MGM Resorts Is First Major Casino to Drop Free Parking in Vegas

  • $10 fee brings an end to era of free valet parking for guests
  • Shift coincides with $90 million upgrade to garage facilities

MGM Resorts International, citing rising car traffic, will begin charging as much as $10 for overnight parking at resorts including Bellagio as the largest casino operator on the Las Vegas Strip breaks ranks with competitors.

The fee, which will take effect in the second quarter, coincides with a $90 million upgrade of the company’s parking facilities, including a new 3,000-space garage next to the Excalibur Hotel and mobile technology that lets guests check for spaces prior to arrival, Las Vegas-based MGM Resorts said in a statement Friday. Members of the company’s M Life customer loyalty program may qualify for free parking.

“We recognize this is a significant departure from a long-established paradigm in the Las Vegas market,” Chief Operating Officer Corey Sanders said in the statement. “We believe these enhancements and new technology solutions will become welcome additions to our overall guest experience.”

Las Vegas casinos have long sought to lure gamblers with perks such as free parking and drinks and discounted food. As casinos have spread across the country, the Nevada operators have adapted by looking to increase sales from non-gambling sources, such as restaurants, nightclubs and shows.

Casino revenue on the Las Vegas Strip fell 2.5 percent to $5.8 billion in the fiscal year ended June 30, according to the Nevada Gaming Control Board. The city welcomed a record 42 million visitors last year, a 2 percent increase, according to the convention and visitors authority. Auto traffic was expected to rise 6 percent during the period.

MGM noted in a slide presentation that self-parking fees at hotels in other major cities range from $49 in Chicago to $15 in Phoenix. The Associated Press reported MGM’s decision earlier Friday.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.