Casinos Tossing Snake Eyes

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#1 Jan 30, 2009
Business
Casinos tossing snake eyes
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J.— One casino in the nation’s second-largest gambling market is being run by a state trustee, another may be foreclosed on and three others are staring down bankruptcy.
BY WAYNE PARRY
ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: Friday, January 30, 2009 4:15 AM EST
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J.— One casino in the nation’s second-largest gambling market is being run by a state trustee, another may be foreclosed on and three others are staring down bankruptcy.

Hope for Atlantic City always seemed to keep flickering, though, as long as Revel Entertainment forged ahead building a $2 billion casino and hotel.

No more. The company this week laid off 400 of its 1,100 workers and stopped work on the interior of Revel, its first-ever project, reflecting the broad decline under way in national and global gambling markets.

“This is a blow to Atlantic City’s psyche,” said Joe Weinert, senior vice president of Spectrum Gaming Group, a New Jersey casino consulting firm.“After enduring a series of difficulties throughout 2008, Revel stood out as a rising symbol of better times to come in the very near future.

“Unfortunately for the city and its gaming industry, the project — like many others from Las Vegas to Connecticut to Macau — is a victim of the recession,” he said.“The good news is that Revel seems committed to ultimately seeing this project through.”

This week’s cuts add Revel — an Atlantic City company partnered with Wall Street’s Morgan Stanley — to a long list of companies that hoped to participate in the biggest expansion of gambling in Atlantic City since it was legalized here 31 years ago. Gambling’s decline in Atlantic City is almost as pronounced as in Las Vegas, home to the world’s four largest gambling companies.

In Atlantic City, Pinnacle Entertainment has been sitting on prime Boardwalk real estate since it imploded the historic Sands Casino Hotel in October 2007. The project is on indefinite hold, and Pinnacle has said it might sell the land if a buyer materialized.

“Even when the markets recover — and we don’t know when that will happen — Atlantic City will face some real long-term challenges, including the new competition in Pennsylvania, New York and elsewhere,” said Pinnacle spokeswoman Pauline Yoshihashi.

MGM Mirage Inc. has shelved plans to build a $5 billion casino-hotel complex on land next to the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City’s marina district that would have been the city’s largest.

Copyright © 2009 - The Times-Tribune

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