The late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is credited with saying, “Words have meaning. And their meaning doesn’t change.” But new words and phrases and their new meanings enter our language on a regular basis. The same is true in Las Vegas—especially as the landscape has changed over the last 30 years.
New words and phrases have been invented to reflect that changed Vegas reality, but they have not yet been thoroughly absorbed by the public. In the interest of providing timely information through this column in Global Gaming Business, here are some of the new words and phrases and their meanings. (Don’t judge me, Justice Scalia.):
CASINOFICATION: The proliferation of casinos throughout the Las Vegas suburbs. Not content to appeal to the world, some resorts want to appeal to the locals as well. Since the advent of paid parking on the Las Vegas Strip and Downtown, local casinos with free parking are flush. And, with their poker rooms, sometimes royally.
JUMBO PRICE: Jumbo used to refer to large shrimp cocktails, but now refers to the price you pay for a smaller amount of that same seafood. Whatever happened to the 99-cent shrimp cocktail? Those days of value are gone. Jumbo disappointment for most folks.
LEGALSCALP: Forget the questionable people outside venues offering tickets to popular Las Vegas resident performers and one-off headliner concerts. The initial price on the official sites, including fees and taxes (Ticketmaster, are you listening?), puts the former to shame.
POST-NEWTON: This phrase, while a tribute to the old days in Vegas (when Wayne Newton performed at all the Summa properties—Sands, Frontier, Desert Inn, etc.—on the Strip week in and week out), refers to the new breed of headliners. These entertainers perform at one property exclusively, but over several weekends or longer. The law of supply and demand: keep the talent at one property and limit the appearances, and you can charge high prices (see Legalscalp above).
NO PALMS: This doesn’t refer to the resort, but rather the disappearance of the maître d’s who were always happy to seat you in a premium booth for $10-$20 stealthily deposited in their hands. Now it’s seat selection online and you’re paying more that way than the old system (also see Legalscalp above).
SELF- GUESTING: Checking in and out of a hotel through kiosks or online is dressed up as a more efficient and high-tech way to enjoy your stay, while you’re the one actually doing all the work. What’s next, going to the room service kitchen and bringing your food back to your room?
PROPERTY PLUS: Those are the pesky resort fees. Until a few years ago, you simply paid your room rate plus tax. That was it. Now, the resort fees get close to matching the room rate. Add paid parking and goodbye value. Revenue streams have become revenue rivers, and many of us are drowning before we even get to the room.
PARK AND CHARGE: That’s the moniker for today’s valet parking world. In the old days, valet parking was free and you tipped the valet. It was a coveted job with a good income. Now the fee goes directly to the property’s bottom line. The valet attendants get less tips and less income, and are soon to go the way of the maître d’.
These new terms that describe the new realities in Las Vegas are a simple evolution of the entertainment capital and its vocabulary. Hopefully, Las Vegas will remember a golden-age term: hospitality. And the new Las Vegas should not forget what the old Las Vegas offered: Fun at a value.
With or without the maître d’.