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Atlantic City mayor confident Revel will find buyer

Atlantic City mayor Don Guardian believes buyers will be found for Revel, Showboat, and the Atlantic Club.

Revel Casino Hotel in Atlantic City
Revel Casino Hotel in Atlantic City (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)

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At a press conference Wednesday, Guardian said there were six potential buyers for the Revel Casino Hotel, which is scheduled for a bankruptcy auction next month.

The opulent Revel cost $2.4 billion to build, but has struggled financially since opening in 2012, having declared bankruptcy twice.

While Revel and other casinos have been on the market for some time, Guardian said the price is finally “right” for buyers.

“No one was going to buy Revel at the (original) $2.2 billion or $1.2 billion, or earlier this year at the $800 million price,” he said. “Now everyone likes shopping at Filene’s Basement, everyone likes a fire sale. You’re still getting a $2.2 billion building that’s architecturally significant at $200 or $300 million.”

Showboat has also received offers, according to Guardian, and the Atlantic Club could find another buyer as well. Caesars Entertainment sold the Atlantic Club on May 29 to TJM Properties, which planned to run it as a non-casino hotel.

Guardian spoke alongside state Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-West Deptford) and Sen. Jim Whelan (D-Northfield) in the parking lot of the soon-to-be Bass Pro Shops. The trio discussed the future of Atlantic City, and the possibility of a casino being built in North Jersey — something Guardian staunchly opposes.

While the mayor was confident the casinos would be sold, he admitted a seamless transition between owners would be unlikely. He said he would welcome non-casino businesses settling into the buildings, noting the Claridge’s successful transition from casino to hotel.

“The Claridge had a tough time, never lost money as a casino, but they also had 2,500 employees,” Guardian said. “A hotel has 200 employees. That’s a big difference in the amount of debt and the amount of labor that you’re covering.”

Ultimately, Guardian said there needs to be realistic expectations of the gaming industry as a whole.

“Next year it will be very surprising if you don’t see a couple of casinos downsize or close in Pennsylvania or Delaware,” he said. “People are proposing $4 billion projects. After Revel couldn’t make it with $2.5 billion in debt, I don’t think you’ll see those kinds of projects coming up.”

The Trump Plaza and Showboat are scheduled to close their doors permanently before September.

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