Pay Attention, As Last Atlantic City Casino Eliminates Free Self-Parking

Written By David Danzis on August 31, 2023
parking sign at golden nugget atlantic city

The days of no-strings-attached free parking at Atlantic City casinos are officially over, as the last of the resort’s gambling parlors has done away with the practice in favor of a pay-or-earn setup.

Golden Nugget Atlantic City rolled out its new parking system in mid-August. The self-park garage now features license plate recognition technology at the entrance and exit, which works with a mobile QR code, a digital payment processor and the casino’s player rewards card program.

Get ready to pay for parking at Golden Nugget AC

The base price for parking at the Marina District casino is now $10. Guests can get their parking validated by gambling, dining or shopping above a certain amount.

Parking validation requires scanning the QR code, providing a phone and license plate number, and visiting the 24K Select Club desk or cashier’s cage on the casino floor.

High-tier rewards card holders, hotel guests, active duty military and veterans do not have to pay for parking, but validation for the latter groups is needed.

Golden Nugget AC is owned and operated by billionaire Tilman Fertitta. The Houston-based businessman acquired the property in 2011.

Other AC casinos have changed parking policies

Most of the Boardwalk casinos change self-parking prices to reflect demand, as does Harrah’s Resort AC in the Marina District. Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa has a set price of $5 for self-parking.

Atlantic City casinos pay the state a set amount for each vehicle that enters their parking structures. According to state law, AC casinos pay $3 per day on each occupied parking space, of which $0.50 goes to the Casino Revenue Fund and $2.50 is sent to the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority.

Between 2017 and 2022, casino parking fees have generated nearly $115 million in revenue, according to the NJ Division of Gaming Enforcement. Over that time (excluding 2020 because AC casinos were closed for more than 100 days), parking fee revenue has generated roughly $20.5 million on average each year.

Golden Nugget not as great as competition in terms of revenue

The Nugget is AC’s smallest casino hotel and is regarded as a locals’ haunt, due in no small part to being the only game in town that did not charge for parking.

Through the first seven months of 2023, Golden Nugget has reported slightly more than $86 million in Atlantic City casino revenue from in-person gamblers. That figure is the lowest among AC’s nine casinos and a 2.4% decline from the same period last year.

GNAC has the city’s lowest hotel occupancy rate in 2023 (50.3%) and average rate for a hotel room ($118.97), according to the NJDGE.

Golden Nugget Atlantic City has reported just over $12.5 million in gross operating profit in the first half of this year.

Photo by David Danzis / PlayNJ
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David Danzis

David Danzis is the lead writer for PlayNJ. He is a New Jersey native and honors graduate of Rutgers University. As a newspaper reporter for the New Jersey Herald and Press of Atlantic City, David earned statewide awards for his coverage of politics, government, education, sports, and business. Today, he is PlayNJ’s Atlantic City “insider” and gaming industry expert on casinos, sports betting, and online gambling. David lives in Atlantic County, NJ with his wife and two children.

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