The Revel Atlantic City may get another shot to prove itself to New Jersey. When Revel opened in 2012, it was supposed to play a big part in the revitalization of Atlantic City. Governor Chris Christie even pushed through a proposal that allowed the state to invest 260 million dollars in the construction of the property.
The property, located directly on the AC Boardwalk, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2014. Over the three years in which the Revel was open, it racked up about 1.5 billion dollars in unpaid debts. After the Revel filed Chapter 11, its debts were consolidated and the property was put up for auction.
After a few small hiccups, Florida real estate investor Glenn Straub became the owner of Revel. Originally Straub was going to reopen Revel purely as a resort with typical hotel amenities. Now, Straub is seeking a NJ casino license and wants to run the property as a resort and casino. Kerry Langan, the spokesperson for the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (NJDGE), which also oversees the NJ online gambling industry, confirmed with the Associated Press that Straub’s application is under review.
Will Glenn Straub be approved for a NJ casino license?
The real question now is if Glenn Straub will meet the strict requirements that would allow him the license to operate a casino.
Straub has a reputation for being slightly eccentric, and this could potentially affect his approval from the state. Casino regulators require license recipients to be not only financially stable, but to show that they can run a casino competently as well.
In 2014 when Straub purchased Revel, he publicly claimed he had purchased the resort to build a tower and create his lifelong dream – a “university for geniuses.” He made statements claiming that if he failed to build the second tower he would implode the entire building.
In December, Straub was interviewed by the Press of Atlantic City. He made a statement acknowledging what people think:
“I’m a little eccentric about doing something that somebody else can’t do. I was put here to accomplish goals that other people can’t.”
How could the financial state of Atlantic City affect the opening of Revel?
In January, Straub estimated that the Revel would be open by June 2016, but the license review most likely will interfere with that.
Though there are many obstacles in the way of Straub’s casino license, it’s unlikely that his request gets denied outright. His purchase of the bankrupt resort did many favors for Atlantic City, and the property is huge – it spans over twenty acres. Finding a buyer for a monstrosity like that could prove terribly difficult, and having the second tallest building in NJ visibly abandoned is poor for morale.
It would absolutely be in the city’s best interest to have the property operating again. It seems extremely likely that even if Straub isn’t yet suitable for a casino license for some reason, the city will work with him to make that change and get Revel’s doors back open.