After more than a month of litigation over who will supply power to Atlantic City’s former Revel Casino, owner Glenn Straub has conceded Tuesday that the building would not open for gambling this summer.
During a federal court hearing in Camden on Tuesday, Straub and current utility supplier ACR Energy reached an agreement to keep fire safety equipment and aircraft warning lights on the 47-story tower of the building running temporarily.
Afterward, he told reporters that a casino definitely wouldn’t open this summer, because of what he called roadblocks being put up by ACR Energy.
Straub bought the bankrupt Revel casino in mid-April for $82 million — a fraction of its $2 billion construction price tag — but couldn’t reach a deal with ACR Energy over future costs, and has since sought a different energy source. A dispute over who owns the building’s energy equipment has stalled a long-term deal, keeping the casino dark this summer.
Among the alternate power sources Straub has explored is pulling electricity from neighboring Showboat Casino — which he has also sought to buy from Stockton University — as well as the option of plugging the former Revel into the Atlantic City power grid.
Israel Posner, executive director of the Institute of Gaming, Hospitality and Tourism at Stockton University, said that when Revel was open, it was known more for its bar and restaurant scene than its casino, earning as much as 40 percent of its revenue from its non-gaming attractions.
He said missing Atlantic City’s peak summer season would certainly hurt.
“It’s certainly a missed opportunity for several thousand employees who hoped to get jobs back,” said Posner. “It’s certainly a blow to tax revenue for this city and state, and it’s certainly costing Glenn Straub millions of dollars each month to keep it closed.”
Posner said some of those costs include municipal taxes that are accruing and payments for security and insurance.
Asked if there are security concerns at the vacant building, Straub’s attorney, Stuart Moskovitz, said simply that there are not.
Though Straub will be missing out on the summer tourist revenue, Posner said he doubted that Revel’s absence would make much of a difference overall in bringing people into Atlantic City during the warm months, saying that every hotel is booked every weekend.
However, he said, a dark tower looming on the city skyline can certainly dampen the mood.
“There’s no question that you like to see all the jewels along the Boardwalk sparkling,” said Posner. “You never like to see a dull part of a bracelet. So, sure, when it comes to a tourist destination, the more lights, glitter and action, the better it is for the entire tourist destination.”