Taxation, Las Vegas Style

Las Vegas is already charging resort fees, just another name for a tax. What if we charged a few other taxes that most visitors would not notice, asks Ira David Sternberg?

Taxation, Las Vegas Style

Yes, this will be a taxing column, so bear with me. It’s time to talk about one of the two things that are certain in life (the other not being that thrilling, either). Taxes are everywhere, and people in Las Vegas are no different than taxpayers across the country. And, Las Vegas already levies live entertainment, food and beverage taxes… plus a ding on your hotel stay as well.

Las Vegas is unique, so there might be additional taxes for locals and visitors that our creative people could generate. Are these coming down the pike… or up the Strip?

—Most people know about the history of the onerous poll tax. With a slight change of spelling, we could see a pole tax at gentlemens’ clubs throughout Las Vegas.

—The opposite of the poll tax is the pull tax. Perfect for Las Vegas. While only a few slot machines with handles still exist, there could be a tax whenever you pull the handle. And for modern slot machines with buttons, a push tax, of course.

—Cirque tax: If you decide to skip any of the ubiquitous Cirque du Soleil shows on the Las Vegas Strip, you would still have to pay a Cirque tax. You won’t be able to escape it. Unless you’re an acrobat.

—Elvis tax: This revenue idea would be a classic. Whether you want to dress up as Elvis, perform as Elvis, or simply want to see an Elvis, there would be a tax. Don’t be all shook up!

—Reverse tax: A unique concept, since many people don’t succeed at slots, blackjack or craps. Instead, you would get taxed on your losses. In other words, double craps.

—Shrimp Cocktail tax:  Shrimp cocktails (the kind that used to be 99 cents) are not as readily available as they used to be, so this would be considered a rarity tax. But not a jumbo one.

—Residency tax. Not a tax on where you’re staying in Las Vegas, but a tax for watching any performer who has a residency on the Strip. And double the money when the performer is taxed as well!

—Room With a View tax. Typically, rooms with a view are more expensive in hotels. So why not tax guests for the privilege as well? To be fair, the tax would be prorated, based on how clean the windows are.

So far, these taxes have not been proposed for the Entertainment Capital of the world.  But always keep in mind the words of the late President George H.W. Bush, who possibly said, “Read my lips: No new taxes for Las Vegas!”

Articles by Author: Ira David Sternberg

Ira David Sternberg is host of “Talk About Las Vegas With Ira,” a weekly podcast that features engaging conversations with celebrities, entertainers, writers, and personalities. He is a veteran casino publicist with executive experience at the Tropicana and Las Vegas Hilton, as well as a writer and broadcaster. Listen to Ira’s weekly shows at He can be reached at