If I gave them the benefit of the doubt, perhaps it was strategic: price it high enough to limit the strain on their wireless network, but then similarly not so high that those who would actually use it and need it to be reliable are screwed over. Then sod off anyone who didn't like it. Not that I'd expect them to actually come out and say something like that.
Except it did go down. It completely collapsed under the load.
I understand the need and that if everyone brought their own hotspot that it would be completely useless. But that's not the way to do it. At $200, it sounds like gouging - especially when you consider they actually did active scans for unauthorized WiFi and escorted people out.
The problem is many - first, the price appeared to be gouging. Second, active WiFi scanning - granted, they didn't jam (which was what got the hotels in trouble) but escorted you off the premises so it was technically legal. Third, they could've offered suggestions that people use hard wire (USB) tethers or built-in WWAN modems to achieve connectivity instead of WiFI Most of the people there would be using tablets, laptops, etc, many models of which have WWAN capability either built-in through USB dongles. Or a USB cable to their phones (practically all smartphones allow USB tethering)
Because right now, it appears to be gouging. Which is why the FCC is irked. I'm sure if they simply suggested other methods, politely asked anyone using WiFi to turn it off and use non-WiFi methods, etc.
Yes, a lot of wifi causes problems - Apple has had problems during their keynotes because everyone had their hotspots on, but there are many ways it can be handled without it seeming like pure greed.