MGM Resorts outsourcing Strip parking to Chicago-based firm

LAS VEGAS (AP) — The Las Vegas Strip casino company that announced last month it'll begin charging for parking said Tuesday it's handing the keys to the program to a Chicago-based firm.

SP Plus Corp. will handle paid parking at all non-union MGM Resorts International properties, including Mandalay Bay, Delano, Monte Carlo, New York-New York, Vdara, Aria, Bellagio, The Mirage and MGM Grand, the company said.

Valets were told during an afternoon employees' meeting that SP Plus will hire MGM Resorts' approximately 400 non-union parking service workers, and that they'll keep their pay, seniority, time off and health benefits.

Teamsters Union valet employees at Luxor, Excalibur and Circus Circus won't immediately be transferred to SP Plus, pending negotiations with union leaders, according to a company statement.

Corey Sanders, MGM Resorts International's chief financial officer, said publicly-traded SP Plus has experience handling paid parking that the publicly-traded casino company does not. "We determined the best-practice operation of our enhanced parking facilities required an expert hand," Sanders said in the statement.

The SP Plus contract is part of a $90 million parking upgrade that breaks with the long-cherished tradition of free parking on the Las Vegas Strip. Other casino owners have not yet said they'll follow suit.

SP Plus executive Robert M. Toy called Las Vegas a prestigious location for the company that employs 22,000 people and operates more than 2 million parking spaces at 3,900 parking facilities in North America. Its website lists 72 cities and counties around the U.S. including New York, Boston, New Orleans, Honolulu, Atlanta, Oklahoma City and Miami.

Tuesday's statement said the changeover to SP Plus will take place within 60 days — coinciding with the April opening of MGM Resorts' new 20,000 T-Mobile Arena.

MGM Resorts has promised to make $36 million in upgrades to existing parking facilities and build a 3,000-space parking garage near the Excalibur, off Tropicana Avenue and Interstate 15, not far from T-Mobile Arena.

MGM Mirage is the largest hotel-casino operator in Las Vegas, with more than 35,000 rooms and about 37,000 parking spots at various parking facilities on the Strip.

Parking fees are expected to be up to $10 for overnight self-parking at most company Strip properties. Participants in MGM Resorts loyalty programs may earn free parking rewards.

Valet parking will cost more, but officials have said some parking at the Circus Circus hotel and the Crystals and Mandalay Bay Place shopping centers will still be free, as will parking at MGM's properties in Mississippi, Michigan and China.