Still No Taker for the Atlantic Club
Question: What do an Atlantic City casino and a mansion owned by basketball great Michael Jordan have in common?
Answer: Both are having a heck of a time finding a buyer at auction.
The Atlantic City casino in question is of course the beleaguered Atlantic Club Casino Hotel, which entered into a second day of bidding on Wednesday.
The auction’s winner was set to be announced today, however that has been pushed back to Monday, according to the Press of Atlantic City, allowing more time for the owners of the embattled property, California-based Colony Capital LLC, to find a suitable buyer.
Union poised to block sale
As the fate of the Atlantic Club’s 1600 staff members hangs in the balance, the Press is reporting that the largest employee union at the ACC – to which about half of the workers at the property belong – intends to block the casino’s sale should the new buyer not recognize the collective bargaining rights of the union.
Local 54 of UNITE HERE filed a motion in New Jersey bankruptcy court this week to that end.
“God only knows what’s going to happen,” said union President Bob McDevitt.
PokerStars made a play for the property earlier this year
The Atlantic Club filed for bankruptcy last month, but that was only the latest move in a year that has seen the property rarely out of the headlines.
In December of 2012, the Atlantic Club entered into a purchase agreement with Isle of Man-based the Rational Group, the parent company of the world’s largest online poker room, PokerStars.
The Atlantic Club terminated the buyout deal in the spring, citing PokerStars’ failure to obtain an interim operating license from New Jersey gaming regulators prior to a drop-dead date stipulated in the contract. PokerStars sued to get the sale on track, and ultimately a judge ruled in favor of the Atlantic Club, allowing the casino to keep $11 million that PokerStars had already paid toward a total $15 million purchase price.
Company remains unlicensed in the Garden State
For its part, representatives for PokerStars said that the company was blindsided when the Atlantic Club pulled the rug out from under the deal, but it quickly went on to form a partnership with Resorts, the oldest land-based property in Atlantic City.
Under the terms of New Jersey’s Internet gambling law, which was passed earlier this year, all online betting operations must be tied to land-based casino properties in Atlantic City.
While Resorts has gone on to receive the green-light from state gaming regulators, last week news broke that PokerStars’ application was essentially being placed on hold until the company demonstrates significant changes. The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement has taken issue with founder Isai Scheinberg, who remains under federal indictment for UIGEA and other violations, as well as with other unnamed PokerStars executives.
As for Michael Jordan, the Chicago Tribune is reporting that he has put his Illinois property back on the market with a price tag of $16 million in the wake of the failed attempts at auctioning it off.