The bad news is getting worse: Atlantic City, which has seen the announcement of three casino closures this summer, is likely to see even more: Deutsche Bank forecasts the city will be home to just six casinos by 2017.
Revel Casino Hotel, the glittering Vegas-like casino that was supposed to revitalize Atlantic City’s casino industry, announced today it has failed to find a buyer and will shut down on Sept. 10.
Next month’s closing means 3,100 workers will lose their jobs.
While gorgeous, the hotel — the tallest building in Atlantic City and second-tallest in New Jersey — did not get good reviews. While he was impressed by the hotel room views, our own Victor Fiorillo gave it a scathing review when he attended a Maroon 5 show there in May 2012. And after booking Maroon 5 and Beyoncé when Ovation Hall opened, the concert hall then went dark for months.
It’s been months since records on the bidding process for Philadelphia’s second casino were closed on February 26th. And, still, no progress! It’s been so long that Penn National dropped out of the process, following Steve Wynn’s pullout earlier.
There are now just four companies vying for Philly’s second casino license: Bart Blatstein’s Provenance at the old Inquirer Building, the downtown Philly Market 8 casino group, the proposed casino at the current site of a Holiday Inn near Citizens Bank Park, and Casino Revolution at Front and Packer. And how’s that second license approval — or, perhaps, a rejection of all four bids — coming along?
Well, the board’s last private session on the bids was a month ago. But, per Gaming Control Board chairman William Ryan, the group is “working hard.”
Donald Trump is in the news again, because Donald Trump is good about exploiting slow news periods to get his name in the press. Wait until this time next year, when he’s going on TV to talk about how he’s exploring a presidential bid. With the election still a bit too far away to start a run for president — okay, maybe not — Trump has turned his gaze back toward the town he’s associated with in name only now: Atlantic City.
There’s actually a much more interesting story here than Trump talking about politics or ebola: The Donald is suing the company that runs the two casinos bearing his name, demanding his name be taken off the properties. Trump Entertainment Resorts is a descendant of the company he founded in the 1980s; he holds a 10 percent stake in the it. The piece of the company he owns allows the two casinos to use his name.
In 2009, Trump said he was “not thrilled about” his name being on the casinos.
Today is the last day to put in your bid to buy Revel, Atlantic City’s doomed casino, so fire up that land line. As for Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch in Olivos, California, it looks like that’s going to be on the market too since the maintenance costs have gotten out of control. While they may seem like rather disparate properties, they do have some things in common — the first and foremost being that whoever/whichever company acquires Revel and Neverland will have deep pockets and big dreams. Here’s our Lucky 7 list of other parallels between the properties.
Lucky 7 Reveland
1. Empty, echoing sprawl. Neverland is more than 2,500 acres; Revel is about 2,700.
2. Access to child-friendly entertainment. Neverland was characterized by USA Today in 2003 as “a mini-Disneyland complete with amusement park rides, movie theater, arcade, zoo and its own railroad system.” Revel, too, is in proximity to all of that, especially if you consider a tram on the boardwalk a railroad system.
The Inquirer has a lengthy report this morning speculating on Atlantic City’s fate come September, when as many as four Boardwalk properties may be vacant. Suzette Parmley talks to a variety of authorities and rubberneckers, and even nabs a quote from Carl Dranoff while he’s at dinner.
With the Atlantic Club having closed in January, Trump Plaza closing in September and Revel and Showboat in dire straits, Mayor Don Guardian tells Parmley that the city is considering using the old casinos for other purposes. Changes will need the go-ahead from the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority.
What would the other purposes be? Parmley found a few people with suggestions. One possible tenant would be Richard Stockton College, which has expressed interest in opening a campus in Atlantic City:
The changing landscape in A.C. makes it more important than ever to diversify the economic base in Atlantic City, as well as provide four-year degree and higher educational opportunities for the many employees being displaced,” Stockton president Herman Saatkamp said in a statement Wednesday. “A college campus complete with housing and surrounding businesses would be a significant asset to these needs.
Masked Robbers stole $181,200 from Caesars Atlantic City, according to a flier put out by law enforcement. The pair took off with two plastic boxes filled with hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash.
The New Jersey State Police Casino Gaming Bureau is investigating, which means the crime happened on casino property. One of the masked robbers had a gun.
It is not a good time to be a casino worker in Atlantic City. Two casinos at the Jersey shore resort, the Trump Plaza and the Showboat, have announced closing dates. Executives at the glitzy Revel — Atlantic City’s newest casino, and the second-tallest building in New Jersey — say it, too, will close if no buyer can be found.
But now the unions for casino workers are fighting to keep at least some of these properties open. The unions are working to see if they can find buyers for the casinos. “We want the world to know that we’re looking for partners — not saviors or messiahs,” Bob McDevitt, president of Local 54 of the Unite-HERE union, told the Associated Press. “We will work with them.”
About 8,000 workers are employed at the three endangered casinos.
While there’s been a good deal of doom and gloom about the gaming industry around these parts in the last month, here’s some evidence that not all area gaming establishments are rolling snake eyes. The Morning Call reports on new data released by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board that says the state’s 12 casinos took in $731.8 million at table games in the most recent fiscal year, up 2.6 percent over the previous:
While there are many in the city of Philadelphia who believe the city could use a second casino — a worker at a pizza shop I frequent said SugarHouse is “probably the smartest thing the city’s ever done” the other day — others say the city doesn’t even need one casino and certainly not a second. Hmm, who to trust? Hey, how about a racetrack casino in Chester!
Harrah’s Chester has come out in opposition to a second casino in the city. One can make the obvious inference that, well, a new casino would take away from their business at Harrah’s Philadelphia (which, like the Philadelphia Union soccer team, is in Chester). To be fair: While Harrah’s was involved in 2010 in a partnership to build and open the stalled Foxwoods casino, it didn’t bid in 2012 when the process was reopened.