Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Escape From Caesars Palace

This is really a “guest post” from my friend Don, who I’ve mentioned numerous times on this blog. In fact, he’s done guest posts for me before, here, for example. I think the circumstances under which I received this report are interesting.  He didn’t verbally tell me this story, nor did he write it up as an official submission (as if this blog had anything as formal as an “official” submission!).  No, it was a series of text messages.  

This was actually texted to me the Sunday of Memorial Day Weekend, which also happened to be the day I was driving up to Vegas myself for a “meet up game” that I'll hopefully tell you about some time in the future.  If not, I’m sure Lightning will blog about it soon if he hasn’t already.

The subject was not poker but paid parking, a topic I’ve covered quite a bit over the past few years, ever since Vegas Strip casinos decided to charge for the privilege of losing all your money to them playing games where the odds are legally stacked against you. It was great timing, because at the time I was in the middle of trying to figure out my own personal solution to the pay-for-parking problem.  As I write this, that situation has mostly been resolved (but perhaps not totally) and I definitely want to tell you that story when I have time to do an 87-part blog post (only a slight exaggeration). So the timing was perfect, even more so because I could actually listen to Don’s text messages while driving to Vegas.

I recently acquired a new car and it has “Android Auto.”  When you plug your phone in, the Google map program displays on the video screen that all new cars come with these days.  But also, it will read you any text messages that come in while you drive. The text-to-speech technology is pretty good, and a pleasant female voice reads you your messages.

So for a nice chunk of the trip, I was listening to Don’s tale of woe, and imagining that the sweet female voice I was hearing was actually Don’s (I know that sounds weird).  One glitch though.  For some reason, every time a new text came it, the program would repeat Don’s previous message before reading the new one.  Since I really didn’t have anything better to do than hear Don’s story, I didn’t mind one bit, in fact, it was like watching the “previously on” segments of a TV show you are binging.  A nice reminder of where we were in the story.

What you need to know is that Caesars (and I presume MGM too) recently changed their paid parking rules.  I believe when they first resumed charging for parking after reopening, they allowed locals to park for free.  So, Don was getting free parking as a Vegas resident, but now, no more.  Three hours max for free (which is two hours more than the tourists get)  Here’s what Don texted me, more of less verbatim.

This is how bad the night went.  I never dragged a pot, lost a $450 pot to a 2 outer on the river and that's NOT what tilted me about this evening.  Trying to get out of the Caesars garage did.

They changed their parking rules.  Locals only get 3 hours free, then they have to pay the stupidly high fees.  So, when I busted, I was about 90 minutes into my session and said "well no point in rebuying now" and headed to the garage.  That was at 11:20pm.

I get near the elevators and there is a crazy long line at the payment kiosks.  I thought "no problem there is one on every floor."  So, I walk up 2 flights of stairs and find no payment kiosks.  They still have signs that say they are on every floor, but they aren't.

I walk back down to the second floor, no kiosk.  I walk back into the casino, wait in line.  The kiosk there won't read my ID.

There's a speaker right over the kiosk, but I can't hear the support people.  So, I go back to the poker room AND to the Caesars Rewards desk to try to find a number that I can call on my phone.  They don't have one.

I walk back to my car (again up the stairs because there's a ton of people in the elevator lobby).  I get into the parking area and see a really long line to exit.  I walk to my car in the back of the garage on the 3rd floor.  As I do, I see a long line from the upper floors and cars merging from all over on floor 3 to exit.  The cars on the 3rd floor only have 1 lane to get out and they are backed up behind my car, around the corner, and snaking back towards the casino entrance.

I sit in my car without starting it for 10 minutes and see 1 car pass behind mine.  I'm like "f*ck this, it'll be over an hour before I even get near the exit."  So, I walk back down to the casino to wait.  I find a different payment kiosk, which also won't take my local ID but where I can hear support.  People behind me are bitching at me and I say "look, this thing won't read my ID, it's not my fault parking here is a f*cking joke."

The service rep answers and tells me to scan the ID at the exit.  I reply "that's great, but I've already been here 2 hours and I'm never getting out of the god damn garage before my 3 hours is up."  He says to ask for him by name and he will make a note for his coworkers to let me out.

I go sit by a slot machine - not playing, just sitting there with my back to the machine to watch the slut parade around the Vanderpump Lounge.  I think that's named for a reality TV star, but for all I know a "Vanderpump" could be some kind of German sex toy.

I wait about 45 minutes, walk to the elevators, see no line, and go to my car.  The line to exit is only about 10 cars long now and I head out.  I get to the gate and scan my ticket.  It still reads the $23 I was supposed to pay about 90 minutes ago, so either the service rep noted my parking ticket number or their system recorded the  time when I initially tried to pay.  I scan my ID a few times, it still doesn't read it.  So, I push the service button and finally get out of the garage.

To be fair, I did stop for gas on my way home.  But, I walked in my door at 1:10am.  Remember, I INITIALLY LEFT THE POKER ROOM AT 11:20pm.  So, it took me 1 hour and 50 minutes to get home from playing a 1 hour and 30 minute poker session - in which I never won a hand.

I've ridden buses in this town and I know that, even on a busy Saturday night, I could have caught the strip express bus, waited outside the south strip transfer terminal with the homeless for 30 minutes to catch the Warm Springs bus.  Taken that to right across from the parking lot Google maps says is my house and walked home in LESS TIME than it took to get my car from the Caesars garage here.

Don’s pain kept me entertained for a good portion of my drive.  I did wonder how the gate finally opened and he wasn’t sure, but assumed it might have been from the guy he talked to passing his ticket number around.  Before I even had a chance to ask him, Don added that I could use this story in the blog if I liked!  He knows me.  This story is right up my alley. My thanks to Don for sharing his story with me and allowing me to share it with you.

I especially loved the Vanderpump joke but to be honest, if he had made it a week earlier I wouldn’t have had a clue what he was talking about.  It was just days earlier I first heard the name Lisa Vanderpump when it was announced she was doing the first “Shuffle Up and Deal” at the WSOP.  I had never heard of her.

Also, I should explain that during my last trip to Vegas in April, I tried to find Don’s house using Google Maps, and even though he is located on a perfectly normal street in an ordinary part of Vegas, the Map program directed me to a parking lot behind his house, insisting that that was where Don lived.

Before I post this, I want to make an editorial comment on the whole paid parking situation in Vegas, if I may.  (Of course I may, it’s my damn blog and no one can stop me).  It’s not just the cost of the parking that pisses people off, although that ain’t nothing.  It’s the ancillary problems that it causes, as Don found out.  Without paid parking, everybody leaves that very busy Caesars garage (it was after all the Saturday night of Memorial Day Weekend) smoothly and promptly.  But to get that damn parking fee from us, or make us come up with some way to get free parking, they have kiosks to deal with, tickets to lose, credit card payments to make. And sometimes the damn gate just stops working for no obvious reason. If you’ve ever left a Strip casino that charges for parking on a busy night, you know it is hell to get out of there, even if you don’t have to personally pay to park.  You get stuck in a long line behind people who haven’t figured it out.  Maybe they forgot to pay, maybe they lost their ticket, maybe the damn ticket that should work doesn’t, maybe their card that should work doesn't.  And even if every single car in front of you exits without a major issue, it still takes three times as long to get out of there as it would if there was no gate and no damn parking payment required from anyone.

So, if you thought I might have changed my mind on how much paid parking in Vegas sucks, well, think again.


  1. Glad to see you writing again, I appreciate your posts even the long ones

  2. Definitely like your writing, no question about it

  3. It's not just Caesars Palace, Caesars (corporation) have been letting their parking decks deteriorate with 'deferred maintenance' (i.e. not fixing things when broken) since Eldorado took over. For a while it was mostly broken empty spot counters (those red/green lights above parking spots). Lately it's been non-operative parking kiosks.

    At Cromwell in July no one was working their kiosk call box at night. If you have a problem with paying, and/or your players card won't scan, you're stuck there until someone comes in.

    At Planet Hollywood they had one exit lane working for the 10-story parking deck on Sunday (when people are checking out and leaving). Lines wrapped around the deck several levels, but they still refuse to just open the gate and let pissed-off people out (they do this at Bellagio and other 'resorts' to not inconvenient guests), everyone has wait 30m+ to pay - no exceptions. A month later the gates are still not working - so it's by design.

    1. Thanks, thamster. Yeah, it is a freaking nightmare.

      They are ruining Vegas by the minute.