Caesars Entertainment, the parent company of Showboat in Atlantic City, says it would be willing to part with the property and sell it as a casino.
The company announced last month that Showboat will be closings its doors on Aug. 31, resulting in the loss of more than 2,000 jobs. At the time, chairman and CEO Gary Loveman said that while the decision was regrettable, it was a “necessary step to help stabilize our business in Atlantic City and support the viability of our remaining operations in the vicinity.”
The Atlantic City locations of Harrah’s, Bally’s and Caesars are also owned by the company.
On Tuesday, company spokesperson Gary Thompson told NJBIZ that Caesars would indeed be willing to sell Showboat as a casino and that “preliminary inquiries” have already been fielded. Thompson, however, did not know how many or from whom.
According to the state Division of Gaming Enforcement, the 1,329-room casino turned a $34 million profit last year, down by 28 percent from 2012.
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Assemblyman Chris Brown (R-Linwood) held a news conference on the boardwalk outside of the casino on Tuesday, putting forth legislation intended to protect casino workers and calling on Caesars to sell the property to help keep it open and retain jobs.
Brown noted that while at the same time planning to close Showboat, Caesars currently has an $880 million proposal on the table to build a new casino in Woodbury, N.Y.
“They’re choosing to close a profitable casino while they’re choosing to spend $880 million to build a brand new casino in New York, which is competition to us,” Brown said.
News of the property’s anticipated closure comes at a particularly turbulent time for Atlantic City as another casino, the Atlantic Club, closed its doors at the beginning of the year and the newest casino to the market, Revel, announced last month that it had filed for bankruptcy for a second time.
With a five-year moratorium on casino expansion outside of Atlantic City set to expire near the end of 2015, Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-West Deptford) and Gov. Chris Christie have each noted in the last two weeks that they’d be interested in having a conversation about exploring gaming options elsewhere, including a North Jersey location like the Meadowlands.
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