Two Different Companies Are Considering a Purchase of the Defunct Showboat Casino
The Showboat Casino closed on the last day of August, but two different property management companies are considering buying the property. One of the potential buyers would not use the old casino and hotel as gaming properties, while the other potential owner intends on building a smaller casino.
Atlantic City leaders would like to see the empty casino properties filled, because the city wants to attract non-gaming tourists to the city. Having large sections of the tourist destination empty and unlit is bad for the tourism trade. Thus, the city and the remaining casino operations are served if new owners open businesses where the defunct casinos were.
Latitude 360 Company Info
The possible owner which intends on a non-gaming property is the Jacksonville-based company, Latitude 360. Brent Brown of Latitude 360 told the Associated Press that the Showboat is “one of three locations in Atlantic City it is considering for a $20 million project.”
Brent Brown, who is the CEO of Latitude 360, said he has toured the Showboat property and talked to the leadership of Caesars Entertainment, which is the current owner of the property. Brown told the AP last Friday, “We feel Atlantic City is a perfect location for us. The food and beverage component there is strong.”
Brent Brown said that his company might be able to use the Showboat’s hotel property, too, if a sale for the casino happens. Though Mr. Brown has not specified exactly what the new business would be, it is reasonable to guess the company’s brands would be involved.
Latitude 360 Grille
Latitude 360 manages restaurant and entertainment businesses in Jacksonville, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, Albany, and New York City. The company is planning to open a location in Minnesota, as well. Latitude 360’s flagship property is the Latitude 360 Grille, a restaurant which includes other forms of leisure and entertainment on the complex. These include a sports bar, bowling alley, movie theater, and live performance stage on the site.
Latitude 360 Grille’s associated properties include the HD Sports Theater, Latitude Live, Axis Bar & Stage, Latitude Cinegrille, Luxury Bowling, Latitude LIT, and the Interactive Game Room in Pittsburgh.
Atlantic Properties Group
Atlantic Properties Group is a property management company based out of Vineland, New Jersey. The company has two major wings: Vineland Hotels and Vineland Real Estate.
Atlantic Properties Group said that they want to open a smaller casino at the site of the Showboat casino. Vineland is located in Cumberland County on the Chesapeake Bay, across the state from Atlantic City. Company officials cannot be reached to discuss their specific plans for the location.
Caesars Entertainment Statement on Selling the Showboat
Caesars Entertainment released a public comment on the interest in their former gaming property. The statement said, “We have consistently said that we would entertain reasonable offers for the property from credible buyers with access to the required capital. Our position on this has not changed.”
The Closing of the Showboat Casino
The Showboat Casino closed on August 31, making the Atlantic City casino one of four major casinos to close in the city this year. The other three casinos which closed–Revel Casino, Trump Plaza, and Atlantic Club–all were losing money. Showboat, on the other hand, was consistently profitable, having made over $7 million in the last quarter of its operations. Showboat employees were confused by the closing, while some felt betrayed.
The closing of the Showboat was a strategic decision by Caesars Entertainment. Company CEO Gary Loveman said that the city needed fewer casinos for the remaining businesses to remain healthy. Caesars owns three other casinos in the city and hopes its database of players will allow it to collect most of the Showboat’s former customers. In that situation, the closing of the Showboat might allow Caesars to keep most of its costumers, while reducing payroll by over a thousand employees, along with the normal operating costs of running a casino.
Caesars Entertainment owns more American casinos than any other gaming companies, but it is also saddled with immense debt. It is estimated that Caesars has over $23 billion in debt. Some gaming experts (including competitors) have suggested that Caesars eventually will have to enter bankruptcy. Gary Loveman has repeated that bankruptcy will not be necessary, but the gaming company continues to close properties across America. Earlier this summer, Caesars closed the Grand Tunica Casino in Tunica County, Mississippi.