Picture Las Vegas: what do you imagine?
For many, the city represents a sort of escape, filled with lots of different (but still legal!) channels of indulgence and debauchery.
There are glitzy hotels, countless shows, glamorous casinos and, of course: booze. Lots of it.
It turns out, however, that it is about to get a lot more difficult to get a free drink in Vegas now that two popular casinos, Caesars and MGM Resorts, have begun to use a technology that allows the casino owners to determine just how much their patrons are spending on games before determining whether or not they qualify for a free drink.
As the Los Angeles Times reports, the casinos are now hoping to implement something of a "play-to-drink" scenario, whereby bartenders will be instructed to withhold the sinful Bacchanalian delights until you've spent enough cash in the casino machines.
Currently, the practice is going through a test phase now, at Caesars sports bars throughout Nevada. Essentially, an indicator light flashes green if and only if a guest has deposited enough cash into video poker games.
If a bartender sees the green light, that's their signal to pour you your free booze as part of a "comp validation system." No green light, no drink.
Similar testing is going on with MGM Resorts' new system; at the MGM Grand and the Mirage, machines automatically print out drink vouchers when a certain amount of play time has been achieved.
"The new technology has eliminated the guessing game for bartenders about how many drinks each guest is eligible to receive based on play," the LA Times reports an e-mail statement as stating. And that means bad news for those who came to rely on comped drinks while out in Vegas:
"We may expand this technology to other bars."
On the plus side, players do get one free drink as soon as they put money into a machine, but one drink doesn't take you very far on a Las Vegas night.