Atlantic City May Soon Have 10 Casinos!
The number of options for Atlantic City casino players will soon increase. As of this writing, there are still a lucky seven. But In a few months, Atlantic City could have as many as 10 casinos!
For now, Resorts remains the only open casino hotel at the north end of the Boardwalk, but it won’t be for long. By summer, at least two other casinos, and maybe three, will be welcoming players and bringing much needed new life and activity to this part of town. Hard Rock Hotel and Casino and Ocean Resort Casino are both moving full speed ahead in order to be ready when the big summer crowds come. That would, of course, would bring the number of Atlantic City casinos to nine. In addition, one more property is applying for a casino license, and if it is granted, Atlantic City will once again have 10 casinos.
No, we are not talking about TEN Casino. That will never happen because Glenn Straub, after sitting on the property formerly known as the Revel for months while refusing to apply for a license like all other Atlantic City casino owners, finally sold it on January 4, 2018 to AC OCEAN WALK for $200 million. However, Bart Blatstein, who bought the Showboat (previously a Caesars Entertainment owned casino hotel) from Stockton University in 2016, and reopened it in July of that year as just a hotel, now wants the casino back again!
The DGE Has Received Blatstein’s Application and is Now Considering It
One of the main reasons TEN never opened is that Straub adamantly refused to apply for a license. He claimed he didn’t need one because he was going to leave the actual running of the casino to a third party, despite the Casino Control Commission telling him otherwise. Straub even took his case to court, but lost. However, Blatstein knows that in order to open a casino on his property, a license is a must, and he has already taken the first step to try to get it.
Last month he submitted an application to the Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE), which now needs to determine whether Blatstein meets all of the eligibility requirements. After the DGE completes its investigation, the Casino Control Commission will then have the final say.
Then, assuming Blatstein is found eligible, he will have to apply for a casino operator’s license.
What Are the Chances of Showboat Opening and Succeeding as a Casino Hotel?
I think that the chances of Blatstein’s application being approved are very good. For starters, the area north of Resorts Casino Hotel Casino needs all the help it can get. Two casinos will certainly generate a lot of new traffic and business for the area, and three will generate even more and, of course, open up new opportunities for employment.
Owner with Impressive Real Estate Experience, but No Casino Experience
Blatstein not only has deep pockets; he brings to the table impressive credentials as a highly successful Philadelphia-based developer. For example, he created multiple mixed-use buildings offering offering both retail shopping and live entertainment in Philadelphia’s Northern Liberties section. It should be mentioned, however, that he has recently sold most of those properties.
In Atlantic City, in addition to buying the Showboat, Blatstein now owns many other properties. Among them are the Playground (formerly known as the Pier at Caesars), two lots (former volleyball courts) next to the Showboat, 12 more small lots along the Atlantic City inlet, and the Garden Pier (the former site of the Atlantic City Historical Museum).
This is obviously someone with plenty of money, big plans, and the potential to turn them into something great. But does he have what it takes to make Showboat a successful casino again?
At least one important attribute for success running a casino in Atlantic City (or anywhere) is missing. In striking contrast to the Hard Rock, Atlantic City owners, Blatstein lacks casino experience.
Would Three New Casinos Be Good for Atlantic City or Are 10 Casinos Too Many?
Obviously, the qualifications of the people running a casino are an important factor in determining its likelihood of succeeding. But apart from that, not everyone is enamored with the prospect of having more casinos in Atlantic City. Many people feel that what we have right now, seven casinos, is the perfect number, and that adding more could backfire and ultimately lead to another wave of casino closings.
While the reaction to Hard Rock coming to Atlantic City has been overwhelmingly positive, opinions are divided regarding the advisability of opening other new casinos. Will having 10 casinos benefit Atlantic City, or are 10 casinos too many? That is a topic for another article.
Meanwhile, it is certainly understandable that Showboat, despite existing nearly two years as a non-casino hotel, suddenly wants a casino, now that two neighboring properties will have one. Also, many older Atlantic City residents and visitors who have fond memories of staying and playing at the Showboat when it had a casino would love to see casino gambling there again.
If and when that will happen remains to be seen. But before 2018 is over, maybe as soon as this summer, there could be 10 casinos in Atlantic City!