Atlantic City’s Revel Casino location has had its doors shut for quite some time now. Despite the seeming inactivity, there is a lot of behind the scenes work going on right now to get the facility to once again host casino games, shows, and plenty more. Today, that effort was dealt another blow as the developer hoping to get the site back on its feet was just ruled against by the New Jersey Casino Control Commission.
Glenn Straub was today informed that even though he plans on handing over the site’s operational reigns to a different company, he himself still has to be licensed by the state.
Straub, in an effort to not allow his own company to become subject to New Jersey’s gaming regulations, was hoping to be able to hand over control of the company to another business. Unfortunately, the state is in no hurry to skirt regulations even if the potential economic benefits for the city are huge. In a statement following the meeting, Casino Control Commission chairman Matt Levinson was quoted as saying, “I recognize the social and economic benefits that reopening a casino hotel would have, but the environment in Atlantic City does not change the requirements of the Casino Control Act.”
Straub responded in a way by saying that he plans on continuing his legal battle. Straub does, technically, own the land, so his plans to open up spas and restaurants by the end of February is still going to go forward as planned. Unfortunately for him and the gambling public, Casino Control Board members made it very clear that no element of gambling is going to be taking place on the property anytime soon.
For some background, Straub acquired the Revel property almost 2 years ago in bankruptcy court. At that time, he paid just over $80 million for a property that cost nearly $2.5 billion to build. So to say he got a deal would be an understatement. Since then, however, the man has been met with roadblocks at every attempt to reopen the casino aspect of the property. He has harsh words for the mounds of regulations and red tape that must be navigated, and clearly does not want to play ball with the state. At this point, it seems as though Straub is in a lose-lose situation. Unless he bows down to the state’s demands, he will never have a casino on the property. And clearly, even despite Atlantic City’s well-documented financial struggles, the state is not willing to bend the rules solely to help Straub reopen this site. After all, that would set a precedent of sorts and would do well to really muddy the waters of what it takes to legally open a casino in Atlantic City.
As we venture further into the year it is a certainty that this topic will come up again. Straub is not willing to quit, and being that he has a mountain to climb it seems as though the battle is just getting underway.