The cost for a visit to Sin City is about to climb for guests at MGM Resorts' 12 properties along the Strip. Within a few months, free parking will disappear — and it's unclear whether other Las Vegas hotels will follow suit.
Though hefty charges for self parking and valet are commonplace in most big cities, free-wheeling Las Vegas has been the notable exception, with countless millions of motorists having grown accustomed to the freebie.
MGM Resorts officials announced on Friday that, starting this spring, guests will have to ante up to park.
"The pricing is going to be modest. It will not exceed $10 a night for self parking," Clark Dumont, a senior vice president, said. He wouldn't say how much people can expect to pay for valet parking.
The charges will impact guests at Aria, Bellagio, Circus Circus, Delano, Excalibur, Luxor, MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay, the Mirage, Monte Carlo, New York-New York and Vdara.
The big unknown is whether other big players along the Strip will begin charging for parking now that MGM Resorts has opened the door.
The good news: The Venetian and the Palazzo "have no plans to charge for parking," according to Keith Salwoski, executive director of public relations.
The murkier news: Spokespersons for Caesars Entertainment — which has 10 Vegas properties — and Wynn-Encore declined to comment on the possibility of charging for parking.
MGM Resorts' Dumont said the new revenue will help create an improved parking experience.
For example, guests will be able to locate available spaces using their smartphones. The company will also build a new, 3,000-space garage at Excalibur, on the corner of Las Vegas Boulevard and Tropicana Avenue, to meet increasing demand.
Vegas visitor volume surpassed 42 million last year. The number of Californians crossing the state line along I-15 at Primm climbed nearly 5%.
"It's a reality that we have to face," Dumont said. "Are people going to love it? No. But it is what it is."