Atlantic City’s newest casino will be closing next month after the financially struggling Revel Casino Hotel has not been able to find a buyer.
When the massive $2.4 billion facility shuts its door Sept. 10, it will put 3,100 out of work. Although state officials pinned high hopes to the sparkling casino when it opened in 2012, it never managed to turn a profit.
Another blow to Atlantic City is the expected closing of The Showboat and Trump Plaza casinos.
“It makes it harder to get investment dollars back in,” said state Sen. Jim Whelan. “Forget casino investment dollars, just people that want to buy a house or people that want to buy a small business or whatever, they’re going to shy away. Banking institutions are going to shy away.”
Whelan believes Atlantic City will rebound, but said it will take time — and shifting the focus from an overreliance on casinos to other attractions and entertainment.
The publisher of Global Gaming Business Magazine, a casino industry trade publication, said he’s surprised Revel is closing, but doesn’t believe it’s the end of the property.
“I think it’ll close, go into foreclosure, and somebody will buy it at a rock-bottom price and be able to renegotiate some of the operational difficulties that are tough,” said Roger Gros. “For example, they’re locked into an energy provider which has built in an actual plant for them.”
The Revel building might have a future as a hotel instead of a casino, Gros said.
In the meantime, the region with the highest unemployment rate in the state is in for a tough time, said Whelan, D-Atlantic.
“Thousands of people are going to be out of work … The non-casino workers who work at the mom-and-pop stores as waiters, waitresses, the diners so on and so forth, their business is going to drop off because these casino employees are their customers,” he said.
But the region eventually will bounce back, he said, thanks to its natural amenities of ocean and beach.