Atlantic City has remained one of the most popular casino destinations for decades. It offers plenty of lavish resorts, numerous casino games, and many side entertainment opportunities.
People will continue visiting this East Coast gambling mecca into the foreseeable future. However, some visitors are becoming disillusioned with resort fees.
What exactly are resort fees and why are they such a bummer during gambling trips? I’ll answer these questions and more in this Atlantic city resort fees guide.
What Are Atlantic City Resort Fees?
When you book a hotel room, you may think that you’re only paying for the booking cost. However, most resorts in Atlantic City and beyond tack on an additional charge when you check out.
These charges represent constitute the resort fee. This additional fee can be worth anywhere from 20% to 50% of the original booking cost.
You may feel taken advantage of when it comes to resort fees. Unfortunately, Atlantic City casino resorts fully expect you to cover them.
Why Do Atlantic City Casinos Expect You to Pay These Fees?
AC hotels don’t feel like they’re bilking you for more money through resort fees. Instead, they feel entitled to this money due to the extra services that they’re providing beyond just a room.
These amenities can be anything from a luxurious spa trip to simple services, such as an airport shuttle. You can see common Atlantic City amenities below.
- Business center
- Concierge service
- Discounted show tickets
- Fitness center
- Free cable television
- Free valet or self-parking
- In-room coffee
- Laundry room access
- Mini refrigerator (items inside cost extra)
- Swimming pool access
A hotel could theoretically charge you for each of the services individually. Instead, they bundle each item into a single resort fee.
Casinos see themselves as doing you a favor by bundling these charges. Of course, you might feel differently upon seeing these extra costs on your final bill.
Are Casinos Breaking the Law By Charging These Fees?
Atlantic City hotels aren’t coming from a good place when they demand resort fees. Instead, they require these charges after the fact to make booking costs look cheaper.
You might think that this practice is completely illegal. Unfortunately, AC casinos aren’t violating any laws as long as they disclose the fees in their terms and conditions.
For example, a casino may note that the booking cost “doesn’t include resort fees.” They might even cover these costs more extensively in their terms and conditions.
Gambling resorts are perfectly within their right to add extra charges as long as they disclose them somewhere in the billing agreement. But they’re not appealing to customers when doing so.
According to research from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the hotel industry is hurting themselves. The FTC notes that “separating mandatory resort fees from posted room rates” can “harm consumers.”
The commission recommends that hotels “include [resort fees] in the advertised price.” Unfortunately, the industry continues defying this advice and featuring resort fees separately.
What Does the Average Atlantic City Resort Fee Cost?
The average AC casino doesn’t charge as high of resort fees as Las Vegas casinos. Nevertheless, some do require fees worth up to $27.
At the time of writing, here’s a list of resort fees for each Atlantic City casino and a few other hotels:
- Bally’s – $27
- Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa – $17
- Caesars – $27
- Hard Rock – $17
- Harrah’s Resort – $27
- Marriott Courtyard – $1
- Ocean Resort Casino – $23
- Resort Casino Hotel – $17
- Showboat Hotel – $15
- The Claridge (Radisson) – $18
- Water Club – $15
- Tropicana – $25
Various websites track Atlantic City resort fees. You can use these sites to find out how much you’ll pay at any given time.
Do Any Atlantic City Resorts Not Charge These Fees?
Unfortunately, every Atlantic City casino requires a resort fee. They’ve all hopped on this hospitality industry trend that dates back as far as the late 1990s.
As you can see, though, not all resort fees are the same. Some AC casinos are more reasonable about these charges.
If you’re looking to pay the lowest resort cost possible, you should definitely review several websites that track this information.
Should You Be Okay With AC Resort Fees?
You shouldn’t accept resort fees as the status quo. AC casinos are being deceitful by not including such charges in the original booking cost.
On the other hand, you can’t do much about the matter either. Atlantic City isn’t the only tourist destination that’s embraced these charges.
Everywhere from Virginia Beach to Venice Beach treats these fees as the norm. Hotels across the US and many other parts of the world are adapting to what’s now become standard in hospitality.
What’s more, every Atlantic City resort that tacks on these charges expects you to pay them. You can’t just say, “Oh, I didn’t know I had to pay a resort fee,” and expect it to be dropped.
However, you do have some say in the matter. The easiest route when planning your Atlantic City trip is to choose hotels that don’t require resort fees or, more realistically, don’t demand high fees. You can also use the tips that I’m going to discuss in the next section.
5 Tips for Getting Atlantic City Resort Fees Reduced
AC Resort fees aren’t always set in stone. You may be able to reduce your fee through one or more of the five tips covered below.
1 – Call Ahead and Negotiate the Resort Fee
Odds are, you aren’t going to use every amenity that a casino provides. But resorts still include each amenity that they offer in the resort charge.
Perhaps you can’t swim or don’t like coffee. In these cases, you won’t be using the swimming pool or drinking the in-room coffee packets.
You can use non-essential amenities as negotiating points to lower your resort fee. A simple call to the casino before your stay could help reduce the cost.
2 – Book Your Room With Loyalty Points
You should always join the loyalty program whenever staying at a new Atlantic City resort. These programs let you earn casino comps no matter if you’re gambling, shopping, or just booking a hotel room.
Casinos see these stays as VIP rewards. They typically drop the resort fee so that your room is completely free for the night(s).
Beyond getting resort fees waived, you can also take advantage of a number of other rewards through these programs. That said, you’ll definitely benefit by joining an Atlantic City casino’s loyalty plan.
3 – Complain About Nonworking Amenities
You’ve undoubtedly experienced lackluster amenities at some point if you stay in Atlantic City enough. When things don’t work right, you need to let the casino know about it.
After all, they’re charging you for each service they provide in some way or another. They shouldn’t get off with requiring the full resort fee when they close the swimming pool early or have a weak Wi-Fi connection.
You may be able to get a reduced fee by complaining. At the very least, the casino could offer you a meal or another freebie.
4 – Stay at Casinos and Hotels With Cheaper Fees
Atlantic City resort fees are a fact of life now. You won’t always be able to get these charges reduced or waived.
However, you can always control where you stay. If you hate these fees more than anything, you should seek out AC hotels that either don’t require resort charges or feature lower ones than the competition.
You can refer to the list provided earlier as a guideline. Even better, you should jump on Google and spend five to 10 minutes doing research in this area.
5 – Become a “Hosted” Gambler
As mentioned before, you can accumulate loyalty points through gambling at Atlantic City casinos. At the least, you can pick up some free drinks or even the buffet voucher.
If you gamble enough, then a casino host will take an interest in you. A host works for a casino, or at least as an affiliate, and looks for notable gamblers.
After becoming hosted, you work with the host to tailor VIP rewards to your liking. Whether you want show tickets or resort fees waived, the host can potentially make it happen.
Resort fees aren’t going away in Atlantic City anytime soon. They’ll also keep increasing over the years along with inflation.
Luckily, though, you have some options for finding cheaper fees. Certain AC casinos and hotels charge lower fees than the competition.
When you have problems with and/or flat-out don’t use certain amenities, you can negotiate with the casino for reduced fees. Many Atlantic City gambling resorts are willing to work with you under reasonable circumstances.