Some people may find it hard to understand why anybody would be interested in Atlantic City these days given how sad the town’s casino industry has become, but somehow, a number of operators are still looking to establish a presence there.
One company that has been sniffing around for the better part of a few years is Hard Rock International and recently, the Seminole Indian tribe of Florida-owned company appeared have renewed its interest in taking another shot at Atlantic City.
The tribe, through its Hard Rock franchise, made filings with state casino regulators indicating its intentions, even going so far as to ask New Jersey gambling regulators for a ruling on whether the tribe would need to get a casino license in the event it acquires a casino in Atlantic City or build one there.
Apparently, the state Division of Gaming Enforcement made things a little easier for the tribe, saying that it does not need to qualify for a license even though some executives from Hard Rock, including president and CEO James Allen, would have to.
This clarification could potentially clear the way for Hard Rock to make a long and hard push at acquiring Revel, the one casino that was supposed to jumpstart business in the AC when it opened in April 2012 only to see its fortunes sink faster than the Titanic, culminating in the embarrassing bankruptcy episode it found itself going through less than a year after it launched.
According to the Associated Press, Hard Rock’s filings indicated a plan to seek a statement of compliance, which in gambling parlance means a preliminary step to determine which companies need to seek and hold a casino license in a specific jurisdiction.
“That process allows an entity and persons associated with it to be investigated prior to an acquisition of a casino interest, and based on the investigation, they can be determined to meet certain licensure or qualification criteria,” Kerry Langan, a spokeswoman for the gambling division, told the AP.
“As an initial step, Hard Rock sought rulings as to the entities and individuals necessary for it to obtain a statement of compliance.”
Even before it expressed interest in purchasing Revel, Hard Rock has had a history of eyeing the Atlantic City gambling market, including plans to build a $500 million hotel and casino in 2011 that wold also include a musical history museum with rock ‘n’ roll memorabilia. But even before construction began on the project, the company pulled out of its plan because of the struggles Atlantic City was in at that time.
But now that Revel is said to be fielding offers from potential buyers in distressed asset sale, Hard Rock can get back into the Atlantic City scene with an establishment and facilities that are already built at a bargain relative to the $2.4 billion it cost to build the hotel and casino back in 2012.