LAS VEGAS - It's almost been a year since MGM Resorts International broke with Las Vegas tradition and started charging customers to park.
There was an immediate outcry from locals. Some of them promising to boycott MGM and take their money elsewhere.
Well, how did that work out? And did it effect MGM's bottom line?
MGM started charging for parking last June. The company's annual earnings report for 2016 is 123 pages long. The only mention of how much money the MGM generated from parking is a footnote at the bottom of page 37.
They disclosed a 7 percent increase in other revenue "primarily" because of valet and self-parking fees implemented in June of 2016.
The other revenue, according to the earnings report was $1.143 billion.
The company didn't make that much from parking alone, that number includes net revenue from entertainment and retail at all of MGM's domestic resorts.
And remember, MGM implemented parking fees halfway through 2016. And until late December, locals parked for free.
The MGM's latest earnings report covering the first three months of 2017 shows the company is doing very well.
In that report, which includes MGM international properties, other revenue, which is where the company lumps parking fees, is up 19 percent.
So, what ever happened to the backlash from locals who promised to boycott MGM and take their money elsewhere? Have any properties felt an impact?
When it comes to net revenue at other properties: Bellagio is up, Mandalay Bay is up, the Mirage is up, Luxor is up, Monte Carlo, Excalibur, and Circus Circus are all up compared to last year. The exception is MGM Grand whose net revenue is down slightly due to more events being held at T-Mobile Arena.
"We've seen no variation in business activity that can be attributed to our change in parking policy. Our gaming, restaurant, entertainment, and other business levels see natural fluctuations, which are impacted by seasonal and other various factors. But we have seen nothing outside of normal patterns," said Gordon Absher, vice president of corporate communications, MGM Resorts International.
MGM Resorts International was recently singled out by the International Parking Institute for what they called "the largest parking technology installation ever undertaken by a private company." Sixty-thousand spaces.
While many locals are still upset, paid parking is here to stay. In fact, several other Strip properties have followed MGM's lead, and analysts say as long as visitation remains strong, company executives will continue to look for ways to capitalize.
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