Hidden fees are the newest casino tricks to take more of your money than you intended to give them. Find out about them here.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


$$$$$$$$ $$$$$$$$ $$$$$$$$ $$$$$$$$ $$$$$$$$ $$$$$$$$ 
you may skip my long introduction and just scroll  to the lists of threads from an assortment of Vegas boards that cover this issue at he end of this post

 Vegas discussion boards are a fine place to collect information about any topic related to Vegas; however, along with helpful, knowledgeable posters will be scattered folks who may only know a bit about something, may work for casinos and have a different agenda than a tourist, may like to take an opposite position just for the fun of it, or may have some other axe to grind.  Reading many threads on a assortment of boards is very helpful in getting a rounded idea of what is happening.
On this issue only very current posts are useful as the details of the fees change often. If you call and find a certain casino now has a higher rate than you see on posted lists, let the list poster know.  Let me know too.  I'll pass it on.

It may be hard to imagine folks who would actually defend the hotels' decision to trick us in this way, but they will be on every thread.  Many think that no one should ever complain about how a casino manages things and that the basic rule is "buyer beware"regardless of how insidious and ridiculous the trick.  Or they claim this is a lot of smoke over nothing.
 The points made by folks who don't think resort fees are any problem seem to fall in these categories:

1. "Who cares about a little $8 resort fee. It's only money."
2. "Don't worry, the casino will take care of you if you just ask them at the desk and get a full statement of charges."
3. "You can get easily get rid of these charges if you gamble more."

If you think about these arguments for a moment you will see that these are classic casino positions. The casino always wants us to devalue the value of money, so they can collect it from us with the least possible resistance.
They always want to give the impression they are our friends and will take very good care of us, when in reality they are trying to relieve us of our money.
And casinos try all sorts of schemes to try to get us to play more.  We are fine about most of them.  This one is just a bit over the line.

A second group of casino defenders are folks who enjoy their position in an elite group of savy travelers. They seem to say over and over, " We smart people can add the resort fee to the advertised fee, do the math, and come up with our cost.  If you can't do that, then you deserve to pay the extra fee."  They simply ignore post after post of confused and irritated people who were tricked as well as some of the more subtle complications of the resort fee payment structure.  Smart people should just do what they do.

And finally, there is a shrinking group of fatalists who simply say that there is nothing to do about these fees, when, of course, there is plenty to do and even a small bit done against this concept can reverse the trend as it did at M casino and in the minds of Harrah's marketers.

It is of absolutely no use to argue with these folks, but they do need to be challenged to rethink the issue, not because they will actually change their simplistic rhetoric, but because there are lukers on these boards, reading, but saying nothing.

Every gambling writer faces these issues in the writing and those who try to protect the players,
responsible writers (like Jean Scott, Mark Pilarski, Dan Paymar, John Grochowski, Linda Boyd, John Blowers and many others,) tell us that money always matters even if it is disguised as chips, devalued by alcohol, or hidden in fees.
They tell us that we should enjoy the friendliness of the casino, but to remember that casinos are like the con man and only friendly until they get all we got.
And finally they often warn us never to get trapped into playing for comps.

The first poster I ever read about who was surprised by the resort fee was a fellow who had arranged to take his wife to Red Rock for their 25th wedding anniversary. From what he wrote I took it that he really could not afford the trip, but he splurged.
So they get there and find that the deal they booked and thought was so good had not mentioned that they were going to pay $28 dollars a night extra to the casino as a resort fee.

This couple generally did not have money for hotels, and had not gone to many, so what do you think they did when they saw the interesting stuff on display in the room? You got it. I forgot what it cost him to "look" at the sex package toys offered due to the time sensitive trick the vender and casino like to play.
He put them back, but they ended up on his bill.
He laughed about it and at himself for not paying more attention to detail and for not taking seriously that this was Vegas where every time you turn around someone was trying to trick you out of your money.
Well, he had been tricked successfully.
Naturally, the added expense took the celebratory edge off the anniversary trip, but he did not whine.  I guess he thought it was a "buyer beware" world too and the tone of the post was a humorous chuckle.

I didn't laugh with him.
I was very sad that he and his wife had wanted a special celebration and what they got was trickery and fine print.

I go to Vegas all the time on a frugal budget. I celebrated my 60th there for an entire frugal month and invited everyone I know to join me and offered to help book for them a frugal trip. No friend or family member  paid over $25 a night for a room, and I had visitors every day of the month.  I know it can be done.

Maybe some of the information here will help the next couple new to traveling to Vegas.
I know it is helpful to me.  This is the most confusing bit of idiocy I have even encountered in all my years of booking frugal trips.

Noted in November:

Noted in December:
There is plenty of resort fee discussion right after the list at Vegas message board.  Viva Las Vegas is a fine source of current information on this issue.


This is by far the funniest thread of December.

I post the Circus Circus information and get responses reflecting those three classic casino arguments.  Posters also assume this is handled the same everywhere.
I toss back the facts over and over and it is just like beating my head against a brick wall.
I get so frustrated I take a wild guess that posters have casino stock or are employees.
And I'm right.
The major apologist for the casinos, the person who calls any casino guest "ignorant" if they don't get the full details of what they booked in writing sent to them at their homes, works for one of the largest Resort Fee hotels, the Aliante Station Casino.
So I've been fighting "hidden fees" and "hidden conflicts of interest" as well.
It is good sense to get a written agreement on cost before you check in, but casinos should not be trying so hard to trick and confuse their customers that we need to assemble piles of proof in order to simply rent a room.
No one should feel diminished because they are confused by this Resort Fee practice.
No one should take the blame for being fooled by fine print.
I'm confused, and I have been booking rooms for many years.

More discussions are here:
One as early as this spring:

and here
and here
and here
and in this discussion Steve Bourie of the American Casino Guide speaks against these fees:
and here.
This is a rather short discussion, but whenever we get a chance to read author Linda Boyd's perspectives, we should.

This discussion covers hotels other than Vegas and is interesting because one poster got the fee refunded after he had paid it and gone home.  He sent in the complaining thread.

Noted in January 2010



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