Earlier today, I wrote about how you can status match your way around Atlantic City right now and also (potentially) pick up some free Hyatt elite qualifying nights in Las Vegas / Atlantic City (See: Why it might make sense to roll the dice on status matching). I noted that for those within driving distance, it might be worth a mattress run. For those within the distance of a bus ride of Atlantic City, you might not even need to make it a mattress run.
I haven’t been to Atlantic City in years, but I remember from my younger days that they used to offer a rebate at many casinos for showing up by bus. At the time, I think the bus might have been something like $30 round trip from New York and I had heard that some casinos would give you a $20 slot play card on arrival. I can’t actually recall if I had read ahead of time that they sometimes hand out cash instead, but I remember that on arrival, the casino greeter actually handed out $20 bills to everyone that got off the bus at whichever casino I had settled on. That was probably where the #winning ended, but it made it sting a bit less anyway.
Since I know that there are enough people in the New York-NewJersey-Philadelphia-DC/Northern VA area within a bus ride’s distance of Atlantic City, I figured I’d take a look to see if anything similar still existed. Sure enough it seems as though it does (though I wouldn’t get your hopes up for a $20 bill). Here are some options I found for those of you within a day’s trip of AC:
I can’t find anything on the Greyhound site indicating that these trips come with the slot free play, but I read reviews in a number of places that suggest they still do. I highly recommend reading this Yelp review as it has a lot of the key info. Note that review is nearly a year old, so I’m not sure it’s got all of the most current information, but it seems to match my recollection more or less.
Starr Tours offers round trip rides from Ewing, Mercerville, Hamilton, Bordentown, and Southhampton on Fridays and Saturdays. You need to make a same-day round trip to be guaranteed a seat on the home journey, which makes this perfect for those who just want to status match their way around AC without spending the night.
Klein Transportation runs round trips on Sundays (and also on Wednesdays during the summer months) from Shillington, Douglassville, Royersford, and Audubon. All of these are more expensive than Greyhound out of Philadelphia, but I can’t find info as to whether or not Greyhound trips out of Philly come with slot play.
Superior Tours runs these buses on Sundays and a handful of holidays from Pikesville, Towson, and Joppa, MD.
This is a day trip that goes every Saturday (arrives back in the Hampton/Virginia Beach area around 8am on Sunday).
I suggest that you do your own research on each of those companies and their schedules / policies as I just briefly glanced at each. Free slot play is usually on a card that you put into the machine. You can’t cash out the starting value, but if you get up over the starting value you can cash out whatever amount above the starting value you have. Don’t look at it as a rebate — look at it as a potential 30min-1hr of entertainment that you get for free with your bus ticket. Still, it’s not a bad deal – especially if your main objective is to get to AC and take care of the status matches to use free nights on a future trip. If you don’t want to spend all day in the casinos, head over to the Knife & Fork Inn for a meal.