Every new year brings new changes, and 2017 promises to bring many; a new president, the first human head transplant (yes, it’s true) and the end of free parking in Las Vegas…for the most part, anyway. While it may not be as painful as a head transplant, paying to park in Vegas will give some visitors quite a headache.
We were first alerted to this issue last year when we were putting together the Guide to Free Parking in Las Vegas. In early 2016, MGM was the first to make this bold move, switching all of its hotels and casinos to paid parking. Members of MGM’s M life Rewards program still enjoy free parking privileges with their membership, but MGM announced starting Jan. 1, 2017, they would be charging Nevada locals.
Once MGM made the move, others inevitably followed. Throughout 2017, many other hotels and casinos will implement a paid parking policy. Caesars Entertainment Corp., will charge for parking at eight of its nine properties, with Rio being the exception. Like MGM, members of Caesars' loyalty program will still be able to park for free, and so far, they are extending free parking privileges to Nevada residents as well.
It’s highly unlikely there will be any free parking left on the Strip by the end of 2017, especially at hotels and casinos. Any venue that holds out will have its lot inundated with people searching for complimentary parking. This is already an issue at casinos near MGM, where guests park in free lots, then leave to go to other casinos. As free parking becomes more scarce, the problem will only get worse, until everyone is forced to charge.
Parking fees vary, averaging between $5 and $13 for up to four hours and between $8 and $18 for four to 24 hours. If you’re a Vegas regular or are planning a long visit, it’s worth your while to invest in a membership at your favorite casino, especially if you’re staying there.
One of the benefits for guests, or maybe the only benefit, of implementing paid parking is the new, easy-to-use parking guidance systems many casinos will offer for identifying unoccupied spaces. This will remove the time-consuming task of driving around and looking for a place to park. So far, Harrah’s, Paris, Bally’s, Flamingo and Caesars Palace plan to have new, guest-friendly parking systems in place by early 2017. Surely the rest will follow suit to better accommodate guests.