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Atlantic City Drivers Get Hilton Comps

3 April 2002

ATLANTIC CITY, New Jersey—As reported by the Associated Press: "…Atlantic City Expressway motorists who paid their $2 toll in cash Tuesday got $5 back in casino comps.

"The unusual giveaway, which is scheduled to continue today at the Egg Harbor toll plaza, involves a coupon for $5 in food discounts at the Atlantic City Hilton Casino Resort.

"Hilton officials and the South Jersey Transportation Authority conceived the coupon as a way of warning motorists of road construction that has temporarily shut down the expressway's Exit 2, the principal route to the Hilton.

"But the coupon makes no mention of the Exit 2 closure or of any construction. On the back, it includes a small street map showing the way to the Hilton, but lacks any text explaining that this is supposed to be an alternate route for Exit 2.

"…James A. Crawford, executive director of the South Jersey Transportation Authority, the expressway operator, said he was surprised there was no mention of Exit 2 on the coupon. However, he insisted that the Hilton hasn't exploited the expressway for promotional purposes because the coupon does include a street map to aid drivers.

"…Leonard M. DeAngelo, Hilton president, said the coupon originally wasn't supposed to be a promotion. But casino executives later put on their `marketing cap' and decided to combine a promotion with a warning about Exit 2's closure, he said.

"…DeAngelo said the Hilton was forced to move quickly to get the coupon printed because of Exit 2's abrupt closure. He also noted that the casino changed some of its billboards and sent out mailings to tell patrons that Exit 2 would not be available.

"…The Hilton comps may be unprecedented. Crawford couldn't recall another time in the expressway's history when a casino's promotional material was handed out at toll plazas…"

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