According the the Associated Press, Las Vegas resorts comped $310.7 million in free drinks in 2009, a 2% drop from 2008. The resorts note that they sell more liquor when they give less away, and that no doubt is true. But at what cost? The entire idea about comping drinks is the keep the players PLAYING (and keep them lubricated up enough to keep playing). If you are on a losing streak and you have to go hunt down your own drink, aren’t you more likely just to leave the table (or machine)? Especially with machines where you can’t have a dealer watch your chips while you are gone.
This is unfortunately further evidence that some of people running the resorts have no clue about Las Vegas or the culture that made it famous (and made piles of cash from happy visitors). They get tighter with the free booze, then wonder why gaming wins are down? DUH. Sure… right now they are blaming it on the economy. But when the economy bounces back and gaming wins stagnate, maybe they’ll actually get back to taking care of the players.
I think it should be mandatory for ALL resort upper management to go on an “every-man” bender: 24 hours on the Las Vegas Strip drinking, eating, and gambling with no VIP status or access and their own money at stake. They would learn volumes. Instead, they are too busy cleaning their pocket protectors and doing calculus for amusement and often seem to have no clue what you guys — the real Las Vegas visitors — want and enjoy.
At the very least, reading our http://ask.accessvegas.com blog should be mandatory for resort management on every level. We print the stuff you guys are emailing us — the stuff you really care about. I am amazed (perhaps shocked is a better word) about how out-of-touch some of the resort decision makers are with you guys. And we aim to correct that. One letter and one comment at a time. Feel free to make your voice heard by commenting below: