Next Stop for the Atlantic Club: Disassembly
Earlier this week, the number of land-based casinos in long-struggling Atlantic City was reduced by one, when the Atlantic Club Casino Hotel – a fixture along the boardwalk since it was first developed back in the early 1980’s by casino mogul Steve Wynn – closed its doors for good.
The beleaguered and bankrupt Atlantic Club was sold last month at auction to a partnership between Tropicana Entertainment and Caesars Entertainment. The property went into bankruptcy back in November.
The companies, which paid $23.4 million for the casino, at one time among the most profitable in New Jersey’s once glorious gambling capitol, planned to split up the Atlantic Club’s assets and property, with Tropicana taking the slot machines and table gaming equipment while Caesars Entertainment holds onto the real estate property and the furniture and decor belonging to the hotel and casino.
Tropicana wasting no time in grabbing the loot
Clearly, the new owners of the Atlantic Club – a casino that largely appealed to locals and in recent years had adopted the rather morose slogan of “a casino for the rest of us” – are wasting little time in claiming what is now theirs.
Tropicana began the removal of the slot machines and the table games this week.
The Atlantic Club closed its doors on Monday, a day that was a somber one not only for the fiscally-strapped Atlantic City, which has watched its gambling revenue sink lower each year since peaking back in 2006 as newer, more modern casino properties in nearby states, particularly close neighbor Pennsylvania, have proven to be an effective draw for east coast gambling tourists, but also for the more than 1,500 Atlantic Club employees that now find themselves out of a job.
Tropicana has until the end of the month to remove property from the hotel. The company plans to use a small handful of the games it acquired in the bankruptcy auction at its Atlantic City casino, with the rest to be dispersed to properties around the nation.
“These are relatively brand-new machines. Outside of Revel, the Atlantic Club had the newest casino floor in Atlantic City,” Tropicana’s vice president of casino operations, Chris Downey, was quoted by therepublic.com as saying.
City pinning its hopes to newly-minted online gambling industry
The bankruptcy and subsequent closure of the Atlantic Club is merely the latest in a long string of dismal news stories to emerge from what was once New Jersey’s answer to Las Vegas.
Revel, the casino referenced by Downey, is Atlantic City’s newest land-based casino property. It too declared bankruptcy in 2013, a situation from which it quickly emerged thanks to a pre-arranged debt for equity swap deal reached with its creditors.
The property, which opened to much fanfare not quite two years ago, in the spring of 2012, cost some $2.4 billion to construct and yet was bankrupt within one year of flinging open its doors for the first time. The future of Revel hangs in the balance, with company officials saying late last year that they were open to several future paths for the flagging casino and had not ruled out the possibility of putting the property up for sale.
One bright spot in the New Jersey gambling economy is the state’s recently-launched real money online gambling industry.
Though the Garden State only introduced legalized real money online poker and Internet casino games in late November and revenue to date has fallen short of what New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (himself embattled as he fights back against a scandal in which he is accused of causing a massive traffic jam on the George Washington bridge as a means of political retribution) predicted, nevertheless New Jersey has managed to emerge as a model for other states that may be looking to pass online poker and gambling legislation in the future.
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