It’s time to dust off your sad trombone. Venetian and Palazzo were among the few free parking hold-outs on the Las Vegas Strip, but that’s about to end.
Sister hotels Venetian and Palazzo, along with the Venetian Convention and Expo Center (previously the Sands Convention Center), will start charging for parking in the next couple of months.
Looking at you, The Sphere.
It was fun while it lasted!
Our buddy Jacob Orth on Twitter was the first to float the rumor paid parking was coming to Venetian.
The company didn’t specify when paid parking will be rolled out, but another popular and reliable Twitter account, @LasVegasLocally, says free parking ends August 15, 2023.
What Venetian has confirmed is members of its Grazie Rewards loyalty club will still get free self-parking, as long as they’re Premier tier or above.
Valet parking is available for $35 a day. Grazie Rewards members, Elite and above, will continue to get free valet parking.
As mentioned, the change in parking policy at Venetian and Palazzo has a lot to do with the upcoming opening of The Sphere.
The new entertainment venue made a splash when it debuted its “exosphere” (exterior) LED screens on July 4, 2023.
The Sphere officially opens Sep. 29, 2023. U2 has booked 25 shows at the venue, the first residency at this $2.2 billion boondoggle. Sorry, immersive, game-changing entertainment juggernaut.
As far as we can tell, the venue doesn’t really have dedicated parking, so it’s expected most Sphere customers will park at Venetian and Palazzo.
The Sphere is officially called “The Sphere at Venetian Las Vegas,” but it’s not really at Venetian, it’s a third of a mile stroll away via a pedestrian walkway.
Sphere guests may also look to Wynn and Encore for parking, which means Wynn and Encore’s free parking is also likely to go away as well. There has been no announcement along those lines yet, but we hear it’s being reviewed.
Wynn and Encore had paid parking for a time, but it was rolled back when Wynn Plaza wasn’t getting the desired foot traffic. Wynn and Encore have had free self-parking since 2018.
There are lots of reasons Strip resorts charge for parking, despite the fact casinos offered free parking for years to entice visitors.
Beyond the revenue generated by parking fees, they also act as a way to deter less desirable guests. They also keep out employees of neighboring venues looking to park free, ensuring more spaces for actual customers.
Parking fees help pay for maintenance of parking garages, of course, and other improvements (such as red light, free light systems alerting guests to available spaces). At least that’s the theory.
There is some peril in charging for parking, despite most Strip casinos doing it now.
The Strat, for example, discontinued free parking on April 3, 2023. There have been recent rumors the resort is laying off staff (casino managers, a pit manager, VIP hosts and others). The company hasn’t confirmed there’s a connection between paid parking and staff reductions, but we are free to speculate that’s the case.
It’s worth noting Strat restored free parking for locals soon after its paid parking program was launched.
As mentioned, the list of casinos with free parking on The Strip is very short, they include Tropicana (some “premium” parking is not free), TI, Casino Royale, Circus Circus, Wynn and Encore and Resorts World (free for loyalty club members).
Yes, we intentionally left Sahara off the list because the owner is a shady asshat. All due respect to asses and hats.
As we always mention whenever we write about changes in parking policies, there are lots of workarounds for parking fees.
Caesars Entertainment and MGM Resorts, the biggest players on the Las Vegas Strip, offer free parking for higher tier loyalty club members and offer several hours of free parking for locals. If you get their credit cards, you get bumped up to a tier level where parking is free.
Paid parking is an undeniable pain in the ass, but everywhere else in the world charges for parking (much more than Las Vegas, by the way), so we abide.
If paid parking affects business levels at Venetian and Palazzo, or the Sphere underperforms (it can’t not), nothing is set in stone and the paid parking policy could be reversed down the road (as it’s likely to be at Strat).
We’re curious if this paid parking policy would’ve been implemented when Venetian was owned by Sheldon Adelson and his Las Vegas Sands Corp. Adelson was old-school. The resort was purchased by Apollo Global and Vici Properties in Feb. 2022.
Paid parking is here to stay, so focus on the fun it gets you, not the discomfort it causes in your ham flower, a term we didn’t realize exists until just now. Good luck unseeing that.