ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. – Revel Casino Hotel has announced it will shut its doors on Sept. 10. That's just two years after opening amid great hope it would help turn around Atlantic City's failing gambling market.
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But the casino never turned a profit, and its closing means the loss of 3,100 jobs.
Some questions and answers about Revel and Atlantic City:
Q: What will happen to Revel, and the other three soon-to-close Atlantic City casinos, for that matter?
A: The $2.4 billion casino hotel will shut down on Sept. 10; it will honor all reservations up until that time. Its owners still hope to attract a buyer through the bankruptcy process, while conceding that even if it happens, it would be after Revel has shut. Other former casino properties including the Claridge and the Atlantic Club have been bought by a Florida firm that plans to run them as non-gambling hotels. Richard Stockton College has long been interested in a campus in Atlantic City and could possibly acquire a casino building to do it.
Q: Why did Revel never really catch on with gamblers?
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A: From the outset, Revel saw itself as a different kind of casino: a multifaceted resort destination that just happened to have a casino as one of its bells and whistles. It eschewed casino staples like a buffet, bus trips for day-trippers interested in playing the slots for a few hours, and a high-rollers lounge (though it later added one). It also was the first casino in Atlantic City to ban smoking entirely (another policy that was later dropped). Those differences alienated many gamblers, something Revel realized a year later when it launched a "Gamblers Wanted" promotion and added the words "Casino Hotel" to its formal name.
Q: Can a new buyer still emerge somehow?
A: Yes, but it likely would happen after the property has already shut down. Revel Entertainment says it still hopes to attract a buyer through the bankruptcy process that can acquire and run it profitably. Though the company did not say so, one possibility would be for a buyer to acquire it as a non-gambling resort.
Q: What are the tax implications for the state and city budgets?
A: Like all Atlantic City casinos, Revel pays an 8 percent tax on its winnings to the state, which uses the money for prescription drug and transportation assistance to senior citizens. It also pays into a redevelopment fund for projects to be done in Atlantic City. And as one of four casinos to shut down this year, Revel's closing is helping blow a hole in the city's municipal budget, leading to $10 million in budget cuts in each of the next four years to make up for lost casino money.
Q: Can anything save Atlantic City now?
A: Yes, but it probably won't involve gambling. Atlantic City is betting its future on non-gambling attractions like restaurants, spas, shopping and top-named entertainment like the free Lady Antebellum and Blake Shelton concerts it recently held on the beach.