Lonely Planet Writer

New technology could mean free drinks in Las Vegas Casinos might dry up

High rollers in Las Vegas are accustomed to the royal treatment, but visitors in any betting bracket could always look forward to a few perks, including complimentary drinks on the casino floor. With new technology, though, the longstanding tradition of free-flowing booze could become thing of the past in Sin City.

The Las Vegas Strip and skyline.
The Las Vegas Strip and skyline. Image by SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

Two Vegas powerhouses, Caesars Entertainment and MGM Resorts, are experimenting with technology that tracks gambler spending and issues drinks accordingly. Both organisations are focusing, for now, on video poker. At Caesars, newly-installed lights on the video poker machines — currently in all of the sports bars in its nine properties — will flash green when gamblers bet a certain amount of money, signalling to bartenders to serve a free drink. Typically, the maximum bet per hand is $1.25, and guests have reported betting up to five hands before getting the green light.

A photo posted by Caesars Palace (@caesarspalace) on Jan 10, 2017 at 10:41am PST

MGM Resorts is testing a slightly different method. At one bar in the MGM Grand and one bar at the Mirage, machines dole out one free drink vouchers when a gambler first adds money, with more to come when they play for a certain amount of time. Here, guests have reported playing up to an hour before getting a voucher.

A photo posted by The Mirage (@themiragelv) on Oct 22, 2016 at 12:31pm PDT

Historically, bartenders have been responsible for keeping track of which gamblers spend enough money to earn free drinks. “The new technology has eliminated the guessing game for bartenders about how many drinks each guest is eligible to receive based on play,” a spokesperson for MGM Resorts told The Los Angeles Times, and noted the organisation may expand the program to more bars.

A photo posted by The Mirage (@themiragelv) on Oct 25, 2016 at 5:37pm PDT

With pizza in America now available via ATM, perhaps it only makes sense for a machine to determine when to award a free cocktail.

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