new attractions without adding room capacity.
While there are a lot of rooms in Las Vegas today, the lack of new rooms from Alon, Resorts World, Fontainebleau may become an issue in the next couple of years. You can read more about the Wynn Resorts and Paradise Park here.
Another Look At MGM Resorts International Parking Revenue
In April we shared the rough math Motley Fool did to estimate how much revenue parking potentially generated for MGM Resorts International. Since MGM Resorts International doesn’t share this as a line item when reporting earnings we’ll only find estimates.
Las Vegas’ CBS affiliate 8 News Now recently did some more digging and found two things. First, the rough estimate by Motley Fool might not be too far off. Second, paid parking hasn’t slowed business for MGM Resorts.
Parking is included in “other” revenue which increased 7% last year. That revenue was up 19% in the first quarter compared to last year at the same time. That’s not all due to parking but it’s a part of the line item. Moreover, this:
“We’ve seen no variation in business activity that can be attributed to our change in parking policy. Our gaming, restaurant, entertainment, and other business levels see natural fluctuations, which are impacted by seasonal and other various factors. But we have seen nothing outside of normal patterns,” said Gordon Absher, vice president of corporate communications, MGM Resorts International.
This New Yorker is non-plussed by paying for parking. Before moving to Las Vegas I paid for parking almost every time I drove somewhere. Despite an uproar and rumors to the contrary, it seems as though isn’t a very big deal to the majority of visitors. Visitors are taking this new expense in stride, at least this fee isn’t hidden like resort fees.
According to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, 27% of the visitors in Las Vegas in 2016 were making their first trip. In a few years, paid parking may simply be part of Las Vegas resort fees and 6:5 blackjack. Someone who visited Las Vegas for the first time five years ago may have never known about a Las Vegas without resort fees and fair blackjack games. Get off my lawn!
- The Crapshoot Comedy Festival is this week! See more details here.
- There’s a new gambling resource for wannabe advantage gamblers. Visit apstreet.com.
- Quadrupling the amount of money won before being taxed? I’m in. Read more here.
- Las Vegas on TV. Read more here.
- Downtown Las Vegas on TV. Read more here.
- Las Vegas in the theaters. Read more here.
- Piff The Magic Dragon (and Mr. Piffles) show extended at the Flamingo. Read more here.
- Rio Secco (Las Vegas Golf) is closing for renovations this summer. That’s Caesars’ golf course partner. Read more here.
- The Flamingo Go Pool has some cheap Flashback Friday performances this summer. Read more here.
- Another one of my favorite comedians, Bill Burr, is coming to Las Vegas at the Park Theater. Read more here.
Want direct access to casino news, casino reviews, narratives, loyalty programs and video poker? Visit our casino/Vegas section directly at CasinoZork.
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