LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Hard Rock International, famous for its rock and roll-themed cafes, said on Tuesday it has allied with private equity firm Och-Ziff Real Estate to develop a $300 million casino-hotel in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
The move follows recent state legislation aimed at encouraging new development in Atlantic City, whose gambling revenue has dropped amid the recent economic downturn as well as new competition in neighboring states like Pennsylvania, where gambling was approved in 2006.
Hard Rock, owned by Florida’s Seminole Indian tribe, said the proposed legislation would allow developers to build new casinos in Atlantic City with fewer than 500 hotel rooms, significantly reducing construction costs.
“We are intrigued by the newly proposed legislation, which makes entering the marketplace more manageable,” Hard Rock Chairman Jim Allen said in a statement. “Despite current headwinds, Atlantic City remains the country’s second-largest gaming market and would be an exciting location for a Hard Rock Hotel and Casino.”
He said the estimated $300 million price of the project does not include the cost of land — a beachfront parcel along the Atlantic City Boardwalk.
Hard Rock, based in Orlando, Florida, has a total of 162 venues in 52 countries, including 13 casino-hotels.
Atlantic City casino operators include Harrah’s Entertainment and Trump Entertainment Resorts Inc as well as Boyd Gaming and MGM Mirage, which have a 50-50 joint venture in the Borgata casino-hotel. MGM has plans to sell its Borgata stake.
Reporting by Deena Beasley; Editing by Richard Chang