The failed Revel casino has yet to execute a sale of the property. But its outstanding tax bill at least will be bought, at Revel’s typical deep discount. The $32.5 million tax lien against the shuttered Revel casino that failed to sell at a city tax sale this month will be bought by Wells Fargo in a settlement for $26 million, Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian said Monday.
Held hostage for a year by hope that they might snag a casino license, two pieces of prime central Philadelphia real estate lost that gamble this week – but may yet cash in, as all eyes await Plan B for both locations in a hot downtown market.
Developers who had proposed casinos at Eighth and Market Streets and the former Inquirer Building at Broad and Callowhill Streets said they had no alternate plans after learning Tuesday that the city’s second gaming license would instead go to a site near the sports arenas in South Philadelphia.
But with new apartment and retail development deals being inked virtually every week in and around Center City without public subsidy, it should not be long before new plans are hatched for both, as long as property owners agree to quick action, officials and market watchers said.
One top city official said market conditions were so favorable to development that the Nutter administration would have little patience if movement were not swift at one of the locations, which has remained inert for two decades as repeated plans have fizzled: the open-air lot at Eighth and Market owned by Ken Goldenberg and other investors.
ATLANTIC CITY – Standard & Poor’s downgraded Atlantic City’s credit rating from A-minus to BBB-plus on Monday, citing mainly the closing of four of 12 casinos this year.
The downgrade, which includes a negative outlook for the city, comes as Atlantic City is struggling with the loss of tax revenue because of the closures.
Combined, the shuttered gambling halls – Atlantic Club, Showboat, Revel and Trump Plaza, which closed last Tuesday – generated about $75 million in property tax revenue last year. A fifth – Trump Taj Mahal – may close in November.
Revel AC Inc. said in a bankruptcy court filing Wednesday that it had reached a deal to sell its $2.4 billion Atlantic City property to South Florida developer Glenn Straub for $90 million in cash.
The deal was reached Friday, according to the filing. That was less than a week after Revel closed, putting nearly 3,000 people out of work.
The offer is less than 4 percent of the casino’s original price tag.
“It’s not going to be just a casino,” Straub said. “There’s four people that would make excellent casino operators, but that building is much, much more than just a casino.”
The purge of Atlantic City‘s weakest casinos continued Tuesday, as Trump Entertainment Resorts Inc. filed for bankruptcy in Delaware, a week before it plans to close Trump Plaza, putting a fifth Atlantic City casino in danger of closing this year.
After a previous bankruptcy in 2010, during which Donald Trump lost control of the company to hedge funds, Trump Entertainment attempted to retool its operations, but failed to increase revenue and profits, the company’s chief executive, Robert Griffin, said in a court filing Tuesday.
Operating losses at Trump Entertainment, which also owns Trump Taj Mahal, soared from $5.1 million last year to $25.7 million in the first six months of this year, Griffin said. That put the company in a cash crunch.
The Atlantic City region is on the brink of a short-term economic disaster.
Atlantic City made history 36 years ago when it opened the first legal casinos in the United States outside Las Vegas.
Now it’s doing so again as casino employment – which for years exceeded the number of city residents – drops precipitously after a decade of steady decline.
The closing of three casinos, starting with Showboat and Revel this weekend followed by Trump Plaza two weeks later, and the rapid-fire loss of 5,700 jobs, draw historic comparisons to longer-term collapses of U.S. industries such as steel.
The closure of three Atlantic City casinos by mid-September will wipe $2 billion from the city’s property-tax values next year, exacerbating the already cash-strapped city’s financial plight, Mayor Don Guardian warned Tuesday.
By 2017, Guardian said on a conference call to discuss Atlantic City’s way forward as a tourism center following the rout of its casino industry, property values are expected to have fallen to as little as $7.5 billion from $20 billion five years ago.
In the short term, Guardian said the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs has made money “available for some bridge loans to make sure that the city continues functioning with this year’s budget because of any concern that we might have that a casino’s closing, going bankrupt might hold off payments.”
ATLANTIC CITY, NJ – This resort faces the prospect of having four major vacancies on its famed Boardwalk come mid-September.
The grim reality sank in July 14 when Trump Plaza issued layoff notices and targeted Sept. 16 as the date to cease operating as a casino.
Perception is reality in tourism, experts say, and the Boardwalk is synonymous with Atlantic City. How will four hulking, empty buildings sit with visitors – especially at night – and will they impede tourism when Atlantic City needs it the most?
“When an area goes dark, and there are increased vacancies, it generally sends out more than a subtle message that things are not promising on the horizon,” said Don Moliver, dean of the Leon Hess Business School at Monmouth University.
Bethlehem police Chief Mark DiLuzio remembers the critics.
Debates raged about whether Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem would be a benefit or detriment to the city and its surrounding communities. DiLuzio, then a police lieutenant, gave in to his detective spirit and researched the subject.
Much of what he found indicated casinos were not a hotbed of criminal activity.
Five years later, DiLuzio is now chief of police — and he’s happy to report that he was right.
The owners of The Meadows Racetrack and Casino accepted a $465 million offer on Wednesday to sell the Washington County gaming business off Interstate 79 at a time when revenue is falling as competition for gambling dollars is growing across the region.
Las Vegas-based Cannery Casino Resorts, which opened The Meadows in 2007 when few casinos operated locally, agreed to the cash and equity deal with Gaming and Leisure Properties Inc., a Berks County-based real estate investment trust that owns property associated with 22 casinos.
The deal is subject to approval from the state Gaming Control Board and Racing Commission and is expected to close next year.
Gaming and Leisure Properties, the nation’s first casino-focused real estate investment trust, formed last year to hold the real estate of Penn National Gaming Inc. and acquire more properties.
A Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind poll finds 41 percent of respondents would support smoking marijuana recreationally if it became legal. That compares with only 32 percent who support gambling over the Internet, which is legal in New Jersey now.
The poll finds support for online gambling has fallen, even as it enters its third full month and more than 150,000 online gambling accounts have been set up in the state.
“The public’s attitude was, for several years, warming up to online gambling,” said poll director Krista Jenkins. “But there has been a clear change in direction now that the practice has actually been legalized. Part of the public has always shown deep reluctance to make gambling so accessible in their own homes. Now that it is in fact legal, they may be more concerned than ever.”
From 2009 through 2012, Pennsylvania collected more money from casino gambling taxes than any other state. The four-year total was $5.4 billion.
Because it keeps almost half the money casinos win from gamblers – more than all but a couple of states – Pennsylvania’s casino tax revenue even topped the combined totals of Nevada and New Jersey, long the two biggest gambling states, from 2009 through 2012.
But in the 12 months ended June 30, Pennsylvania’s total take of $1.41 billion was 2.8 percent less than the $1.44 billion the year before, as the spread of casinos in Maryland, Ohio, and New York turned the tables on Pennsylvania.
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) – Atlantic City’s 12 casinos saw their collective earnings fall by nearly 45 percent in the second quarter of 2013, state regulators said Thursday.
According to figures released by the state Division of Gaming Enforcement, the casinos made just over $65 million in profits during the second quarter, down from nearly $118 million in the same period last year.
The biggest gain was posted by the Tropicana Casino and Resort, whose quarterly profits were up nearly 28 percent to $12.6 million.
Caesars Atlantic City had a quarterly profit of $24.2 million, up 17.4 percent from last year’s second-quarter profit of $20.6 million. Four of the 12 casinos posted operating losses in April, May and June.
ATLANTIC CITY — Can this casino resort be saved?
Over Memorial Day weekend, it was easy to see all is not well here. Eight of the 12 casinos predate the mid-1980s — carpets are grungy, paint is chipping off the walls, and far fewer employees are working the gaming floors.
As the sun broke through after a blustery Friday and Saturday, the Sunday crowds picked up on the Boardwalk. By midafternoon, it teemed with strollers and patrons at the outdoor restaurants.
But parking was available at several casino garages, a telltale sign it was not the hoped-for blockbuster weekend. Business volume varied among properties.
At the newer Borgata, for example, there was a waiting list in the poker room and a steady stream of traffic throughout the casino. At the barely year-old Revel, which just emerged from bankruptcy and opened new smoking lounges Friday, the sixth-floor casino parking level was filled with cars for the first time. At dowdy Trump Plaza, meanwhile, an older generation half-filled the intimate gaming floor, and people in their 20s and 30s packed its outdoor beach bar.
When it comes to gambling meccas, you might want to start counting Pennsylvania among them.
Pennsylvania casinos generated more tax revenue last year than those in any other state and more gross revenue than any state but Nevada, according to a national American Gaming Association report released Monday.
The “State of the States: The AGA Survey of Casino Entertainment” found that the commonwealth’s 11 casinos produced nearly $1.5 billion in tax revenue in 2012, up 2.1 percent from the previous year. Nevada placed second at $868.6 million and New York third at $822.7 million.
Pennsylvania also was first in 2011.
PHILADELPHIA — Gross revenue from Pennsylvania’s 11 casinos rose 4.4 percent last year to more than $3.1 billion, further cementing the state’s status as the second-largest U.S. gambling market as the Atlantic City market saw another decline.
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board reported the state’s 11 casinos brought in nearly $3.16 billion in gross revenue from slot machines and table games last year, up from just over $3 billion in 2011. The figures were boosted by growth in table games, which generated $687.4 million in gross revenue last year, up about 11 percent from the year before. Earlier this month, the state reported revenues from slot machines in 2012 were $2.47 billion, up about 2.7 percent from 2011.
It’s a river city with quaint Victorian architecture once known for its pioneering manufacturing processes that gave America the industrial might to fight its wars.
But now, it’s re-imagining itself as a “knowledge corridor,” thanks to nearby colleges, and possibly as an entertainment center as gaming companies circle for a place to put a new casino.
That might sound a lot like Bethlehem.
As leaders there begin to dive into the details of reinventing the greater Springfield area, they are looking at Bethlehem as it enters its fourth year hosting a casino and the rest of the Lehigh Valley for advice and inspiration.
Editor’s note: Great to see this money benefit the taxpayers of Pennsylvania!
The city was left out of the local share of taxes on the casino’s thousands of slot machines, but came away with a 25 percent cut of local table gaming taxes. The games — poker, blackjack and more than a dozen other options — remain a fraction of the tens of millions poured into Sands’ slot machines, but the casino’s tables are the most popular in the state and show no sign of slowing down.
The city budgeted $560,000 in table games money this year, a slight uptick from 2011’s $530,000 haul, yet Easton could see more than $700,000 if the boom in south Bethlehem continues. Through the first two quarters this year, Sands shunted $336,000 into Easton’s coffers and the table games at Sands remain the state’s highest grossing.
“We are definitely getting more than we expected,” Easton Finance Director Chris Heagele said.
Tuesday’s official announcement that Connecticut-based Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority, via its consulting arm, Mohegan Gaming Advisors, will assume management of Resorts Casino-Hotel seems to be a case of not seeing the forest for the trees.
It’s certainly big news that the financially beleaguered gaming hall — the oldest legal casino east of Nevada — has exponentially increased its chances for long-term survival via the newly forged partnership with Mohegan Sun (which is pending state regulatory approval), as well as through the recently consummated deal that will turn a sizable portion of Resorts real estate over to Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville brand. But there is a much larger picture here.
For all the of the “experts’” braying about Atlantic City’s gambling industry suffering a terminal case of competitionitis, the fact is that AyCee has recently seen a large infusion of investments – upwards of $200 million, not including Revel’s $2.4 billion price tag.
If the town were indeed “dying,” why would such big-time outfits as Mohegan Sun, Margaritaville and Golden Nugget expend so many resources, financial and otherwise, on the seaside resort? We can assume the folks running these companies are not completely clueless and incompetent. Which leaves the possibility that the smart money sees a rosy future for Atlantic City as a big-time destination.
PHILADELPHIA. PA (AP) — Pennsylvania’s gross slot machine revenue was up 3.4 percent in May over the year before, boosted by the second full month of play at Valley Forge Casino Resort in suburban Philadelphia. Existing casinos, meanwhile, saw a modest rise after they registered just the third such monthly decline in April.
The state’s 11 casinos — including Valley Forge, which opened March 31 — collected $212.5 million in gross slots revenue in May, an increase over $205.5 million from the same period the year before, according to revenue figures released Monday by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. The 10 existing casinos that were open in both May 2011 and May 2012 saw an increase of 1.5 percent, a month after their gross slots revenue had dipped .6 percent.
Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem showed the most growth in May, pulling in $25.1 million in gross slots revenue, an increase of 11.2 percent over May 2011. The state’s second-newest facility, Sugarhouse Casino in Philadelphia, wasn’t far behind: It reported $16.4 million in gross revenue, an increase of just less than 10 percent.