In terms of success, Atlantic City's former Revel casino was a zero.
Continue Reading Below
If it had a number, it was a negative: It went bankrupt twice and then shut down in 2014, never having come close to turning a profit.
But new owner Glenn Straub hopes to swing the pendulum all the way in the other direction by renaming the casino resort Ten and reopening it in the first quarter of 2017.
Straub said his first choice for a name was Zen, in keeping with the Asian high rollers he hopes to attract to a reopened casino.
But when consultants suggested the name Ten, "it all seemed to fit. Remember Bo Derek," Straub said of the actress/model known for her breakout role in the movie "Ten."
Straub, a Florida developer, also adopted the double-loop infinity symbol as the logo for the rebranded resort, which he bought out of bankruptcy court for $82 million, or about 5 cents on the dollar.
He has also hired Revel's former chief financial officer Alan Greenstein to fill the same role in the reopened Ten.
"I know what works and what did not, and would not have returned if not for Ten's strong forecasted financial model and all-star executive team," Greenstein said. "It is the most spectacular resort that I have seen in my career and I am determined to make it a success."
The new name could create some interesting wrinkles for gambling regulators and customers alike, including the prospect of having casino chips in the denominations of $1, $5, $25 and $100 stamped with the word "Ten" in their center.
On Tuesday afternoon, Straub got a key approval from the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority that moved it closer to getting final clearance to reopen — but only after Straub accused the agency of "blackmail" by trying to tie the approval to a requirement that he pay $100,000 in assessments toward a special downtown business district.
His voice quavering, Straub promised to fight the agency for years in court if it tried to insist on the payment as a condition of approval.
"A hundred thousand dollars — my polo team costs more than that a month," he said. "I'll fight it till my dying day."
Straub's attorney noted that he is already challenging the assessments in court, and promised to pay whatever amount a judge decides is due.
The agency then granted approval of the casino's site plans; Ten still needs a certificate of occupancy from the city.
The rebranding comes after numerous false starts and missed deadlines in the quest to reopen the resort, which shut down on Sept. 2, 2014. Straub had promised to have the hotel portion of Revel up and running by June 15, but had to scrap those plans because he had not yet received a certificate of occupancy for the property and because state casino regulators told him he had to apply for a casino license like all the other casino operators in town.
Straub said that since he planned to hire others to actually run the casino, he did not need to be licensed.
And a battle with the owners of the complex's power plant over how much Straub should pay for service at a reopened Revel took up most of 2015. He ended it by simply buying the power plant.
Follow Wayne Parry at http://twitter.com/WayneParryAC