Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Revel Plays Final Hand

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Revel Plays Final Hand

Article excerpt

What's true for poker players turned out to be true Monday for the investors who gambled on the ultra-glitzy Revel Casino Hotel in Atlantic City: you've got to know when to hold 'em -- and when to fold 'em.

Atlantic City's newest and most extravagant casino began its shutdown on Monday, a $2.4 billion bust that drowned in debt that was the byproduct of its own excess. Hotel guests emptied out of the glass tower on Sunday, and the last remaining gamblers were to leave this morning, with the casino going dark just before sunrise.

Revel's shutdown is part of a reshuffling by Atlantic City's casino industry, which has been losing customers to Pennsylvania, New York and Connecticut, states that have gone "all in" on casino gambling. Revel closed the day after the Showboat, one of Atlantic City's most family-friendly casinos, shut down after 27 years.

Trump Plaza is the next to go, scheduled to cease operations on Sept. 16. Already gone is the Atlantic Club, which closed earlier this year. All told, an estimated 8,000 Atlantic City casino workers will lose their jobs this year, a huge blow not only to the Jersey Shore, but to the state as a whole.

"I think it's devastating," said Marlene Armstrong, who stopped on the boardwalk with her husband to take a final look at Revel in action. "I feel bad for all those people who are losing their jobs. Let's hope some big investor comes along who knows how to manage it."

Revel, which added a spa, nightclubs, indoor shopping and swimming pools to the traditional mix of roulette wheels, one-armed bandits and craps tables, was supposed to be a new, high-end concept in casinos. But as the now-empty glass tower attests, Revel reached too high for a market that wasn't there.

"I always found the place to be too big and too dark inside," said Leslie Seward, 74, who traveled from Virginia for the weekend. "And they had a smoking ban when they first opened. I don't smoke, but a lot of gamblers do. You've got to pay attention to the little things."

Revel hotel guests had to check out by 11 a.m. Monday, but otherwise it was business as usual in the casino, although gamblers were in short supply. The pool party at HQ Beach Club was hopping though, even if it cost $40 to get in. Just about everyone standing on line in bikinis and bathing suits knew about the closure, but it didn't affect the vibe.

"We're going to celebrate this end as a new beginning," said Ana Giglio, of Egg Harbor Township, clad in aviator shades, platform heels and a bikini. "Even though it's the end of Revel, let's hope somebody will come along and buy it."

Revel was conceived as the biggest and glitziest casino on Atlantic City's famed boardwalk, a giant among giants. But by the time it broke ground in 2006, gamblers already were headed elsewhere.

Governor Christie's administration provided a $2. …

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