The Revel Casino will likely be under new ownership later this month as a bid of $90 million has been accepted.
That amount represents the lowest that the current owners would take and may not be the final offer. A deadline of Sept. 23 has been established that allows other bidders an opportunity to trump the $90 million bid of Polo North Country Club Inc.
Polo president Glenn Straub develops real estate out of a home base in Florida and told the Wall Street Journal that the Revel needs “a new direction.” Whether that direction consists of gambling was not made clear.
Two lesser bids received
Bids were also received from Carl Icahn, as well as Alex Meruelo’s California-based Meruelo Group. Should those bidders or any others wish to come in with higher offers than $90 million, they have 13 days remaining before an auction hearing that is slated for Sept. 24.
Icahn also is said to have his eye on the casinos owned by Trump Entertainment —Trump Plaza and the Trump Taj Mahal. The former is set to shut down on Sept. 16, while the latter may bite the dust in November, according to the latest reports.
A purchase agreement between Straub and Revel has been signed that calls for $10 million to be placed in escrow while the clock ticks on the deadline for higher offers. Such offers may come into play for the Revel that opened in 2012 following an investment of $2.4 billion.
Revel tops spate of casino closings
The Revel closed its doors to gamblers on Sept. 2, two days after the Showboat Casino did likewise. Including the Atlantic Club shutdown in January, Atlantic City is now down to nine operating casinos. That number will be reduced further in the near future when the Trump properties follow suit as anticipated.
The Revel never managed to operate in the black after its much-ballyhooed grand opening two years ago. High construction costs, elaborate plans, a nationwide recession, and over-saturation of casinos on the East Coast are reasons pointed to by those looking to play the blame game.
State officials taking action
In an effort to devise a new strategy for the struggling Atlantic City gaming industry, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie fronted a summit on Monday that saw lawmakers and business leaders convene to discuss solutions. One result of that summit saw Christie approve a directive allowing the state’s racetracks and casinos to accept wagers on sporting events.
That decision follows the approval and launch of Internet gambling last November. Online casino and poker sites in New Jersey have been operating for 10 months, providing much-needed revenue to offset declining land-based gaming revenue totals in recent years.
Legalized online gambling and sports betting will certainly help. Another option likely to be given serious consideration is casino expansion beyond Atlantic City. The state’s northern section that includes the Meadowlands Sports Complex has often been mentioned as a favorable and likely site for a new casino.