In Las Vegas, one small perk to appear over the pandemic was a brief reprieve from paid parking. Locals and visitors alike have celebrated the break from paid parking. Alas; it’s coming to an end. Paid parking is returning to much of Vegas as the city reopens this summer.
The Properties Bringing Back Paid Parking
So if you’re a local who visits the casinos or a traveler staying at a Las Vegas resort, you’re likely wondering where you may run into these returning parking fees.
These are the properties that will be bringing back paid parking (the list may not be exhaustive):
- MGM Resorts: The driving force behind the paid parking phenomenon on the Vegas Strip, MGM properties have seen a return to paid parking this month and paid self-parking will return June 1. Las Vegas Advisor shares, “Beginning June 1, fees will be charged for self-parking at all MRI properties, which include Bellagio, Aria, Mandalay Bay, The Mirage and several others.The first hour is free for everyone [and the first three hours are free for locals]. Then, depending on the casino, the charge will be $12 or $15 for two to four hours, and $15 or $18 for four to 24 hours. Valet fees will be higher, running up to $30 per day on weekends. Self-parking will remain free for active-duty military members, veterans and holders of higher tiers of players’ cards.”
- Caesars Entertainment: The first Las Vegas group to bring back paid parking, Caesars Entertainment reinstituted paid parking at its six Las Vegas properties back in October. According to a statement, those receiving free parking are, “Nevada residents with valid identification, registered hotel guests, and Caesars Rewards loyalty members rated Platinum and above.” Other guests will be charged to self-park at the following properties: Caesars Palace, Paris Las Vegas, Bally’s Las Vegas, Flamingo Las Vegas, The LINQ Hotel + Experience and Harrah’s Las Vegas. But Caesars early return to paid parking did some good. From October 14 through the first quarter of 2021, fees collected were donated to charities which supported Caesars employees and community members.
Will Any Parking Remain Free?
Luckily, several resorts will continue to offer a free parking option. Virgin Hotels Las Vegas opened on March 25, and they implemented a zero resorts fee policy and complimentary self parking. Valet parking is available for a fee. Other resorts continuing to offer complimentary parking include Circus Circus, The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, Sahara Las Vegas, Wynn Las Vegas and The Venetian Las Vegas.
Controversy Over Paid Parking
Paid parking was controversial from the beginning on the Strip. But now that people are still reeling from the pandemic, experts worry that parking fees will drive locals away. The Las Vegas Review Journal shares this insight and warning from Amanda Belarmino, an assistant professor at UNLV’s school of hospitality; “‘The lack of conventions and business travel means that Las Vegas will continue to be dependent on leisure travel and local clientele,’ she said. ‘If the Amtrak does open between Las Vegas and Los Angeles, the casino operators may need to rethink charging for parking as the demand for parking may go down, and it may be worthwhile to foster the goodwill of local patrons.'”
LVRJ continues, “It remains to be seen how MGM Resorts’ switch will affect business, but the new policy seems to have had local visitors at front of mind, with self-parking free to locals for the first three hours—enough time to catch a show or dine.”
But MGM Resorts at least remains confident in their decision, sharing in a statement per LVRJ, “‘Service and business needs are changing rapidly as Las Vegas continues its recovery,’ reads a statement from MGM Resorts. ‘We’re focused on expanding our amenities and workforce to accommodate increasing numbers of guests as demand grows and visitation continues rising.’”
Time will tell whether guests will buy into the paid parking again or if they’ve lost their appetite for it all together over the past year.