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Vegas Casinos Could Start Clamping Down on Free Drinks

Jan. 25, 2017
3 min read
Vegas Casinos Could Start Clamping Down on Free Drinks
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Getting a free drink in Las Vegas could soon become more difficult than simply parking yourself in front of a slot machine. The Los Angeles Times reports that two casinos have begun a trial that could determine the future of free libations for gamblers.

Caesar's Entertainment, which operates Caesar's Palace and eight other casinos on or near the Las Vegas Strip, is testing a new system that determines when a gambler qualifies for a free drink. The "comp validation system" is currently installed on video poker machines at sports bar across all of the properties. When a gambler has reached the minimum gambling threshold, the machine will display a green light to the bartender. A statement from Caesar's to The Los Angeles Times claims those who choose to gamble the maximum amount of money at the poker games will receive complimentary drinks. The statement did not go so far as to disclose the amount of money required before a free drink is approved.

At MGM Grand and Mirage, operated by MGM Resorts International, a similar policy has taken effect. At two different bars in both properties, gamblers are given one complimentary drink when they sit at the bar and begin playing. As they gamble, the machine automatically prints out free drink vouchers, which can be redeemed instantly. According to a statement from MGM Resorts, the new system allows bartenders to determine when a player qualifies for a free drink, instead of making judgement calls based on how long they have been there. Once again, the actual amount of game play required per free drink was not disclosed.

While Caesar's has not released more information about its video poker testing, MGM Resorts claimed the policy may be expanded to other properties in the future. The free drink trial marks the second major change for both hotels over the past year. In 2016, MGM Resorts rolled back free parking, while Caesar's reciprocal agreement with Starwood came to an end on December 31 of that year.

Although free parking is still available to elite members of MGM Resort's loyalty program, M life, the free drink policy is not guaranteed to top-tier members. Neither Caesar's Total Rewards elites (with Diamond status available through membership in Founders Card) nor M life elites (matchable up to M life Platinum for Diamond Hyatt Gold Passport members until February 28, 2017, then up to M life Gold for World of Hyatt elite members) are guaranteed free drinks at bars. However, Caesar's Total Rewards Diamond status does grant members access to the Caesar's Diamond lounges, which offer free beverages.

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