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Failed Atlantic City casino is sold, could reopen in months

Wayne Parry, Associated Press | 1/9/2018, 6:41 a.m.
Atlantic City's most spectacular casino flop is getting another chance under new ownership and a new name.
In this May 21, 2012 photo, stacks of chips sit on a gambling table at the former Revel casino in Atlantic City N.J. On Monday Jan. 8, 2018, Colorado developer Bruce Deifik announced he has bought the shuttered casino from Straub for $200 million, and plans to reopen it in summer 2018. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)

Straub, a Polo-loving multimillionaire, bought it for $82 million from bankruptcy court and then fought with state officials over whether he needed a casino license. He said Monday he bought Revel "to keep and not to sell." But he quickly tangled with government regulations at the local and state levels that he said frustrated his plans to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to help redevelop Atlantic City.

Straub sold the property for $118 million more than he paid for it, but he incurred large expenses while keeping it closed.

But what Straub described as burdensome red tape are rules that all Atlantic City's other casino owners comply with. And a significant portion of his expenses involved legal fees incurred in fighting government regulations with which he disagreed.

Straub said he retains more than 60 Atlantic City properties, with which he plans to "be a spark for catalyzing positive economic movement in Atlantic City."

The closest he got to reopening Revel came with the partial installation of a rope-climbing course in what used to be the casino's port cochere area. But even that modest venture failed and was ripped out while half-finished.

Before settling on a reopened casino and hotel, Straub floated a wide variety of proposed uses for the property. They included a water park; condominiums; a health-themed spa; an equestrian facility; a so-called "tower of geniuses" where the world's top minds would gather to tackle society's problems, and a temporary home for Syrian refugees. -- (AP)