Sen. Whelan: Bring New Energy to AC with Revel Purchase

No one has officially bought the Revel hotel and casino in Atlantic City yet, but companies have shown interest. Sen. Jim Whelan told NJTV News Managing Editor Mike Schneider that he would prefer to see companies like Hard Rock or Cordish buy Revel rather than Caesars, so new energy and vision are brought into Atlantic City.

Whelan said that Caesars bought Atlantic Club, which ended up closing, and there were other potential buyers that were interested in Atlantic Club that would have been able to keep it open and 1,600 people would not be out of work.

Years ago, there was a three casino limit in Atlantic City, but it was changed in the 1990s for Donald Trump. Whelan said he was not in favor of that change.

Whelan said that right now, Caesars makes up about 40 percent of the Atlantic City market and if it buys Revel, that percentage will go up to 50 percent of the market.

“There are other companies that want to purchase Revel. It would be great to have other companies come into Atlantic City and bring their energy and vision as to what Atlantic City can and should be,” Whelan said.

Hard Rock and Cordish Company have both expressed public interest in purchasing Revel and Whelan said that they are both very real players.

“Caesars is a company that is over leveraged. I’d prefer to see Hard Rock or Cordish. I’d prefer to see that kind of energy and vitality added to the casinos as opposed to keeping it all concentrated in the hands of one major company,” Whelan said.

As for online gambling, Whelan said that for struggling properties, internet gambling will be a potential lifeline. Whelan said that he and Sen. Ray Lesniak are trying to expand internet gaming to foreigners that want to bet in places such as Canada, Bermuda and the Bahamas.

“Allow the internet operating to be located within Atlantic City but out of the casino. It’s off to a slow start but ultimately it will be a help to the casinos,” Whelan said.