The Atlantic Club Casino Hotel has found buyers at a public auction, but those buyers have no intention of allowing gamblers to wager on dice, cards and slot machines.
Tropicana and Caesars have agreed to purchase the bankrupt casino for the combined sum of $23.4 million. However, the casino’s assets will be stripped, forcing a closure on Jan. 13 and leaving Atlantic City with 11 existing casinos.
Tropicana has agreed to pay $8.4 million for 48 table games and more than 1,600 slot machines, while Caesars will shell out $15 million for the property and hotel rooms. The deal won’t be finalized until a bankruptcy judge signs off on it at a Monday hearing, but indications are that an order will be entered.
Atlantic Club COO Michael Frawley expressed disappointment over the casino’s closing, telling AP that the “pace was unsustainable in the extremely challenging Atlantic City gaming market.”
That market opened to online gambling on November 26, leading many to believe that the value of the financially-strapped Atlantic Club had increased. But with seven New Jersey casinos already operating over a dozen online gambling sites, perhaps there was not room for another casino that couldn’t make a go of it in the live gaming sector.
Tropicana will be backing up the trucks to remove the slots and table games after Jan. 13, while Caesars plans to make use of the rest of the non-gambling assets at its four other Atlantic City casinos – Bally’s, Showboat, Harrah’s and Caesars Atlantic City. A Caesars spokesman said that the hotel will not be opened and that options will be considered on how best to utilize the property.
PokerStars made a bid for the Atlantic Club one year ago, agreeing to the purchase price of $15 million and paying $11 million toward that end. But failure to obtain interim casino authorization within a contractually specified time frame nixed the deal.
Overall casino revenue has been declining in Atlantic City for seven consecutive years. Pennsylvania took over 2nd place in land-based gaming revenue recently, a position New Jersey held behind first place Nevada for decades. With the Atlantic Club’s closing, Pennsylvania will now have more casino gaming establishments than New Jersey, at 12 to 11.