When the Showboat re-opened as a hotel in 2016, you couldn’t help but notice that gambling was no longer a part of the property’s daily operations. That may change this year.
According to the Press of Atlantic City, Bart Blatstein, head of the development group that owns the Showboat, applied earlier this month for a statement of compliance from the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement. The application is the first step toward securing a casino license that would help Blatstein return the Showboat to its former gambling glory.
Blatstein provided the following eloquent commentary to the PoAC when asked about the application: “I’m just starting the process.”
A quick Showboat history lesson
The Showboat was one of five casinos that closed during Atlantic City’s disastrous 2014 casino contraction. That left AC’s finances in shambles and cleaved a hearty chunk off the treasure trove of nostalgia surrounding the city’s history.
Out of those severe ashes, only three properties will or already have re-opened: the Showboat, Ocean Resort Casino (the former Revel/Ten AC) and Hard Rock Atlantic City (formerly Trump Taj Mahal). The Showboat, however, re-opened as a hotel-only property.
What makes the Showboat’s hotel re-opening and the possible resurrection of its gaming floor unique are that it’s the only casino from the 2014 contraction that will, if all goes well, re-open under the same name it had when it shut down.
What the process entails for the Showboat
Filing a statement of compliance is something included in Article 6 of the New Jersey Casino Control Act (CCA). The section on statements of compliance notes that applicants ask for a statement of compliance as a preliminary green light to pursue a casino license.
Here’s the exact wording of the CCA regarding statements of compliance:
“Upon consideration of a report and recommendation of the division, the commission may, in its discretion, issue a statement of compliance to an applicant for a casino license or to any person required to qualify in conjunction with a casino license or casino license applicant if the applicant or person, as the case may be, has established by clear and convincing evidence that one or more particular eligibility criteria have been satisfied.”
The criteria required from the NJDGE isn’t known at this point. But, according to Article 6, should the NJDGE issue a statement of compliance, they’ll detail exactly which requirement(s) Blatstein’s property met. In addition, the NJDGE will list any further steps that need to be taken to prepare the property and its ownership for casino licensing.
Can Atlantic City sustain three more casinos?
There’s no telling when the Showboat would open its gaming floor, but there’s a good chance Atlantic City will have nine casinos when that day comes.
The assumed opening of the Hard Rock Atlantic City and Ocean Resort Casino this summer will split up Atlantic City’s gambling revenues, making all properties fight hard for dollars.
With the addition of a ninth casino, those revenue dollars will be even harder to come by. And it makes one wonder who will lose out when all the properties are running at their peak levels. Will the smaller casinos such as Resorts start to crumble or will the pack catch up to Borgata?
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