As We See It

Money and matrimony: Local casinos and businesses capitalize on gay marriage legalization

Nevada state Sen. Kelvin Atkinson and Sherwood Howard Jr., are wed by district court judge Nancy Allf on the steps beside the Clark County Marriage License Bureau on Thursday, October 9, 2014. They are the first same-sex marriage to take place in Las Vegas.
Photo: L.E. Baskow

Almost as quickly as lesbian and gay couples began queuing up at the Clark County Marriage License Bureau on October 9, local casinos and business owners began devising promotions to capitalize on the newfound legalization of same-sex marriage in Nevada. Downtown wedding chapels such as Viva Las Vegas and Chapelle De L’Amour had all but strewn rose petals on their aisles by the time the Ninth Circuit Court of Judges issued its injunction against Nevada’s 12-year constitutional ban against gay marriage, the latter even beckoning couples with free ceremonies for the first 24 hours.

Now that Nevada has made history, it’s time to make money—a potential $50 million, according to economist projections, on top of the estimated $900 million the local wedding industry pulls in annually.

To no one’s surprise, the major casinos were among the first to play gay wedding planner. Two of the gaming industry’s perfect scorers on the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index—MGM Resorts International and Caesars Entertainment—had either announced or prepared LGBT-specific wedding promotions as of press time.

MGM’s Aria is marking the occasion by offering 20 percent off any wedding package and 10 percent off food and beverage packages to LGBT couples that book before the end of this year. (Luxor and Excalibur already offer a wedding package called Same Love, named after Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ pro-gay marriage hit single.)

Caesars has announced a 15 percent discount on ceremonies and vow-renewals at any of the wedding venues it operates or owns, including the new High Roller Observation Wheel (which adopted a rainbow-colored lighting scheme following the Ninth Circuit ruling). Other promos include free Wednesday admission for couples married at least one month at Liaison, Victor Drai’s LGBT nightclub at Bally’s.

JW Marriott Las Vegas Resort & Spa is getting in on the action as well, cutting $1,000 from its All-Inclusive wedding packages for LGBTQ ceremonies planned through March 2015, and $500 off those scheduled April through December.

Cheaper non-gaming alternatives exist at the Neon Museum—where gay couples can now stage an official wedding in the photogenic Neon Boneyard, starting at $450—and Rockhouse at the Venetian’s Grand Canal Shoppes, its $1,000 Pop-Up Wedding Package (complete with Fender Guitar Daiquiris, mechanical bull rides and the option to “beam in two out-of-town friends or family members” via a virtual tele-presence system) discounted to $750 until November 10.

You can even save on your rings. Tower of Jewels is offering half-off retail prices on matching bands to couples who mention marriage equality through the month. Who needs a June wedding when it clearly pays to seal the deal in October?

Tags: Opinion
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