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It's official: Showboat closing in August, more than 2,000 jobs will be lost

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The Showboat in Atlantic City will officially close at the end of August.
The Showboat in Atlantic City will officially close at the end of August. - (AARON HOUSTON)

Showboat Atlantic City Casino will close its doors Aug. 31, according to the official announcement Friday by parent company Caesars Entertainment Corp.

The move will put more than 2,000 people out of work.

"While we regret the impact that this decision will have on our Showboat associates, we believe this is a necessary step to help stabilize our business in Atlantic City and support the viability of our remaining operations in the vicinity," Gary Loveman, chairman and CEO of Caesars Entertainment said in a prepared statement Friday.

He pointed to the freefalling gaming revenue in Atlantic City, which has declined by more than $3 billion since 2006. The statement also said that was “exacerbated by the high property tax burden in Atlantic City.”

“The dynamic in Atlantic City has led us to the difficult but necessary decision to close Showboat in an effort to help stabilize our business there and support the viability of our remaining operations in the vicinity,” Loveman said. “We sincerely appreciate the service, dedication and professionalism shown by the employees of the Showboat over the years to provide our customers with incredible experiences.”

RELATED: Showboat casino warns of potential closure, union official says

Besides Showboat, a 27-year-old Mardi Gras-themed resort, Caesars also owns Harrah’s, Caesars and Bally’s in Atlantic City and is the resort’s largest operator of gaming halls.

Word of the closing comes after the Atlantic Club ceased operations on Jan. 13, becoming the city's first gaming hall to close in seven years. And last week, the owners of the Revel Casino Hotel filed for bankruptcy protection for the second time and said it could close by mid-August if they can’t find a buyer for the underperforming property.

Executives with Las Vegas-based Caesars have said in recent months that they were considering closing one of their gaming halls.

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Friday’s statement said Caesars is offering assistance to displaced Showboat employees, including providing preference for available positions at its three remaining Atlantic City properties and sister properties in the region.

The company said it has not yet determined what will become of the property and land, but that it intends to collaborate with city and state officials as it evaluates alternative uses.

Data from state regulators show it's been in the middle of the pack in the city's ailing casino industry, pulling in $193 million in total winnings last year. That total marked a 14 percent decline from 2012.

The 1,329-room property still has turned a profit — $34 million in 2013 — but that was down 28 percent from 2012, according to the Division of Gaming Enforcement.

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Joshua Burd

Joshua Burd

Josh Burd covers real estate, economic development and sports and entertainment. Before joining NJBIZ in 2011, he spent four years as a metro reporter in Central Jersey. His email is joshb@njbiz.com and he is @JoshBurdNJ on Twitter.

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