Free Parking at Casinos Could Go the Way of the Dodo Bird

Written by:
t c jackson
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It's a trend we are not liking at all.  Free parking at many of the nation's top casino spots appears to be switching over to a paid model.

Here in South Florida we are fortunate enough to still have the free parking at the Seminole Hard Rock Casino and the same is true for much of the Biloxi properties.

But in Vegas and Atlantic City, things are beginning to change.

It's not just the idea of having to pay to play.  Maybe some of us aren't the most tech savvy but figuring out parking these days can be a colossal pain in the ass.  Four out of every five recent parking experiences for this writer have not exactly gone smoothly.  Everything from kiosks unable to read tickets to being trapped in a closed garage.

I guess the answer might be to just stay home and play at one of my favorite online casino and not have to worry about remembering to extend the pay on the parking app.

Last Atlantic City Casino Eliminates Free Self-Parking

The Golden Nugget in Atlantic City finally caved to the whole pay-to-park scheme that all other casinos had already embraced.

Their garage will feature a license plate recognition system.  In other words, you will be billed later apparently.

Part of the problem in Atlantic City is that casinos already are responsible for tracking each parked car and paying $3 per vehicle to the state.

And what a scheme it is.

The New Jersey Casino Control Commission reported casino parking fees totaling over $18.6 million for the first half of 2023.

The AC parking system is a bit better than that of Vegas perhaps in that the New Jersey gambling town charges in-and-out fees as opposed to the 24-hour fee found in Vegas.

It's still going to cost you an arm and a leg.

Bally’s — $10 to $25

Borgata — $10

Caesars — $10 to $25

Golden Nugget — $10

Hard Rock — dependent on demand

Harrah’s — $10 to $20

Ocean — $15

Resorts — $10 to $20

Tropicana — $25 to $30

Say Goodbye to Free Parking in Vegas Too

MGM Resorts began the trend of eliminating complimentary valet and self-parking in Las Vegas back in 2016 and pretty much all the other casinos have followed suit.

At the Aria, Aria, self-parking Mon-Thurs for 1-4 hrs will cost $15 while 4-24 hrs is $18. Weekends (Fri-Sun) you'll be looking at an $5 extra per hour. NV residents get 3 hrs free parking. Valet Parking ranges between $35 to $40 daily depending on the day of the week and does not include tipping.  The Bellagio has similar rates.

The famed Points Guy points to some means of parking at Vegas casinos without having to pay fees.

Some hotels still offer free parking to guests and visitors.

Oh wait, his piece already became dated after about two months.

That's because two of the casinos the Points Guy mention are now about to start charging.

The Venetian properties announced they'll be ending free parking, if they haven't already.  Even hotel guests will now have to pay.

No Pay in PA

We've consulted with our own Thomas Somach who says he'd be less inclined to gamble at his beloved Wind Creek® Bethlehem Casino & Resort In Lehigh Valley if they were to start charging for parking.

The irony in Atlantic City charging for parking is that they've long realized PA casinos are stealing away customers.  That trend is sure to continue now that one can drive a reasonable distance and know they'll be saving $10 or more on parking.

For a value-focused gambler like Somach, the $10 parking fee is akin to having 10 percent shaved off a big gambling win.

"I'll just stay home and play exclusively on an app if paid parking ever becomes a thing," he tells us.

Wind Creek Bethlehem offers 3,300 parking spaces in their self-park garage and an additional 1,400 parking spaces on our surface lot.

Somach also knows he can play his favorite casino games from PA, including live dealer, from his favorite apps.  And he doesn't even have to bathe.

With mobile gambling exploding in the US, this might seem like an odd time for casinos to start charging for parking. 

- T.C. Jackson, Correspondent

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