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The Double Down: Vegas ‘Resort Fees’ As Political Football

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2024-01-08

The Double Down: Vegas ‘Resort Fees’ As Political Football

The reels are always spinning in the gambling industry, and “The Double Down” is here every Friday to catch you up on all of the week’s biggest news. Sports Handle’s “Get a Grip” rounds up everything on the sports betting side, and US Bets provides the best of the rest: brick-and-mortar happenings, online casino app updates, poker headlines, horse betting, and more. So pull up a chair, crunch the numbers, and slide forward another stack of chips.

The Sin City squeeze

Will Las Vegas casino resort fees be the issue that swings the 2024 U.S. presidential election?

I’ll spare you the suspense and admit that this is a Betteridge’s law of headlines situation applied to a lead sentence. No, casino resort fees will not be the issue that swings the election.

Vegas resort fees can get in line somewhere way behind abortion rights, democracy in the U.S. and abroad, immigration, the economy, climate change, and probably another hundred issues that matter more than the sticker shock of a Vegas hotel bill.

Then again, if this election, presumably a rematch between incumbent Joe Biden and former office holder Donald Trump, is as close as the betting markets say it is, perhaps one tiny issue could end up tipping things. Especially with Nevada serving as a swing state, one of just seven jurisdictions that was decided by three percentage points or less in 2020.

But, still — Betteridge’s law. Nope. This won’t be the issue that determines the next president. However, as The Nevada Independent reminded us with a thorough examination published on New Year’s Eve, President Biden has been taking aim at so-called “junk fees” since his February 2023 State of the Union address, and it can be a divisive issue, depending on whether you’re a consumer getting taken to the cleaners or someone on the making-money side of the Las Vegas tourism industry.

The quickie description of what Biden is railing against: Casino-hotels list one price as their room rate, then charge a nightly “resort fee” that, according to the Federal Trade Commission, averages 11% on top of the advertised room rate.

Vegas casinos are not the lone offender here — hotels without casinos, airlines, and concert/sports ticket vendors all do the same thing. (Just this week, I bought two tickets at $59.50 apiece to see an Extreme/Living Colour double bill in Atlantic City — don’t judge me — and at checkout, my $119 in tickets cost me $147. Ah well, you fought the good fight, Pearl Jam, but in the end you proved once again that the house always wins.)

Anyway, it’s a particularly interesting issue in Nevada because, as the Independent noted, Democrats nationally are mostly joining in Biden in supporting consumers over giant businesses, but Nevada-based politicians, who don’t want to anger the gaming and hospitality industries, are generally avoiding picking a side on this one.

As we at US Bets kick off another year of delivering The Double Down every Friday, we do so with a solemn promise to you, the readers: There are no hidden fees attached to this or any of our articles.

That said, as long as you’re here, you may as click to read all about this month’s top U.S. online casino bonuses and promotions, right?

This week on Gamble On …

Every Thursday, US Bets drops a new episode of the Gamble On podcast, and this week’s welcomed the outstanding Sports Handle business reporter Matt Rybaltowski to offer his perspective on the major stories he’s watching in 2024, including Entain’s decision on what to do with BetMGM and PENN Entertainment’s options regarding launching ESPN BET in New York:

Will ESPN BET enter the New York market in 2024 by acquiring the WynnBET license? @MattRybaltowski says, "If Wynn wants to charge somewhere around $100 million for that license fee, talks could get pretty contentious there," and discussion ensues on the latest ep of #GambleOn. https://t.co/iCmjasvLSy pic.twitter.com/pt3K1KfUqI

— US Bets (@US_Bets) January 5, 2024

A new online casino entrant?

Maine Tribes Now Angling For Legal iCasino, Historical Horse Racing

And elsewhere in New England …

New Hampshire Casino Ordered To Close Jan. 1

Do you see what I see?

The Moneytaker Effect: ‘Superuser’ Mess A Warning Shot For Regulated U.S. Poker Sites

I’ve got the power

$842 Million Powerball Winner Sold In Flint Suburb

Location, location, location

‘Crazy Eddie’ Nephew’s Case Against BetMGM Faces Key Court Location Question

Numbers game

Ohio Casinos And Racinos Saw Monthly Revenue Bump From 2022 In November

Who will take the fifth?

Legislator Prepares Push For Northern Virginia Casino In New Session 

Caesars now accepting mobile horse wagers in Illinois

Arlington may be dark, but at least Illinois horseplayers have a new mobile horse betting option now that Caesars has debuted its advance deposit wagering platform in the Land of Lincoln.

Tuesday’s announcement of the Illinois launch means Caesars Racebook is live in 21 states, a list that includes neighboring Indiana and Kentucky. And with Nebraska new to the racino scene, Caesars recently broke ground on Harrah’s Columbus Racing & Casino. The new facility will be the de facto replacement for Columbus’ old Ag Park, which hosted its final night of live racing this past July.

— Mike Seely

New York schools always hold winning ticket

While the lottery is certainly a -EV proposition for bettors, it remains a very +EV proposition for New York public schools.

To wit, the Powerball jackpot rolled 35 times before a winner was drawn on New Year’s Day. And while that winning $842 million ticket was sold in Michigan, New York public school students got a $38.4 million windfall from ticket sales over the course of those 35 drawings. (And not for nothing, lottery retailers in New York pocketed $6.6 million themselves.)

“New York’s schools and small businesses win every time a lottery ticket is purchased,” said Gaming Commission Chair Brian O’Dwyer in a press release. “The millions of dollars generated with every jackpot underscore the significant role the New York Lottery plays in supporting public education and retailers across the state. As we venture into 2024, the New York Lottery will continue to create responsible and entertaining games for New Yorkers while also generating real revenue for our state’s public schools.”

The current Powerball jackpot is a “mere” $35 million, with the next drawing set for Saturday night.

— Jeff Edelstein

More from around the gambling biz

SINGING THE BLEAUS: Senior VP out at Fontainebleau [Las Vegas Review-Journal]

HAPPY NEW (JERSEY) YEAR: Casino smoking and boosting in-person gambling are among challenges for Atlantic City in 2024 [Associated Press]

DONE DEAL: Sands casino owners acquire Mark Cuban’s high-profile property near downtown Dallas [The Dallas Morning News]

KEEP IT MOVING, PEOPLE!: Las Vegas Strip tourists can’t stop on pedestrian bridges under new county ordinance [The Nevada Independent]

ROCKY START: New Chamonix Casino Hotel hits setbacks during opening week in Cripple Creek [The Denver Gazette]

HARD ROCK, SOFT SIGNOFF: Wisconsin: Council approves Hard Rock casino despite concerns [CDC Gaming Reports]

THE ROAD TO KENOWHERE: Where did all the Vegas live keno lounges go? [Las Vegas Review-Journal]

Image: Blundell Design




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