Skip to content
CityLab
Government

In Las Vegas, Kickbacks Sweeten the Deal for Uber and Lyft Drivers

For decades, Vegas night clubs have paid taxi drivers to bring in new customers. Now ride-sharing drivers find that a good hustle can pay off.
When Uber and Lyft came to Las Vegas in 2015, they nearly gave businesses a break from kickbacks—until taxi drivers stepped in.
When Uber and Lyft came to Las Vegas in 2015, they nearly gave businesses a break from kickbacks—until taxi drivers stepped in.Mark Makela/Corbis via Getty

Harry Campbell and his friends were walking down a side street in Las Vegas last spring when a black Escalade pulled up beside them. The driver made an offer: He’d take them to a strip club and give each person—all ten of them—a $20 bill if they got in the SUV.

It sounds odd, but it made perfect sense, says Campbell, founder of The Rideshare Guy blog and podcast. The driver wanted to entice the group to go to the strip club because the club would pay him a kickback for each person he brought there. For any takers, that upfront cash could make a dent in the club’s cover charge. The driver, meanwhile, stood to make anywhere from $40 to $80 per person just for dropping them off.