Straub, who purchased the bankrupt Revel casino hotel in 2015 and subsequently rebranded it as TEN, appeared at a meeting of the New Jersey Casino Control Commission (CCC) on Tuesday, where he learned he wouldn’t receive an exemption from the state’s casino licensure requirements.
Straub sued the CCC in November, arguing that since he intends to delegate TEN’s gaming operations to a third-party management company, he is effectively a landlord, not a casino operator. As such, he felt he shouldn’t be required to submit himself and his companies to the standard regulatory poking and prodding in order to determine his suitability to operate in AC.
CCC chairman Matthew Levinson said the regulator recognized “the social and economic benefits” that AC will derive from taking Revel/TEN out of mothballs, “but the environment in Atlantic City does not change the requirements of the Casino Control Act.” Levinson said the CCC “would turn the Casino Control Act on its head” if it bent the rules for Straub.
Claiming that “the red tape here never stops,” Straub vowed to appeal Tuesday’s ruling. Straub accused the CCC of “hurting this community” and openly wondered who would bother investing hundreds of millions of dollars to operate in AC, “other than those who are already pregnant?”
Straub said he will press forward with plans to open TEN as a hotel on February 20, but AC’s director of licensing and inspection Dale Finch pointed out that the property still needed to obtain a mercantile license and be subjected to health inspections. Finch said Straub “can open the building right now but can’t do business in it.”
David Rebuck, director of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, echoed Finch’s concerns, noting that the vendors Straub hired to run TEN’s gaming operations haven’t yet received their licenses. Rebuck said the likelihood of TEN opening as a casino was “not even remotely imminent at this time.”