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The Free Ride Is Over At Some Downtown Casinos

Where: 89101
February 26, 2014 at 12:15 PM | by | ()

When guests visit Vegas, one of the things they are frequently surprised by is the abundance of free parking. In cities like New York and LA where parking is a premium, it is just added in to the cost of a night out. In Las Vegas, where casinos are eager to take your money in other ways, parking on The Strip and downtown is largely free.

With the Zapposification/downtown revival, aided in large part by new dining opportunities and The Container Park, many venues are seeking to charge for parking now.

In recent months, a locals’ favorite downtown parking spot known to many as the “El Cortez free lot” has been trying to charge “event parking” fees. This seems somewhat reasonable on say, First Friday, but when they’re charging on a random Tuesday night when there isn’t even a single concert going on at downtown bars, it seems unfair to charge for “event parking” when the only event going on is panhandling in the alleys. The fee is supposedly waived if guests have an El Cortez players card.

And now, VegasChatter reader Thorn777 tells us that Main Street Station and The California have changed their parking policies. According to their websites, guests will now have to pay $3 Sunday through Thursday and $5 Friday and Saturday at all public parking areas at these two casinos.

The fee is waived for Sapphire and Emerald players club cardholders and gamblers who meet certain criteria. Ruby slot players must earn 50 base points to access a “Kiosk Free Parking Voucher” while Ruby table games players must have $5 average bets with half hour minimum of play to do the same. Both the paid parking receipt and kiosk voucher must be presented at the cage for reimbursement. Parking will also be reimbursed for all registered hotel guests and restaurant patrons with a same day receipt.

(PHOTO: Phillip C. on Foursquare)

Archived Comments:


Because charging for parking worked so well in Atlantic City.  

No more lunch stops

Guess it will be hard to come visit some of these places just to have lunch with a Parking Fee.

Binion's still free

Binion's still has their validation machine (well, for 3 hours free parking anyway).  That's always where I park.

Can't say as I blame them

As a fairly frequent guest at the El Cortez, I can tell you that the parking there has gotten almost impossible. It's swell that people don't want to pay for parking when they're going to Fremont East or the Container park, but I can certainly understand the casinos wanting to have parking for the people who actually stay and play there, rather than hipsters getting drunk elsewhere.

Binions 24 hours free

As mobycat mentioned above, Binion's has 3 hours of free parking with the validation machine by the cage.  But little known fact, you can also get 24 hours if you find a slot attendant and can get them to stamp the back of your parking ticket.  Stamp is also available at the pit or the poker room when you sit down to play. Just hand them your parking pass when they go to enter your players card, and they will stamp it for you...

other places with free parking...

I believe The D and Golden Nugget both have 2-3 hours free parking with validation...

Gotta tellya, I don't blame them

too many people trying to put one over on the casinos, using free parking to go to Commonwealth, et al.

Let the hipsters pay. Funny, if 18 dollar cocktails are ok, you'd think that paying for parking would be too...

Why no lunch stops?

Mobycat, why no more lunch stops? Says parking will be validated at these casinos with a same day receipt from restaurants. Unless you're parking there to go to another property for lunch and if that's the case they have curbed the behavior they intended to curve.


Sorry mobycat that was krafte1 that said no more lunch stops. I must have just liked saying your name, it rolls off the tongue lol.


Thanks for the tip for getting free parking at Binions. I usually go there several times on my vacations for poker room.

Just valet...

I always valet when I will be downtown for more than 3 hours (as mentioned above, you get 3 free hours). Usually valet parking is a tip in and one out, $2 in $2 out, $4 total and I just have to wait 1 or 2 minutes.

Player's card

Just go into the El Cortez and sign up for their player's card, keep it in your car, and never pay for parking again. It's that simple. I work downtown and I park at the El Cortez for free every single day. The El Cortez is covered, guarded, and is watched over by friendly good people. This is not a big deal, it just rewards those of us who can analyze.


One of the reasons I don't go downtown is the pay parking thing, or having to get validated. It's just one of those things that I don't want to deal with on vacation, particularly when a couple miles down the road the entire Strip is free parking.

Carl D is the reason

the casinos are cracking down. A lot of businesses downtown don't have parking for their employees so the employees, like Carl, park at the casinos while they go to work, leaving little space for patrons.

Then, casinos use validation schemes, and then everyone complains. Don't blame the casinos, blame the people like Carl.


I was a the main street station on Monday and a employee told me that since Zappos moved there headquarters downtown many of its employees have been using the MSS parking lot. This new policy is to discourage the Zappos employees from using the CAL and MSS lot


that's very odd zappos employees need to park down at main street considering they have 2 parking garages ATTACHED to their facility...


Sorry my comment about Zappos employees was incorrect.The employees that are using the Cal and Main Street Station parking lot are from The Downtown Grand.