Will Revel Be a Monument to Atlantic City’s Broken Dreams?

Whatever happens next at the perpetually troubled casino will be bad news for a city that’s gotten too much of it.

Photo | Jen A. Miller

Photo | Jen A. Miller

On Thursday morning last week, I stepped onto the escalator from Revel’s lobby to head down to the Boardwalk. It was windy. I could tell not just because I could see dune grass blowing in the breeze, but because I could feel it — inside the building. The wind hit me in the face, and shook the sculptures hanging from the ceiling, which I had been told on my pre-opening tour of Revel weighed as much as a car — each.

That afternoon, Revel would file for bankruptcy for the second time since opening in 2012, attaching to it a threat to shut down by August 18th if it did not find a buyer. If that does happen, it’ll join Showboat, which will close in August, and the Atlantic Club, which closed in January  as boardwalk gambling ghosts.


A lot of things went wrong with Revel, mostly that it was a casino conceived at the peak of Atlantic City's gambling monopoly, and opened near the bottom. It came onto the market with far too much debt, and took an even greater risk in trying to place itself above the typical Atlantic City gambler by limiting the number of slot machines and banning smoking. Now, the $2.4 billion casino is on the verge of closing, taking a $260 million investment from the state of New Jersey with it.

So will it close? If I were a betting woman (which I am not, even though I had a nice trip to Revel), I'd say no. A second bankruptcy wipes even more debt off the books and makes it more attractive to a buyer, and Hard Rock has been circling. According to Hotel Chatter, the hotel was sold out last weekend, and was packed while I was there on a weekday — a weekday in the pre-season run-up to the Fourth of July weekend when they were charging double than what some of the casinos up the boardwalk were charging per night.

When I chatted with a group of convention goers at the Royal Jelly bar (where burlesque dancers preview the show they do inside their club) last Thursday night, they said they had no idea what was wrong with Revel and hoped it wouldn't close because it was the best and nicest casino option on the boardwalk. I agree with them, which is why I paid double to stay there versus a legacy casino. And when I left on Friday afternoon, the HQ Beach Club was packed solid with drunk New Yorkers in bikinis and board shorts dancing to EDM like it was 1 a.m.

Even with all this, Revel is not profitable, according to its lawyers, and in an interview with the Inquirer, Alan R. Woinski, chief executive of Gaming USA Corp., said, "the best thing that could have happened to that property is Hurricane Sandy, instead of nailing Seaside Heights, would have nailed that property. That thing should have wound up in the ocean instead of the roller coaster." He recommended the best fix was to knock it down and start over again, correcting things like a long walk from the casino lobby to the gambling floor, and empty spaces that make the property hard to heat and cool.

I'm guessing the wind tunnel was part of that problem, and parts of the hotel — like elevator lobbies — ran hot while I was there. My cab driver, an Atlantic City resident, said it was a nice place but he often got lost — that layout is a little bit goofy, but then again, so is the Tropicana's.

Atlantic City continues to fall. The Borgata won an $88 million tax refund from the city, and Resorts's tax assessment will drop by a third. Caesars has also challenged their tax assessment.

No matter the result, what happens to Revel is going to be bad news. If it sells for as little as $30 million, as some analysts predict, it's another sign that casinos really are dying in Atlantic City. And if it closes, it will remain as an empty monument to those big dreams that gambling would save a broken city.

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  • billmedicare

    This is easy to explain. JPMorgan invested 0ver 950 million into the casino and will lose all of it. I could care less about them , they deserve it. AS for the employees I feel sorry for them. The problem is that the casino industry is strangling itself. Over building and the fact that disposable income is at a all time low. It’s that simple. With so many people out of work , 10,000 baby boomers retiring a day for the next 15 years nobody has the money to waste anymore. Competition from other states and the high tax rates from the city not to mention the ghetto look of a c does not help. Dare a liberal do dispute this

    • DaynaGuiguipyt

      just before I looked at the receipt ov $8130 , I
      didn’t believe that my sister woz like actualy bringing in money part-time from
      there pretty old laptop. . there aunts neighbour has been doing this 4 only
      about 22 months and at present repayed the mortgage on their appartment and
      bought themselves a Chrysler . see here M­o­n­e­y­d­u­t­i­e­s­.­C­O­M­

    • Brigitte Luiz

      I am So happy and Glad to tell you people about this Powerful spell caster DR ARIBA that just cured and healed me and brother from HIV and Cancer with his Herbal medicine, i and my brother has been going for medication for several years only to cure this diseases but all seems in vain, i was confused and decided to surf through the Internet and i saw the wonderful deeds that DR ARIBA has been doing, i thought it was a joke, and when i contacted he proved to me that he herbal medicine is powerful and active, Today I am cured from my HIV and my brother is also cured from His Cancer, i am so so happy and i will like anyone suffering from any kind of illness should please contact him on his email on: draribaspelltemple@gmail.com or dr.aribaspelltemple@outlook.com ..

    • Guest

      it wasn’t JP Morgan, it was Morgan Stanley, and it was a 1 billion dollar investment, which they walked away from while Revel was under construction, which is why the construction was stalled. So that investment is already lost.

      • billmedicare

        Its the same damn company now loser!

        • Osito

          Morgan Stanley and JP Morgan are completely different companies.

  • AC Insider

    Caesars is unloading Showboat, buying Revel. They have the money to spend and need a newer property. Hardrock is rumored to purchase Showboat. There will be gambling eventually in the Meadow Lands and whoever owns a brick and mortar in AC will be able to go there.

    in 10 years, there will be 7 casinos left. The lucky ones will be Borgata, Harrahs, Golden Nugget, Caesars or Ballys , Tropicana, Revel, Taj Mahal. All the others will close.

    • billmedicare

      Your a total ahole

  • theuglypigeon

    well steve wynn was seen on site today, sure it wasnt or dinner at amada
    wynn would be best possible scenario hard rock a close second
    will get 240-280 mil at auction if it is those 2 just a hunch

    wonder now that revel said yes to union if the person who gave a laughable valuation of 30 mil has changed his tune

    #gamechanger
    signed
    an AC resident who knows revel or whatever new name will succeed even in this saturated market

    • billmedicare

      In case you did NOT read any articles Revel is now valued at between 25 and 73 million. . A fire sale price. Low info voters have arisen again

  • Donald Sterling

    Well written piece by Jen. Wish others on this blog would actually WRITE their own stories.
    Instead, we have hacks like Mathis and Fiorillo doing their lazy sloppy cut-and-paste jobs from other outlets.
    KUdos to Jen here. Good story
    Personally i think the Revel is a good place to win some money.

  • for gays only

    Chris Stigall will run a gay bath house there

    • Tark Blimtrep

      And you will be first in line on your knees begging him for it

  • Zizi

    FYi it was Morgan Stanley and not JP Morgan that invested close to a billion in a jOint venture with Revel back in 2006. They ultimately decided to bail out in mid construction and realized a loss of $950 million dollars when they sold their stake for $50 million back in 2009. They were the smartest in all the investors as Revel is losing about $250 million a year

    • billmedicare

      Hey stupid! they are all the same company now loser!

      • Osito

        You just made yourself look pretty stupid. No, these two banks are not the same company. There is no relationship whatsoever between these two banks; in fact they don’t even have the same business interests.

    • Brigitte Luiz

      I am So happy and Glad to tell you people
      about this Powerful spell caster DR ARIBA that just cured and healed me and
      brother from HIV and Cancer with his Herbal medicine, i and my brother
      has been going for medication for several years only to cure this diseases but
      all seems in vain, i was confused and decided to surf through the Internet and
      i saw the wonderful deeds that DR ARIBA has been doing, i thought it was a
      joke, and when i contacted he proved to me that he herbal medicine is powerful
      and active, Today I am cured from my HIV and my brother is also cured from His
      Cancer, i am so so happy and i will like anyone suffering from any kind of
      illness should please contact him on his email on: draribaspelltemple@gmail.com or dr.aribaspelltemple@outlook.com

  • AxiomaticFrank

    Jen is right on here-Revel will not fold. The location and building, let alone the 260m that Christie and Sweeney backed of tax cash, will not be in vain. Caesars could make this work as could the Hard Rock ( who were going to spend 400+m on a boutique casino anyway). Do not count out AC casinos with Sports Betting now a reality thanks to Lesniak (it failed Federally but as a state they can pass it, ala pot laws in Colorado). Don’t drum the death knell yet.

    • http://batman-news.com PPABootsquadVinnie

      ‘Howard Johnson is Right about Gabby Johnson being right!’
      Once again, we see all the bluenoses deciding to give in to all those vices they said they would never Never embrace. Now, with corporate welfare and ‘no new taxes’ pledges, we are opening the gates to it All, as our ‘government’ searches high and low for revenue. Can legal prostitution be far behind? Remember, ‘vices’ were just religious tenets, Not law. What can you do when Everybody has gambling and legalized pot? Watch for national legislation on Sports Gambling before there’s any on immigration. Ha, we get the government we deserve.

      • Brigitte Luiz

        I am So happy and Glad to tell you people
        about this Powerful spell caster DR ARIBA that just cured and healed me and
        brother from HIV and Cancer with his Herbal medicine, i and my brother
        has been going for medication for several years only to cure this diseases but
        all seems in vain, i was confused and decided to surf through the Internet and
        i saw the wonderful deeds that DR ARIBA has been doing, i thought it was a
        joke, and when i contacted he proved to me that he herbal medicine is powerful
        and active, Today I am cured from my HIV and my brother is also cured from His
        Cancer, i am so so happy and i will like anyone suffering from any kind of
        illness should please contact him on his email on: draribaspelltemple@gmail.com or dr.aribaspelltemple@outlook.com ….

    • Brigitte Luiz

      I am So happy and Glad to tell you people
      about this Powerful spell caster DR ARIBA that just cured and healed me and
      brother from HIV and Cancer with his Herbal medicine, i and my brother
      has been going for medication for several years only to cure this diseases but
      all seems in vain, i was confused and decided to surf through the Internet and
      i saw the wonderful deeds that DR ARIBA has been doing, i thought it was a
      joke, and when i contacted he proved to me that he herbal medicine is powerful
      and active, Today I am cured from my HIV and my brother is also cured from His
      Cancer, i am so so happy and i will like anyone suffering from any kind of
      illness should please contact him on his email on: draribaspelltemple@gmail.com or dr.aribaspelltemple@outlook.com

  • Laura Zamora

    !!! How To Get Your BEST CURE TO YOUR HIV AND AID Immediately !!!

    hello world, i cant believe that this is real and genuine, i was an hiv patient for 2years when i get in touch with Dr Ben(habelhomecenter@gmail.com) the great healer after reading a how he have been curing people with hiv, at 1st i thought it was a scam but at last i chose to contact him and give him a trial, he told me what to do and i simply do it and he gave me his medication and ask me to go for check up after two months i agree with him, i took this medication and went for check up after two months to my greatest surprise my result was negative after the treatment of Dr Ben, i am really happy that i am cured and healthy again. and i want to use this opportunity to tell you all that is suffering from hiv to hurry up and contact him now (habelhomecenter@gmail.com)… cause the solution to your problem has come. once more here is the email of this great healer. (habelhomecenter@gmail.com)… RAYMOND FROM USA

  • Laura Zamora

    !!! How To Get Your BEST CURE TO YOUR HIV AND AID Immediately !!!

    hello world, i cant believe that this is real and genuine, i was an hiv patient for 2years when i get in touch with Dr Ben(habelhomecenter@gmail.com) the great healer after reading a how he have been curing people with hiv, at 1st i thought it was a scam but at last i chose to contact him and give him a trial, he told me what to do and i simply do it and he gave me his medication and ask me to go for check up after two months i agree with him, i took this medication and went for check up after two months to my greatest surprise my result was negative after the treatment of Dr Ben, i am really happy that i am cured and healthy again. and i want to use this opportunity to tell you all that is suffering from hiv to hurry up and contact him now (habelhomecenter@gmail.com)… cause the solution to your problem has come. once more here is the email of this great healer. (habelhomecenter@gmail.com)… RAYMOND FROM USA

  • Brigitte Luiz

    I am So happy and Glad to tell you people about this Powerful spell caster DR ARIBA that just cured and healed me and brother from HIV and Cancer with his Herbal medicine, i and my brother has been going for medication for several years only to cure this diseases but all seems in vain, i was confused and decided to surf through the Internet and i saw the wonderful deeds that DR ARIBA has been doing, i thought it was a joke, and when i contacted he proved to me that he herbal medicine is powerful and active, Today I am cured from my HIV and my brother is also cured from His Cancer, i am so so happy and i will like anyone suffering from any kind of illness should please contact him on his email on: draribaspelltemple@gmail.com or dr.aribaspelltemple@outlook.com ………

  • Brigitte Luiz

    I am So happy and Glad to tell you people about this Powerful spell caster DR ARIBA that just cured and healed me and brother from HIV and Cancer with his Herbal medicine, i and my brother has been going for medication for several years only to cure this diseases but all seems in vain, i was confused and decided to surf through the Internet and i saw the wonderful deeds that DR ARIBA has been doing, i thought it was a joke, and when i contacted he proved to me that he herbal medicine is powerful and active, Today I am cured from my HIV and my brother is also cured from His Cancer, i am so so happy and i will like anyone suffering from any kind of illness should please contact him on his email on: draribaspelltemple@gmail.com or dr.aribaspelltemple@outlook.com

  • http://batman-news.com PPABootsquadVinnie

    It can be bought cheap, just like Trump’s casino.
    Screw them and their No Smoking policy. THAT policy sure changed in a hurry.
    On another Philadelphia note—How much sense does it make to fund programs And schools with tobacco taxes, Then make it as difficult as possible for smokers to find a place to smoke? A privately owned bar should be allowed to accommodate smokers, and if you don’t like the smell of cigarette smoke Or my farts and BO, go somewhere more accommodating to You!

  • Cynthia David

    am from uk am here to give
    my testimony about how i got my hiv disease and how i flew it quickly
    after having trust on my spell doctor who cured me immediately .since
    the year i married to the man i didnt love because my parents false me
    to marry him.i have been enjoying relationship and sex life with him .he
    do spend time on work and dont have time for me . sometime he do sleep
    at his work and also do carry women because he has the money to spend
    but doesnt spend it on me . so i was so jealous to the extent that i
    cant control my anger and i decided to start cheating on him with
    exboyfriend . because my husband donot always be at home except on
    weeend .i have sex with him without protection .after somemonths been in
    love with my exboyfriend i was so sick and decided to go have a test
    and i found i was hiv positive . i feel so sad and i was ashamed
    because i didnt now how to open up to my husband i hate before my
    exboyfriend denied me and when my husband found out about what wads
    going on he devoirced me and i was ill for good 3years i went to many
    places for solution but there was no solution . so one day i was asing
    GOOGLE some question on how i can get a cure and how i can get some
    medication which i will be taking to my own suprise they brought one
    email out named drozallaspellhome@outlook.com
    that this powerful man can cure hiv i didnt believe about the cure
    before but i toke the email and search it on GOOGLE and found many good
    testimonies about him people have been giving more testimonies about him
    so i contacted him about my situation . he told me all the procedures
    which i will take and i did before i knew what was happening he called
    me and told me to go for an hiv test which i did and when the result was
    out i was hiv negative .thanks to drogodomigodo now as i am giving
    this testimony am fully settled down with my husband now and we love
    ourselves .i give this testimony for people around that was in my shoes
    so that they can also be cured like me .so if you also need a solution
    also you can email him at drozallaspellhome@outlook.com

  • Brigitte Luiz

    I am So happy and Glad to tell you people
    about this Powerful spell caster DR ARIBA that just cured and healed me and
    brother from HIV and Cancer with his Herbal medicine, i and my brother
    has been going for medication for several years only to cure this diseases but
    all seems in vain, i was confused and decided to surf through the Internet and
    i saw the wonderful deeds that DR ARIBA has been doing, i thought it was a
    joke, and when i contacted he proved to me that he herbal medicine is powerful
    and active, Today I am cured from my HIV and my brother is also cured from His
    Cancer, i am so so happy and i will like anyone suffering from any kind of
    illness should please contact him on his email on: draribaspelltemple@gmail.com or dr.aribaspelltemple@outlook.com

  • Brigitte Luiz

    I am So happy and Glad to tell you people
    about this Powerful spell caster DR ARIBA that just cured and healed me and
    brother from HIV and Cancer with his Herbal medicine, i and my brother
    has been going for medication for several years only to cure this diseases but
    all seems in vain, i was confused and decided to surf through the Internet and
    i saw the wonderful deeds that DR ARIBA has been doing, i thought it was a
    joke, and when i contacted he proved to me that he herbal medicine is powerful
    and active, Today I am cured from my HIV and my brother is also cured from His
    Cancer, i am so so happy and i will like anyone suffering from any kind of
    illness should please contact him on his email on: draribaspelltemple@gmail.com or dr.aribaspelltemple@outlook.com ….

  • Wanessa Guedes

    [READ MY STORY. ON HOW I GOT MY AIDS CURED].

    Truthfully, i was tested HIV + positive last two years. I
    keep on managing the drugs i usually purchase from the health care agency to
    keep me healthy and strengthen, i tried all i can too make this disease leave
    me alone, but unfortunately, it keep on eating up my life, this is what i
    caused myself, for allowing my fiance make sex to me unsecured without
    protection, although i never knew he is HIV positive. So last few 4days i came
    in contact with a lively article on the internet on how this Powerful healer
    get him well and healed. So as a patient i knew this will took my life 1 day,
    and i need to live with other friends and relatives too. So i copied out the Dr
    ARIBA the traditional healer’s email id: dr.aribaspelltemple@outlook.com
    or draribaspelltemple@gmail.com and i mailed him immediately, in a little while
    he mail me back that i was welcome to his temple home were by all what i seek
    for are granted. I was please at that time. And i continue with him, he took
    some few details from me and told me that he shall get back to me as soon as he
    is through with my work. I was very happy as heard that from him. So Yesterday,
    as i was just coming from my friends house, Dr ARIBA called me to go for
    checkup in the hospital and see his marvelous work that it is now HIV negative,
    i was very glad to hear that from him, so i quickly rush down to the nearest
    hospital to found out, only to hear from my hospital doctor called NEURON
    MOZART that i am now HIV NEGATIVE. I jump up at him with the test note, he ask
    me how does it happen and i reside to him all i went through with Dr ARIBA. I
    am now glad, so i am a gentle type of person that need to share this
    testimonies to everyone who seek for healing, because once you get calm and
    quiet, the disease will get to finish your life off. So i will advice you
    contact him today for your healing at the above details: Email ID: dr.aribaspelltemple@outlook.com
    Or draribaspelltemple@gmail.com..