High-End Shore Market Unlikely to Be Hurt By Casino Closures

margate home

Photo of 514 N. Thurlow Avenue in Margate, a home for sale for $8.5 million. Copyright SJSRMLS.

The legalization of gambling across the Northeast has hit Atlantic City hard: The latest victim, Trump Entertainment Resorts confirmed this weekend, is Trump Plaza, which is scheduled to close on September 16.

But it’s not all gloom and doom. Real estate experts we contacted said that while the rental market may be hit hard by the job losses — particularly in nearby inland towns like Pleasantville — the closures are much less likely to have a significant impact on the higher income ownership market in towns like Ventnor and Margate.

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Soon-to-Be-Shuttered Showboat Could Be Sold as a Casino

Caesars Entertainment Corporation, owners of the Showboat Atlantic City casino that is slated to close August 31st, has said it is open to selling the property as a casino rather than closing it down.

Caesars spokesperson Gary Thompson said the company has received “preliminary inquiries” about selling the property to a new owner, who’d keep it open as a casino. Showboat opened on the boardwalk in Atlantic City in March 1987.

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

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. Read more »

Will Philadelphia Get Its Own Space Needle?

skyspire
PHL Local Gaming — one of the five contenders for that ever elusive casino license in Philadelphia — has announced a potential new feature for its LoSo Entertainment Center: a 615-foot-tall Skyspire with rooftop restaurant and observation deck, both of which would be reached by gondola. The tower would be designed to look much like Seattle’s Space Needle, though it would be 10 feet taller (take that, Seattle!).

The Skyspire wouldn’t be unique to Philadelphia. It’s made by U.S. Thrill Rides, which creates rides and attractions for places like Six Flags and MGM Grand. Michael Kitchen, president of U.S. Thrill Rides, has this to say about the company’s Skyspire:

“In addition to being a world-caliber amusement attraction and a stunning piece of architecture, the Skyspire also constitutes a ‘wow factor with class’ that appeals to the very young, to seniors and all other adult demographics.”

Here are more images of the Skyspire:

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You Can’t Be For Casinos and Against Pawn Shops

Shutterstock.com

Shutterstock.com

I find it fascinating that members of City Council right now want to put yet another zoning overlay in the city to prohibit new pawn and check cashing joints in Center City. The rationale is basically that pawn shops and check cashing joints shouldn’t be near casinos because … well, because.

Here in Philly, we’ve established that we are OK with the casino business model for two reasons: Individual freedom of people to gamble and for the fringe economic benefits of tourism. Still, our decisions have consequences.

One of these consequences is people pawning their shit to play chemin-de-fer.

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The New Jersey Casino Experiment Has Failed

AtlanticCityHow low can Atlantic City casinos go? The numbers for 2013 aren’t looking very good — for N.J.’s gambling resort, or for casinos across the country.

Last year, Atlantic City’s casinos brought in $235 million in gambling earnings. That’s bad — 35 percent less than 2012 —and even worse given the following:

  • The 2013 number includes the introduction of the much ballyhooed Internet gambling that was supposed to be the latest and greatest thing to save Atlantic City. Apparently not.
  • The 2013 earnings are still down 35 percent even when being compared to those of 2012, a year that included Superstorm Sandy. The storm shut down casinos entirely and slowed business for months after.

It’s not getting any better this year, either.

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Morning Headlines: Casino License Bidders Will Get Last 15 Minutes Before the Board

Tower Entertainment's proposed casino, the Provence at

Tower Entertainment’s proposed casino, the Provence at Broad and Callowhill
Photo credit: theProvenceCasino.com

Tomorrow morning, four of the five contenders for Philadelphia’s second casino license will appear one more time before the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. Each will have 15 minutes to sum up why they should get it, while opponents will have equal time to say why they shouldn’t. Read more »

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