There’s so much talk about fees being out of control in Las Vegas but only one financial issue. There are plenty of price increases happening in Las Vegas beyond the fees. Yes, it’s obnoxious to see a room advertised for $50 per night and end up paying closer to $100 after taxes and fees. However, there might a bigger financial hit that isn’t talked about too much – especially on the Vegas Strip.
Vegas is Expensive
Restaurant and bar prices continue to increase. The markup at many dining and drinking locations on the Vegas Strip has gradually increased over the past five years or so. The price bumps have gone from approximately 10% to almost 25% from off-strip locations in recent years. Forget comparing to wherever home may be.
The slow price increases may not phase too many people but dining out in Las Vegas is now more expensive than New York and Los Angeles. Todd Prince from the Las Vegas Review-Journal shared an interesting comparison chart from Credit Suisse of restaurant menu prices between New York City, Los Angeles and Las Vegas.
Vegas Dining Prices – “Surge Pricing”
Much like resort fees, the largest hotel companies like to hide their higher prices. While surge pricing isn’t new, some of the restaurants and bars in Las Vegas have been charging “holiday prices” for a few years.
My first time experiencing surge pricing in Las Vegas was at Wicked Spoon inside the Cosmopolitan the day I met Mr. TravelZork many moons ago. The Presidents Day price bump continued this year at the Cosmopolitan sports book when I paid $23 for a glass of Macallan that usually costs $18. I flinched at the price but needed that glass of scotch.
The casino operators will continue to push the limits on pricing until customers stay away in large numbers. I don’t just mean stay away from hotels – I mean avoid every venue inside the hotels. Last year visitation dropped about 1%. That small decrease that may continue this year but it isn’t having a major effect of pricing yet.
Having said all of that Las Vegas is still an affordable place for a vacation. After fees and taxes, hotel rooms in Las Vegas are still less expensive on average than plenty of other popular tourist destinations. The prices still allow room in your budget for higher prices at bars and restaurants. That’s in the most touristy part of Las Vegas.
Las Vegas is more affordable away from the Vegas Strip. There are plenty of improving options around town. The off-strip and downtown casinos are improving their bars and restaurants to offer a less expensive option for visitors tired of dealing with the Vegas Strip. These properties might not offer the same experience but there’s always plenty of good times to be found anywhere in Las Vegas.
The names and prices have changed but I’ve been writing about this topic for about five years. Love the Vegas Strip for what it is, love downtown Vegas for what it is and enjoy the off-strip casinos for what they are. There are plenty of experiences available all over Las Vegas. If the Vegas Strip isn’t right for you anymore, look elsewhere.
Learn Video Poker | How to Get Started
This week on TravelZork. Generally, video poker has better long term theoretical odds than slots but you have to learn how to play it. You must find and play only machines with the best pay tables and learn the strategies well enough to get close to realizing the best odds you can find. Video Poker is one of the best games in a casino, but switching to it, is not a panacea for losing.
The bulk of the news this week will come in the form of quick hits since I went on a bit of a diatribe about pricing in Las Vegas.
- There’s bad news and not bad news from SLS Las Vegas. The bad news is that the W Las Vegas is out. The good news is that SLS is still a Starwood property. Read the press release here.
- Tickets to see the Vegas Golden Knights preseason games go on sale tomorrow. See ticket info here.
- The Fremont Street Experience announced that they’ll be working on upgrading the canopy most of 2019. The new screen will debut on New Year’s Eve 2018. Look for more programming in 2019 since the new Viva Vision will be able to be used all day and night. Hopefully, they won’t ruin the peaceful mornings on Fremont Street walking through the mall of casinos. Read more here.
- Life Is Beautiful just revealed the culinary portion of the festival. There are plenty of great options but there’s one standout. Eataly will open at Park MGM by the end of the year. They’ll have food available in Las Vegas for the first time at LIB. Read more here.
- The Cosmopolitan has changed their players club and opened an excellent online portal. Sign up here if you’re already a member of Identity.
- Closed Circuit viewing for the rematch of Gennady “GGG” Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez on sale. You’ll only be able to watch the boxing match on the Vegas Strip in person at T-Mobile Arena or at MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay, The Mirage, and Luxor. Read more here.
- The Aerosmith residency, Deuces Are Wild, will be 18 shows from April through July next year. Read about the show and find ticket information here.
- Las Vegas sportsbook operator CG Technology was fined for the third time in two years. They operate the sportsbooks at Cosmopolitan, The Venetian, and six more casinos. Read more here.
- Las Vegas now has a cryptocurrency nightclub! Read more here. You can read an old post on Bitcoin in Vegas here. Somehow the old article isn’t entirely out of date.
- Hackers are paranoid about security. Read more here.
- This is probably more for the locals since only the Golden Nugget and Westgate are offering significant prizes for anyone out of state. The Las Vegas Review-Journal compiled a list of football contests. Read more here.
- MGM Resorts is hosting their own food festival. You can see the schedule and chef appearances here.
- Penn and Teller returned to the stage at the RIO All-Suite Las Vegas Hotel and Casino this weekend! Read the press release here.
- La La Noodle opens at Park MGM in November. They’ll be serving pork belly noodles. Read more here.
- Plaza is hosting a pickleball tournament! Read more here. Learn what pickleball is here.
- The Westgate will be hosting Mermaid School today and next weekend. Read more here.
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