Making the News

Press of Atlantic City

Originally Published:Sunday, July 3, 2011

While other states offer free parking, Atlantic City's casinos make you pay often more than the state-mandated $3

By Donald Wittkowski
Press of Atlantic City

"When the parking fee was first instituted, Atlantic City didn't have the competition. Now, the competitive landscape has changed," Michael Pollock, managing director of Spectrum Gaming Group, said of the proliferation of casinos in surrounding states in recent years.

Spectrum Gaming, a casino consulting firm based in Linwood, has suggested looking "at the bigger picture" to see whether the parking fee and other state costs imposed on the casino industry are needed. Pollock noted the dilemma of finding other sources of revenue if the parking fee is eliminated and the millions of dollars it generates annually are lost.

"Will you be able to make up those funds through increased visitation?" he said of the prospect of drawing more casino customers by not having a parking fee. "You have to weigh the cost versus the benefits. That's going to be a very difficult proposition."

"There's certainly a private-market ability to set your own parking fee. Yes, they turn it into a profit center," Pollock said.

Pollock added that casinos also charge more than $3 to discourage noncasino visitors, such as beachgoers, from monopolizing the parking spaces that normally would be used by gaming customers.

"Their primary motivation is to make sure that their customers aren't squeezed out," he said.

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