Glenn Straub says through his attorney that he wants to make Atlantic City great again, but the state’s delaying of his hotel’s permit is preventing him from reopening the Revel Casino under the new moniker TEN.
Taking a slogan out of President-elect Donald Trump’s campaign playbook, Straub attorney David Stefankiewicz tells the Associated Press, “Mr. Straub has spent a lot of time, effort and money in trying to make Atlantic City great again. He remains ready, willing and able to open the casino.”
But the New Jersey Casino Control Commission (CCC) continues to assess Straub’s petition to make TEN a hotel-only property. Revel, which cost $2.4 billion to construct but was sold in bankruptcy to Straub for $82 million in 2015, comes with a restriction that mandates the property house a casino.
Straub says he’s a “hands-off” owner who will serve as a landlord leasing the property to a third-party, and therefore shouldn’t be required to hold a gambling license to operate the facility as a hotel. However, Straub has applied for a gaming license, but the CCC’s review has dragged on for months.
“Instead of creating roadblock after roadblock, the agency should be doing everything in its power to facilitate getting this casino opened,” Stefankiewicz explained. “Doing business here should not be this hard.”
The CCC had no comment other than to say it hadn’t yet been served with the lawsuit.
Straub’s Tough Job
Straub’s Florida-based company is quickly growing tired of the regulatory structure surrounding New Jersey’s casino industry.
In August, Straub said, “I can’t believe how much bureaucracy there is in this state. This is exactly what New Jersey is known for. This state stinks.”
He threatened to abandon the property, but local officials took the warning as a bluff. Straub has at least $100 million invested in TEN, and has constructed a ropes endurance course and 13-floor bicycle attraction.
The state’s Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA) said during the summer that Straub hadn’t adequately demonstrated new traffic patterns for the property in order to obtain a permit. Straub and Stefankiewicz believe the CCC and CRDA are overreaching.
“Does it matter what the nature of the business being conducted is?” Stefankiewicz asked. “Does a mall owner control the business of its tenants like Macy’s or Dick’s or GAP or Annie’s or any other tenant?”
Straub need not look far to find a similar former casino vying to become a non-gaming establishment.
Caesars closed the Showboat in 2014 despite the gambling floor still turning a profit in order to reduce competition at its other Atlantic City casinos. Stockton University purchased the property with plans of turning it into a satellite campus, but the neighboring Trump Taj Mahal vetoed those ideas due to the gaming clause between the two properties.
Stockton then sold the Showboat to Bart Blatstein, a Philadelphia developer who was able to convince Taj owner Carl Icahn to release the deed restriction.
Hotel guests began arriving at the Showboat in July, and the resort is catering to the family over the gambler, as well as the family’s furry friends. The Showboat prides itself as being pet-friendly and even offers a “Boardwalk Bow-Wow” package for four-legged visitors.