Ex-Trop owner may eye other casinos

Ex-Trop owner may eye other casinos

Since: Feb 08

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#1 Oct 8, 2008
newsday.com/news/local/wire/newjersey/ny-bc-n...
Newsday.com
AP NewsBreak: Ex-Trop owner may eye other casino

By WAYNE PARRY

Associated Press Writer

October 7, 2008

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J.

How badly do the former owners of the Tropicana Casino and Resort want to get back into Atlantic City?

Bad enough that they'll consider trying to buy or build another casino here if their bid to regain control of the Tropicana fails.

Tropicana Entertainment LLC, whose corporate affiliates were stripped of their casino license last December, is trying to regain ownership of the Tropicana and prevent it from being sold to someone else.

New CEO Scott Butera told The Associated Press the company hopes to convince state regulators it has purged the elements they found unsuitable to run a casino, including Kentucky-based Columbia Sussex Corp. owner William Yung III.

But if Tropicana Entertainment can't convince the commission to let it have the casino back, Butera says there are other options in Atlantic City, including making an offer for an existing casino, or trying to build a new one.

"If we're not successful, that doesn't mean we won't try and come back in another way," he said. "There are going to be assets that will become available."

That could mean making an offer for an existing casino _ several of which are struggling under heavy debt and plunging revenues _ trying to build one from scratch on vacant land including the former Bader Field airport site, or offering to buy out another casino company whose plans may have stalled in Atlantic City.

"We're looking to get back the Tropicana Atlantic City, but if it doesn't work out, all those things would be things we would be looking at," Butera said. "We like this market and we really want to be here."

Butera made it clear that would be a secondary option, to be explored only if it becomes clear the company cannot get the Tropicana back. It plans to file, possibly as soon as Friday, a petition with the state Casino Control Commission formally asking the regulators to give Tropicana Entertainment back control over the casino-hotel.

The company plans to make the point that Yung, while still owning the company, has signed away his right to control it or influence it in any manner. It has appointed new management, including Atlantic City casino veterans, and a new board of directors.

"We will make the point that we are a brand new company in everything but the name," Butera said.

When the former owners were stripped of their casino license in December, that triggered the appointment of a trustee to oversee the casino-hotel until it could be sold to someone else. The trustee, retired state Supreme Court Justice Gary Stein, has identified Baltimore-based Cordish Company as a potential buyer of the Tropicana for $700 million in a bankruptcy court auction.

On Tuesday, Stein asked the casino commission for another month to complete a sale agreement by Nov. 12, and said he would recommend that it be executed.

Tropicana Entertainment said last week the casino is worth no less than $950 million, and would try to block a sale for less than that amount.

Copyright 2008 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Since: Feb 08

Location hidden

#2 Oct 8, 2008
This could Pinnacle's way out of the mess it's made in Atlantic City with thousands of unemployed and blocks of vacant land in its wake.

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