The struggling Atlantic City casino market reached a dubious milestone this week: Half of its 12 casinos have filed for bankruptcy protection in the past six years.
The latest to seek bankruptcy court protection is the Atlantic Club Casino Hotel. The Atlantic Club Casino Hotel says it will remain open as it seeks a buyer. It filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection late Wednesday.
Formerly known as the Atlantic City Hilton, the casino has struggled in the city’s cutthroat casino market. A deal to sell it to the world’s largest online poker operator fell through earlier this year.
Atlantic Club COO Michael Frawley says the casino’s strategy of offering low-priced gambling, food and entertainment has been working, but the market has not rebounded as fast as he hoped.
It joins Revel, the Tropicana and the Trump casinos among those who have sought bankruptcy protection in recent years.
Atlantic City has seen its fortunes decline since legalized gambling spread to other states including Pennsylvania, Delaware, New York and Connecticut.
AC elects new mayor
The challenge of turning around Atlantic City will soon get new leadership. On Tuesday, voters elected Don Guardian to replace Lorenzo Langford as the city’s next mayor.
After his win, Guardian pledge to improve the relationship AC has with state lawmakers. “Everyone has expressed an interest in helping Atlantic City, and we need a lot of help,” Guardian said. “There’s a lot that’s broken here, and I look forward to working with the state, the governor, our state assemblymen and senators in working together to rebuild our city.”
Mayor Lorenzo and Governor Christie have publicly feuded since the state began exerting more control on Atlantic City through its Casino Reinvestment Development Authority.
Internet gambling coming soon
On Nov 26, 2013, Atlantic City will become the third state to begin offering online gambling. The program will require gamblers to pre-register with a casino but then be able to login anywhere within the borders of New Jersey. Online gambling was authorized for 10 years in New Jersey under a bill signed into law by Gov. Chris Christie in February.
Delaware begins offering internet gambling starting tomorrow, while Nevada began offering online poker in April.
New Jersey’s biggest play may have the longest odds. The state plans to appeal a recent federal court ruling that bars New Jersey from offering sports betting. The ruling keeps intact a federal statute that only allows sports betting in Nevada, Delaware, Montana and Oregon.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.