Atlantic City Casinos’ Free Parking No More
Atlantic City, once known for its complimentary parking at its seafront casino resorts, no longer has free parking at any of its nine New Jersey brick & mortar casino resorts.
As of September 1, no casinos in the city offer free self-parking for all visitors. The last holdout, Golden Nugget Atlantic City, quietly dropped standard free parking at the end of August.
While most casinos will waive parking fees after guests spend a certain amount, and many casino rewards members get their parking fees refunded, the new rates might still cause hassle for potential visitors.
This follows a trend from the biggest U.S. casino destination, Las Vegas. Casinos in Sin City were known for offering free valet parking as a luxury extra for many years. However, now, many of the Las Vegas Strip’s biggest resorts have cut down on the practice.
This summer, the Venetian and the Palazzo Resorts joined operators like MGM and Caesars in ending free parking as standard at its casinos.
The Changing Landscape of Casino Parking
Historically, free valet and self-parking were standard in Las Vegas and Atlantic City.
However, MGM Resorts initiated the trend of eliminating free parking in Las Vegas in 2016, with Caesars Entertainment following suit.
In Atlantic City, however, casinos don’t have as much choice in the matter.
That’s because the state of New Jersey levies a $3 per day charge for each parking space occupied by casino patrons.
Of this, $2.50 goes to the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA), which facilitates economic and community development in Atlantic City. The remaining $0.50 is deposited into the state’s Casino Revenue Fund, intended to benefit senior citizens and disabled residents.
In the 2023 fiscal year, parking fees amounted to more than $18.6 million. However, this is a decline from previous years, with parking fees totaling $37.3 million in 2007.
Casinos say this decline in visitors, without a reduced parking fee, means they have to recoup some of that money back.
Many guests still get comped parking by spending certain amounts inside the casino resorts.
The Golden Nugget Atlantic City, the city’s smallest by monthly revenue and the last AC casino to offer free parking, rolled out its new system in mid-August.
This system uses license plate recognition technology and a mobile QR code, linked to a digital payment processor and the casino’s player rewards card program.
The base price for parking at the Marina District casino is now $10. But guests can have this fee waived by spending a certain amount on gambling, dining, or shopping.
Laws and Workarounds
Despite their being not a single Atlantic City casino resort offering free parking right now, the state’s involvement does mean guests can still get good deals.
The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement wants players to try out multiple casinos in one day – so, to promote that, one parking ticket is valid for 24 hours at a second casino parking lot.
That means savvy budget-watching visitors could rock up to the cheapest casino parking lot in town, say the MGM Borgata’s $5 outdoor parking, and then head to their casino destination of choice with a free parking ticket in hand.
When some operators charge $25 to $30 for a day for parking, players driving into the casinos from outside over a weekend could save a hundred dollars or more.
On the other hand, in Las Vegas, some casinos, such as Wynn Resorts, do still offer free parking as standard for any guest, but spaces are competitive.