Atlantic City Offers “Free” Blake Shelton Concert, Garages Charge $50 for Parking

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Oh, Atlantic City: You are never going to learn, are you?

Last evening, country music star Blake Shelton offered what was billed as a “free concert” between Caesars Pier and Central Pier. The catch? Local casinos, including Bally’s and Caesars (the two closest to the concert and, arguably, the logical choice for most concert attendees), charged a steep $50 to park in their lots. The normal price? $5.

The Atlantic City Alliance, producer of the event, anticipated over 60,000 attendees to hear Shelton rock out along the Atlantic Ocean. One could argue that the steep parking rates made the concert anything but “free.”

According Jeff Guaracino, Chief Strategy Officer at Atlantic City Alliance, “The casinos set their own parking fees,” adding that there was “plenty of city parking all around with great deals and not one complaint. And how much do Philly and NYC parking lots charge?”

(In Philly, such special event rates are illegal thanks to a law which requires parking garage operators to post prices at the start of each month and stick to them for the duration of the month.)

Guaracino advises that “We put out a parking map on our website in the days leading up to the concert with lots of parking options outside of the casinos.” [View that map here.] He adds that people attending Sunday’s free Lady Antebellum concert might arrive early “to take advantage of lower cost parking options and make it a day at the beach.”

For a city that’s had a bummer of a summer, this latest wrinkle shows that those who DoAC need to have deep wallets … or opt for public transportation.