Caesars Entertainment hikes resort fees at Vegas hotels

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The resort fee at the Caesars Palace Las Vegas will rise to $35.
The resort fee at the Caesars Palace Las Vegas will rise to $35.

Caesars Entertainment on March 1 will raise resort fees at Las Vegas hotels, saying that the increase will bring those charges in line with competitors Las Vegas Sands, MGM Resorts and Wynn Resorts.

Daily resort fees at Caesars Palace (which includes the Nobu Hotel), The Cromwell, Paris Las Vegas and Planet Hollywood will rise by $3, to $35. The resort fee at Bally's, Flamingo Las Vegas, Harrah's, the Linq and Rio will rise by $1, to $30. In addition, the resort fee is subject to Las Vegas' hotel room tax.

Caesars says resort fees allow for the inclusion of two daily passes for the fitness center, in-room WiFi for two devices and local calls.

"We are implementing resort fee increases at our Las Vegas resorts, having added premium WiFi service to covered amenities, bringing those fees in line with competition," Caesars said in a statement.

At $35 a night, Caesars Entertainment's hotels with the highest resort fees are in line with fees charged at the Bellagio and the Wynn Las Vegas, and less than the $39 charged by the Venetian.

Consumer advocates have argued that resort fees are hidden charges for guests unaware of them, and that guests who are aware of the charges must take an extra step to calculate true room rates.

In January, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released a report estimating that U.S. resort fees surged 35% in 2015 to about $2 billion. Last year, an NYU School of Professional Studies report pegged 2015 U.S. resort fees at a record $2.55 billion, an 82% surge from a decade earlier.

With that in mind, U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) last March proposed a bill mandating that hotels include resort fees and all other mandatory charges in the publication of their room rates. She said at the time that the FTC should have authority to enforce full publication of charges or take civil action to hotel operators that fail to do so. 

Last year, Caesars Entertainment's room revenue rose 5.1%, to $923 million. Las Vegas in 2016 set a city record for the second straight year, drawing 42.9 million visitors, according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. Hotel occupancy on the Las Vegas Strip advanced 1.1 percentage points to 90.1%, while Strip room rates rose 4.5% to almost $136 a night.

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