Food & Drink

Say Goodbye to Free Booze at Vegas Casinos

cocktail at a casino
Sara Norris/Thrillist

If you’re anything like me, 90% of a casino’s appeal is booze -- free booze, that is. High roller or penny slotter, it doesn’t matter. Those blissful comps, however, are about to vanish like Criss Angel’s Lambo.

The LA Times recently reported that big time Vegas casinos Caesars and MGM are experimenting with a cutting-edge tracking system that allows them to gauge just how much every customer is spending. And, in true Big Brother fashion, that information will be used to determine just how many visits from the cocktail waitress each player can receive.

Let me break it down for you. Say you’re perched at your favorite Buffy the Vampire Slayer slot machine. You’re ambling along, sliding quarters into the stake-shaped receptacle and nursing a gin and tonic. Normally, you’d be offered a refresher every 20 minutes or so, but once this new technology goes into effect, flagging down a second drink won’t be so easy. And until you switch to a more expensive machine or $15 buy-in blackjack table, you might just have to go thirsty.

Caesars has initially begun rolling out what they dub a “comp validation system” on video poker machines. If a player shoves enough cash into a certain machine, a light affixed to the monitor flashes green, alerting servers that they’ve qualified for another round. Over at the MGM Grand and the Mirage, machines are set to print out liquor vouchers based on playing time. And while you’re rewarded with your first tipple just for sitting down, your second might not arrive for another hour of constant play.

So, to all you cigarette-tapping grandmas and freeloading 20-somethings out there, you might want sneak a few extra nips in next time you hit the strip.

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Meredith Heil is a staff writer for Thrillist. She's takin' wages down in Vegas, just in case Tyson have a major night off. That's clean money -- the tax write-off. Ante up, follow @mereditto.