There’s a joke in “The Simpsons” ride at Universal Studios which essentially says that you know the ride can’t be over because you didn’t exit through a gift shop. Theme park operators have certainly mastered the art of shaking every dime out of people’s pockets, and the same can be said of casino operators on the Las Vegas Strip.
Big players like Caesars Entertainment (CZR) – Get Free Report and MGM Resorts International (MGM) – Get Free Report seem to have figured out how to get every last dollar people bring to Las Vegas. Some of that’s very above-the-board.
Both casino giants offer world-class entertainment, dining to meet every budget, spas, and activities ranging from golf to e-sports. MGM and Caesars also have maximized revenue in ways that feel less customer-friendly. If you stay at a property owned by either company, you will pay a mandatory resort fee.
In addition, both MGM and Caesars charge guests for parking. That’s actually a relatively new thing as until MGM changed its policy in 2016, with Caesars following a year later. Casino parking was generally free because it was a little callous to charge people to come spend money at your property and lose money in your casino.
Now, charging for parking for everyone except top-tier loyalty rewards members has become the norm on the Las Vegas Strip. It’s becoming the policy nearly everywhere as two more casinos have made the shift to charging for parking.
Venetian and Palazzo, which have the same ownership, plan to start charging for parking “later this summer,” the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.
The MSG Sphere is essentially in the parking lot of The Venetian.
Image source: MSG Sphere Las Vegas
Venetian Parking Change Timed to Sphere’s Opening?
Sphere Entertainment (SPHR) – Get Free Report, the spin-off of Madison Square Garden Entertainment (MSGE) – Get Free Report that now owns the $2.1 billion (and counting) concert venue which is essentially in the parking lot of The Venetian welcomes its first headliner in September. U2 kicks off a 17-week run of shows Sept. 29 and it makes sense for The Venetian to charge for parking because people coming to the show may not gamble, eat, or spend money at its resort casinos.
In a broad sense, even when it’s not hosting U2 or another major headline act, the Sphere will be a tourist draw. Those tourists, however, may not be coming to gamble or spend money as both The Venetian and Palazzo are high-end properties that may not appeal to the crowd coming to just watch a free exterior laser/projection show at Sphere.
Parking rates have not been set by the casino operator and top-tier loyalty members will still be able to park for free.
Sphere Makes Progress Toward Opening
While the Sphere has mostly been in the news for the cost overruns during its construction, the project has received some positive reviews for its 4th of July coming out party which showed off its “Exosphere.”
As part of a special show to celebrate the Fourth of July, for the first time ever, Sphere’s 580,000 square foot fully-programmable LED exterior — the largest LED screen on earth – was completely illuminated. The show started with a welcome — “Hello World” — and was followed by dazzling fireworks and stars and stripes animations, before transitioning through a wide array of visual content, from vibrant underwater scenes to performances to vividly-textured lunar surfaces, putting on full display the versatility of this unparalleled canvas.
In addition to hosting concert residencies, Sphere will also show movies created specifically for the venue’s unique capabilities. The Exosphere also offers a lot of possibilities for both entertainment and advertising.
“Sphere’s Exosphere is a 360-degree canvas for brand storytelling that will be seen around the world, offering our partners an unparalleled opportunity to become part of the greatest show on Earth,” said MSG Sports COO David Hopkinson. “There’s nothing comparable to the impact from displaying innovative brand and immersive content on the world’s largest video screen.”