(Adds company statement; background on struggles of gaming
By Hilary Russ and Nick Brown
June 19 Atlantic City's troubled Revel Casino
Hotel on Thursday filed its second bankruptcy in just over a
year and said it is hunting for a buyer.
The casino, which had gone through Chapter 11 bankruptcy in
March 2013, warned employees on Thursday that it would lay them
all off beginning on Aug. 18 if it could not find a buyer,
according to a letter sent to staff, a copy of which was
obtained by Reuters.
It is the latest bit of bad news for the New Jersey seaside
city, which has lost gambling customers as venues in nearby
states expand and as the city has had to pay out millions to
casino that successfully appealed property taxes as their values
Revel said it was seeking a buyer who would "have the
ability to provide the funding and long-term commitment to help
Revel reach its full potential." The casino said it would shut
its doors if it could not find one, according to the letter sent
The company said in a statement it will continue to operate
normally while in bankruptcy.
"We will work to reach an agreement with a new owner who ...
shares our commitment to providing Revel's guests and players an
exceptional experience," Scott Kreeger, president and chief
operating officer, said in the statement.
When it opened in April 2012, Revel, built for $2.4 billion,
was a centerpiece of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's effort
to bring Las Vegas-quality gambling to Atlantic City's declining
Christie had provided a $261 million tax package to help
build Revel after Morgan Stanley, which had begun building the
casino, pulled out of the project two years ago and took a $932
Revel never lived up to financial projections, filing for
bankruptcy in March 2013 and emerging two months later.
Casino revenue from Atlantic City has roughly halved since
2007, while total U.S. casino revenue in 2012 was still shy of a
10-year peak of $37.5 billion in 2007, according to the American
Compression in big gambling markets like Atlantic City can
be attributed in part to increased efforts by states to expand
their own gambling offerings in search of new revenue sources,
CIT's Steve Epperly said in a report this week.
In Philadelphia, only about an hour's drive from Atlantic
City, a court this week paved the way for more gambling,
rejecting an effort to block a gaming license.
Revel's workers, who in June voted to unionize with
Unite-HERE Local 54, supported the search for a buyer.
"We believe a sale of Revel to a buyer who wants to keep the
property open and retain the employees is the best thing for the
workers," Unite-HERE President Bob McDevitt said.
(Reporting by Hilary Russ, Nick Brown; Additional reporting by
Jonathan Stempel; Editing by Bernard Orr and Leslie Adler)