Hard Rock Gets OK for New Jersey Casino, But Where Will It Be?

The Seminole Tribe of Florida, which owns Hard Rock, received preliminary approval for a casino in New Jersey — either in Atlantic City or the Meadowlands.

A company has won preliminary approval to operate a new casino in New Jersey — and it has a license for more than just Atlantic City.

Today the New Jersey Casino Control Commission gave Seminole Hard Rock Entertainment a “statement of compliance,” paving the way for the company to open a Hard Rock Casino in Atlantic City. The company also received preliminary OK for a casino at the Meadowlands in North Jersey, if a market there ever emerges.

The Seminole Hard Rock owns 16 percent of the Meadowlands racetrack and will be the casino operator there if New Jersey legalizes gambling at the complex outside New York City. But the casino could also be in Atlantic City.

And perhaps even at the failed Revel Casino. The company bid for the property before losing out, but company CEO James Allen told KYW 1060 and the Associated Press he has talked with eventual winning bidder Glenn Straub, a Florida developer. Straub has talked of many uses for the property, including a university “for geniuses.” Though Straub won the property as the backup bidder, he no longer wants it at that price.

“We’ve certainly been looking at Revel, going back to our inception,” Allen told the AP. “It’s an amazing building, but it does have some challenges.” It’s possible a Hard Rock in Atlantic City would be a “boutique” casino, which can have as few as 200 rooms (instead of the standard 500-room requirement).

The Seminole Tribe of Florida operates several Hard Rock casinos. It purchased the Hard Rock chain in 2007. “Our ancestors sold Manhattan for trinkets,” tribal council rep Max Osceola Jr. said at the time. “We’re going to buy Manhattan back, one hamburger at a time.” Perhaps another island, Absecon, will do for now.

[AP | KYW 1060]