Not One, Not Two, But As Many As Three AC Casinos Could Reopen In 2018

Showboat casino AC

Is a casino in the cards for Showboat in Atlantic City? The resort’s owner indicated it could be.

Showboat was originally a casualty in the AC market

A decade of declining revenues led to the closure of five of Atlantic City’s 12 casinos from 2014 to 2016.

With the jetsam released, the remaining properties have found Atlantic City to be a far more hospitable place to do business. The Atlantic City casino industry is growing. Revenues increased each of the last two years.

This period of prosperity hasn’t gone unnoticed. Two of the city’s shuttered casinos are slated to open in the coming months, bringing the number of operational casinos up to nine. This summer, the former Revel will reopen as Ocean Resort Casino and the former Trump Taj Mahal as Hard Rock AC.

Now, the Press of Atlantic City reports a third former casino is pondering its own gambling revival: Showboat, a former Caesars casino that reopened in 2016 as a non-gaming hotel.

According to the Press of AC’s Nicholas Huba (a must-follow on Twitter for AC casino news), current Showboat owner Bart Blatstein applied to the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement for a statement of compliance two weeks ago. Blatstein said it was a matter of him wanting to keep his options open for the property.

What about the deed restriction on Showboat?

As part of the sale, Caesars placed a deed restriction on the property. This prevents it from opening as a casino for a period of ten years. However, Blatstein said the Caesars deed restriction wouldn’t be an issue going forward and has maintained gambling shouldn’t be ruled out in subsequent statements.

It’s not clear if Blatstein plans to add gaming to the Showboat. But it’s safe to say he has very ambitious plans in Atlantic City.

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Showboat a single part Blatstein’s AC plan

Blatstein has been a very active investor in Atlantic City in recent years, acquiring a variety of different properties all over town.

In 2014, he bought the Pier Shops at Caesars for $2.7 million. That’s a pretty good price considering the original cost was some $200 million. Blatstein reopened it as the Playground the following year. A year after he snapped up Showboat, Blatstein went hog wild, purchasing numerous parcels of land.

That buying spree included:

  • A pair of lots next to Showboat that served as public-use volleyball courts. Blatstein plans to turn these into an event center.
  • The Garden Pier, a former museum, located near the soon-to-open Ocean Resort Casino.
  • Twelve small lots along the damaged inlet boardwalk. The city plans to rebuild this section and attach it to the main Boardwalk.

Blatstein’s stamp will be on AC, whether Showboat has a casino or not.

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Steve Ruddock

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Steve covers nearly every angle of online poker in his job as a full-time freelance poker writer. His primary focus is the developing legal and legislative picture for regulated US online poker and gambling.