Final bids to acquire the Revel Casino in Atlantic City must be submitted by Aug. 4, with a bankruptcy auction scheduled three days later.
That auction will only take place if more than one acceptable bidder tosses his name into the hat. If no qualified bids are received, it appears that yet another New Jersey casino will bite the dust.
This year has not been kind to the Atlantic City gaming industry. The Atlantic Club closed in January following bankruptcy proceedings. Next in line are the Showboat and Trump Plaza, both slated to close within the next month and a half.
Should the Revel follow suit, that would make 1/3 of the land-based industry gone within a span of nine months. Lawmakers have requested that state gaming regulators delay the closings of Trump Plaza and Showboat to allow more time for buyers to be found.
It’s purely speculation on my part, but perhaps one of those buyers may be Amaya Inc. Following the purchase of Rational Group that includes PokerStars and Full Tilt that is scheduled for completion next month, Amaya appears poised to gain licensed approval to operate online poker and gambling in the Garden State.
What better way to establish a greater presence in Atlantic City both live and online than to own and operate a land-based casino? That was the intent of PokerStars last year when an agreement to buy the Atlantic Club was snuffed due to a legal loophole.
But with Amaya expected to assume control of PokerStars shortly and the Scheinbergs ready to sail off into the sunset, the scenario is completely different and ripe for Amaya to pluck one of those casinos from the muck of the Atlantic City gaming industry. What’s a few million more for a shuttered casino after acquiring Rational Group for $4.9 billion?
Anyway, that’s an area of high finance that is perhaps better left to those who deal with all those zeros on a regular basis. But it is fun to speculate what might happen in the future considering the state of the gaming industry in Atlantic City. That speculation includes the likely arrival of PokerStars with the label of bad actor no longer attached (at least in New Jersey) thanks to Amaya’s purchase.
Atlantic City is in the midst of a revitalization plan that was given five years to succeed by Gov. Chris Christie in 2011. With the threat of a handful of casino closings looming, it appears that plan is regressing rather than progressing after three years time. Can Amaya come to the rescue?