Here’s Why Hip Flasks Are Becoming a Necessity in Vegas

If you’ve been to Las Vegas, and we’re pretty sure you have, you’d know that one of the perks of spending time in casinos and sports bars is the free drinks.

It’s a long-standing tradition that goes back to its founding days. You need booze to oil the Vegas machine. The liquor simply helps you accept the painful truth that “the house always wins” and still keep on playing.

Now we’re not pointing any fingers at the casinos or implying that they’re intentionally getting folks sauced to fog their better judgment, but let’s just say that losing money is much easier after a few pints of beer.

Why Are We Talking About This?

This very tradition is being challenged. Apparently some of the major casinos have been looking at their profit sheets a bit too closely and decided that the billions they make aren’t quite enough. Their most recent attempt at maximizing profits are hitting at Vegas’ soft belly – the comp drinks.

This is what’s happening right now: if you want free drinks you need to shell out enough dough. What’s considered enough? You’ll need to spend your drinks worth, at least.

As the LA Times reported, Caesars Entertainment and MGM Resorts are trying out different methods to track how the spending habits of consumers on casino games in order to serve them drinks based on their spending.

For now, this practice is being tested on video poker machines only. With these machines you can track exactly how much each player is spending per session. When technology catches up, we can assume that blackjack and poker tables are next in line.

How the Drinks Policy Works

Caesars installed indicator lights on the back of video poker machines. Players need to wager a certain amount in order for the green light to flash, indicating they earned their right for a free cocktail.

image by John Schnobrich

MGM is taking a different approach: machines will print out a free drink voucher for players who clocked a certain amount of play time. To MGM’s credit, the first voucher is printed as soon as a player puts money into the machine.
How much is a “certain amount” of money, or time isn’t revealed by the casino operators.

Why We Dislike This Policy

The policy is like giving tax breaks to the rich. Let’s break this down.
The high rollers who come to Vegas don’t actually need free drinks. They come to spend big chunks of cash, and they are being treated to tons of perks from the casinos as it is; they get to stay for free at amazing suits, they get free tickets to the best shows in town and really, the last thing they care about is a free gin and tonic.

The common folk, the ones that need to save (or even take a loan) in order to go on a trip to Vegas, can’t even afford to stay on the Strip. They still come to gamble in the big casinos, yet they don’t get the perks of a free gin and tonic.

This policy is completely crooked (no pun intended, Hillary), and as we said before, it’s like giving tax breaks to the top earners. With taxes, the usual excuse has something to do with “job creators” – can someone tell us what is the excuse the big casinos are using for this drinks policy? Are the high rollers being excused as “mood creators” or something?

So What Are We Going to Do About It?

Simple as apple pie – we’ll bring our cool hip flasks with us to Vegas. Here’s the plan. When arriving to Vegas, before checking in even, stop at the liquor store and do some shopping. Take the bottles with you to the hotel room and fill up your hip flasks for every time you venture into a different casino hall.

image by Tom Sodoge

Truth be told that 6oz isn’t the ideal amount of booze; it’s somewhat on the low side of things. But there’s a simple solution for that as well – carry two or three flasks if you dare.

We’re not going to let the tyranny of the mega casinos prevents us from GUI – gambling under the influence. We will not succumb to such changes of world orders of this magnitude. What would Sinatra say is he was asked to pay for his drink ‘cause he didn’t lose enough money on the roulette? Even though Sinatra was a gentleman, we’re sure Sammy Davis Jr. would have a fit and give ‘em a piece of his mind.

By the way, just throwing it out there, the Rat Pack were famous for their flasks.

We’ll Say It Again – Flasks to The People

Going back to the master plan: refill, refill, and refill. Let’s put it on the green felt table. It will require some back and forth to the room, but life stopped being perfect a while back if you haven’t noticed. That’s why those three flasks could come in handy.

A word of warning: you don’t want to take out a flask in the middle of a casino and have a swig; that’s like bringing your own shrimp cocktail to a golf club. You want to be discreet about it, otherwise a refrigerator-sized man in a suit will escort you out of the casino.

Maybe some other time we’ll go over the various moves for discreet swigs, but for now let’s just leave it as this – there’s a bathroom, there’s a lobby, there’s a sidewalk just outside the doors.


*Header image by James Walsh