Atlantic City Is The Drunkest City in New Jersey (Well, Tied For 1st)

Tony's Baltimore Grill bar sign

A sign in the window at Tony’s Baltimore Grill in Atlantic City. (Photo | Dan McQuade)

It’s no surprise that a city where the booze flows freely at all hours is the drunkest in New Jersey. What might be surprising is Atlantic City is not alone at the No. 1 drunkest place in New Jersey: It’s tied with Belmar, Monmouth County.

The new rankings, compiled by RoadSnacks, rank New Jersey cities based on the number of bars/pubs/liquor stores/wineries per capita, plus the number of recent drunk tweets and the divorce rate. (Okay, that’s pretty clever.) And A.C. and Belmar — not to be confused with Camden County’s Bellmawr — came out tied for the No. 1 spot. Read more »

Bart Blatstein Really Is Buying the Old Showboat Casino

Showboat Casino

Showboat Casino on September 1st, 2014, the day after it closed. (Photo: Dan McQuade)

Today, Stockton University officially announced the news that broke earlier this week: The university had agreed to sell the old Showboat casino, which it purchased last year, to Bart Blatstein’s Tower Investments.

The purchase price will be $22 million. Stockton bought it for $18 million last year. Earlier this week, trustees authorized the sale of the site.

“We anticipate this being the culmination of months of effort wending through the court system, untangling a previous contract and allowing us to move forward with a new purchaser,” Stockton interim president Harvey Kesselman said in a release. “The Board of Trustees and I look forward to closing this chapter in Stockton’s history while moving forward with our efforts to grow our commitment to an Atlantic City renaissance.” Read more »

Stockton: Icahn Wanted 1,331 Hotel Rooms to Waive Casino Pact

Showboat Casino

Showboat Casino on September 1st, 2014, the day after it closed. (Photo: Dan McQuade)

Yesterday, an independent report commissioned by Stockton University about the school’s disastrous purchase of the former Showboat casino was released. The report blamed many, but mostly former Stockton president Herman Saatkamp, who was forced to resign in the wake of the sale.

Stockton bought the former Showboat casino from Caesars last year for use as a branch campus. But Trump Entertainment Resorts, which owns the nearby Trump Taj Mahal, said it would enforce a 1988 pact that said the Showboat could only be used as a casino. (There is also a deed restriction on the property that says it can’t be used as a casino; this will probably be hashed out in court now that the property will reportedly be sold to Bart Blatstein.)

The company said the reason for enforcing the deed restriction was because the college would attract underage gamblers who would attempt to gamble at the Taj. “[W]e believe that having a college located next door to the Taj will hurt our business and create numerous problems for us going forward,” Trump Entertainment Resorts said in a statement in March. “The scenario of young college students residing full time in a dormitory a few steps away from the Taj is entirely different from allowing families to dine in our restaurants.”

The report, however, says Trump Entertainment (which no longer has a connection with the GOP frontrunner other than the name) was willing to waive the deed restrictions — if Stockton would give them all its hotel rooms each summer. Read more »

Wheel of Fortune Seeking Contestants This Weekend in Atlantic City

Americas Game

If you ever wanted to spin the wheel, you might get a chance at a special event being held this Saturday and Sunday in Atlantic City.

The Wheel of Fortune “Wheelmobile” is having a weekend of auditions and fun at the Claridge Hotel in AC to honor the touring attraction’s 500th stop. The 36-foot, 13-foot high Winnebago travels the country “in search of good game players who are energetic, enthusiastic and fun and could get the chance to audition for the show.” Read more »

Will Shaq Be Building Apartments in Atlantic City?

Shaq - Revel

Shaq photo by Keith Allison, used under a Creative Commons license; Revel and photo illustration by Dan McQuade

Shaquille O’Neal wants to come to Atlantic City. He’ll find out sometime in the next few months whether he can actually do it.

Shaq isn’t blacklisted from the island casino resort city. He can surely get a line of credit at any casino. But he and developer Wasseem Boraie want to build The Beach at South Inlet, a $61 million apartment complex near the shuttered Revel casino. Today, the Casino Redevelopment Authority is expected to extend a loan expiration date in order to give itself more time to evaluate the proposal.

As The Press of Atlantic City wrote early Tuesday, the RDA first approved the $30 million loan to Boraie and Shaq in March 2013. Then Revel and Showboat closed, and Trump Taj Mahal began teetering on the brink. The RDA decided to reevaluate the proposal for apartments in the South Inlet, a neglected, half-vacant portion of the north end of the city. Read more »

Report: Blatstein Agrees to Buy Former Showboat Casino

Showboat Casino

Showboat Casino after it closed in 2014 (Photo: Dan McQuade)

Bart Blatstein has agreed to buy the former Showboat Casino in Atlantic City from Stockton University, NJBIZ is reporting. The casino, which closed in August 2014, was sold to Stockton University last year for use as a new island campus.

But Trump Entertainment Resorts enforced an old pact between the Trump Taj Mahal and Caesars, Showboat’s owner. That pact prohibited any use of the Showboat for anything but a casino. The collapse of the island campus led to the downfall of Stockton president Herman Saatkamp, which Philadelphia magazine’s Simon van-Zuylen Wood chronicled in a magazine article in March. Read more »

Can the Revel Become a Destination for Chinese Gamblers?

Photo | Dan McQuade

Photo | Dan McQuade

The latest New Yorker, out today, has a story by reporter Nick Paumgarten about “The Death and Life of Atlantic City,” taking a sprawling look at the city’s recent decline — and focusing fairly closely on the role Florida developer Glenn Straub, who now owns the bankrupt Revel Casino, and his possible plans for its future.

Five highlights from the story: Read more »

The Truth About the Rise and Fall of Donald Trump’s Atlantic City Empire

Trump Plaza, September 2014

Trump Plaza in its last month of operation. (Photo | Dan McQuade)

It’s an April Sunday in Atlantic City in 1989. Though it’s early spring, the boardwalk is packed outside Trump Plaza and the convention hall next door. The setting: WrestleMania V, the fifth in a series of professional wrestling super-shows. After a year of buildup, Hulk Hogan will attempt to win back the World Wrestling Federation championship from his former friend and tag-team partner, “Macho Man” Randy Savage.

But that’ll be in a few hours. Right now Ted DiBiase, aka “The Million Dollar Man,” is about to wrestle Brutus Beefcake in an early undercard matchup. DiBiase is an ostentatious character who flouts his wealth. He shoves $100 bills down the throats of defeated opponents and just over a year ago he actually bought the WWF championship after cheating Hogan out of the belt; when that was nullified, he created his own “Million Dollar Belt” with diamond-encrusted dollar signs on the front. Read more »

Man Admits Flushing Fake Poker Chips Down Atlantic City Casino Toilet

Borgata - Toilet - Harrah's

From left: The Borgata, a toilet, Harrah’s Atlantic City

A North Carolina man will be sentenced to five years in prison for using counterfeit chips in an Atlantic City poker tournament. Christian Lusardi, who had already been sentenced earlier this year to five years for pirating DVDs, pleaded guilty and accepted the sentence as part of a deal.

Lusardi admitted to cheating in the 2014 Borgata Winter Open Big Stack no-limit hold ’em event. He won $6,814 in the tournament, but suspected he’d been caught with the counterfeit chips. So he did the only logical thing: He flushed the counterfeit chips down the toilet at his room at nearby Harrah’s. Read more »

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