The Only Casino To Charge An Entrance Fee
Likewise, only one casino in Vegas history has ever charged a fee to enter its doors. And this happened about fifty years ago. The casino is Circus Circus.
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 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, didn’t gamble, 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 this. Hopefully, they won’t. Maybe MGM’s parking fees won’t last either.