Entrance Fee Was Charged At This Casino

Anyone who has been to Las Vegas knows that you don’t have to pay an entrance fee at casinos. However, there was one casino that at one time did exactly that. This, thankfully, was not an idea that caught on as has parking and resort fees have.

There was a time when there was an entrance fee charged to enter one particular casino? That casino is Circus Circus. Although it still stands today and doesn’t now charge an entrance fee, it once did. This story takes place about fifty years ago. It was when Circus Circus was new and needed to draw customers inside and make money. Getting people inside wasn’t the problem. Getting them to spend money was.

When Circus Circus opened it was a casino only. It didn’t have a hotel attached to it. Jay Sarno, who previously had created Caesars Palace, opened Circus Circus in 1968. It had an arcade with games for the kids, animals, and live circus acts, some right above the gamblers. This was certainly a distraction and attraction to both dealers and patrons.

The problem was that too many people came into Circus Circus, but didn’t gamble. They watched the free circus acts, let the kids play and left without spending much money. So Sarno, against good advice, decided to charge a $2 entrance fee. This caused multiple problems and issues.

A major fight arose between Circus Circus and local cab drivers. At that time, cab drivers were often paid with casino chips. This was accepted currency. The problem was that when the drivers went to cash in their chips, they were charged the $2 fee. Sarno’s idea failed and, thankfully, the $2 fee went to the wayside.

As far as we know, no other casino ever tried to charge an entrance fee. Hopefully, they won’t.

You can read more about the history of Circus Circus here.


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