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Atlantic City Casino Gimmick Hits Dead End

4 April 2002

ATLANTIC CITY, New Jersey – As reported by the Press of Atlantic City: "Atlantic City Expressway officials abruptly ended a promotions gimmick that was supposed to be a public service for drivers but actually proved to be a publicity coup for a casino.

"Expressway motorists who paid their $2 toll in cash this week were given a coupon good for $5 in comps at the Atlantic City Hilton Casino Resort.

"The giveaway originally was intended as a way to warn drivers of road construction that has temporarily closed the expressway's Exit 2, the main route to the Hilton.

"But the coupon failed to mention Exit 2 or the construction, although it did prominently display a picture of the Hilton, as well as the words `$5 comp.'

"The South Jersey Transportation Authority, the expressway operator, canceled the promotion Tuesday night after realizing it was more of a benefit to the Hilton than to drivers. The authority executive who supervised the program said he had neglected to scrutinize the coupon to make sure it had information about Exit 2's closure.

"…Hilton's staff designed the coupon but gave it to the authority for final review before it was distributed to drivers at the expressway's Egg Harbor toll plaza. Lawson said he told the Hilton to make the coupon smaller so it would be easier for toll collectors to handle.

"However, during last-minute revisions to shrink the coupon, text that had informed motorists about Exit 2's closure was deleted. All that was left on the back of the coupon was a small street map that showed the way to the Hilton, but failed to explain that it was the alternate route for Exit 2.

"…Although the coupons no longer are being handed out at the toll plaza, they still are available to the public at the expressway's Farley service plaza near Hammonton and at the Atlantic City visitors center on the expressway just outside the city…"

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