New Jersey Casino Commission Approves Hard Rock Atlantic City Ownership Deal

Posted on: December 20, 2017, 12:00h. 

Last updated on: December 20, 2017, 10:44h.

The Hard Rock Atlantic City ownership structure and management agreement has received the blessing of the New Jersey Casino Control Commission (CCC), a key development in keeping the former Trump Taj Mahal on track for a summer 2018 opening.

Hard Rock Atlantic City Casino Control
Joe Jingoli, Jim Allen, and Jack Morris, the three executives in control of Hard Rock Atlantic City’s overhaul, all have New Jersey roots, which will be bearing fruit once the former Trump Taj Mahal opens next summer. (Image: Jeff Fusco/Associated Press)

During a meeting yesterday in Atlantic City, the CCC’s three-member board unanimously approved allowing Boardwalk 1000 LLC to own the property, while Hard Rock International will be responsible for its gaming operations.

Boardwalk 1000 is the entity formed by Hard Rock and private investors Jack Morris and Joe Jingoli. Because Hard Rock doesn’t fully own the Boardwalk resort, the Florida-based company owned by the Seminole Tribe had to submit and gain approval from the CCC.

For the Commission to accept such an arrangement, both entities must obtain casino licenses from the state, and the gambling operator must own at least a 10 percent stake in the resort. Boardwalk 1000 and Hard Rock have both recently applied for those licenses.

About Jack and Joe

New Jersey officials were more than happy to learn that Jack Morris and Joe Jingoli were involving themselves in the revitalization of Atlantic City and the purchase of the Taj Mahal. Garden State natives, the two businessmen are successful real estate developers who have invested throughout the state.

Jingoli lived in Atlantic City for many years, and his firm, Joseph Jingoli and Son, is the contractor for Stockton University’s $220 million Atlantic City Gateway Project. The residential campus, academic building, and business complex is being built on the site of the old Atlantic City High School.

Hard Rock Atlantic City, which is currently undergoing a massive renovation to transform the former Taj’s minarets and onion domes into a rock ‘n’ roll-themed resort, isn’t Jingoli’s first experience working with a casino. The developer has assisted in various gaming venue projects, including Upstate New York’s Seneca Niagara, and Pennsylvania’s Sands Bethlehem and Parx Casino.

Morris specializes in residential and commercial real estate, with a focus on developing financially challenged communities. The chance to help Atlantic City was a no-brainer, and one that he feels very confident about.

“This is going to be a game-changer,” Morris said last summer. “Not just for Atlantic City, but for the people of New Jersey.”

Both Jingoli and Morris believe conventions are key in revitalizing the oceanfront town. They hope the large corporations located in Philadelphia and New York City will be enticed by Atlantic City’s new amenities, which are accessible via a short drive compared to a flight to Las Vegas or elsewhere.

Finally, Hard Rock CEO Jim Allen is certainly no stranger to Atlantic City, as the gaming executive grew up washing dishes in the seaside town. He now works in Florida where the Seminoles are located, but says he’ll be in Atlantic City often.

Hard Rock Future

When Hard Rock opens next summer, the reimagined resort will offer 2,400 slot machines and 130 table games, 2,000-room hotel, concert venue for seating up to 7,000, and convention space to accommodate both large and small events.

Throughout the property, visitors will find “museum-like displays adorning the walls” featuring memorabilia from musicians and artists who call New Jersey home.