by Lisa A. Grimaldi | May 01, 2011

Atlantic City
Congress HallEarlier this year, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signed bill S-11, which authorized the creation of the Atlantic City Tourism District. The state's Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, which will be responsible for revitalizing the gaming destination's tourism and convention business, was expected to present its plan last month.  

At press time, Gov. Christie's office still was searching for candidates to run the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority. Former CRDA executive director Thomas Carver resigned in mid-February after Christie made public comments about his desire to see someone else in the position. Since then, Susan Ney Thompson has served as the authority's interim director. Under the governor's plan, the Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority would become a division within the CRDA.

In another major shift, Gov. Christie signed a measure allowing the development of two new 200-room casino hotels in Atlantic City. One of the new licenses is for a "staged casino," which means the developers may open a 200-room property on the condition they will expand it within five years. New Jersey law previously required casino hotels to have at least 500 rooms.

Casino revenue figures for March 2011 showed a 7 percent decline, year-over-year. These results follow a 1 percent revenue decline in February. In previous months, Atlantic City routinely suffered double-digit declines, suggesting that the local market might finally be stabilizing after a prolonged slump.

The 2,000-room Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa has completed a renovation of 300 suites. The property currently is refurbishing the rest of its guest rooms and public areas, with completion of the project scheduled for summer 2012.

Revel Entertainment Group announced in February it had completed a financing package to the tune of $1.5 billion, which will enable the company to complete construction of Revel, a casino resort. The property, which will open with 1,100 guest rooms, a 150,000-square-foot casino and a 5,500-seat theater, is expected to debut in June 2012. An additional 800 guest rooms will be phased in afterward, and a second tower is planned, which will push Revel's total room count to 3,800

Landry's, the parent company of Nevada's Golden Nugget Las Vegas and Golden Nugget Laughlin, has agreed to purchase the Trump Marina Casino and Hotel from Trump Entertainment Resorts for $38 million. The 728-room property will be rebranded as the Golden Nugget Atlantic City and will undergo a head-to-toe renovation set for completion by the end of this year.

Trump Entertain­ment Resorts, which owns and operates the 2,032-room Trump Taj Mahal Casino Hotel, the 904-room Trump Plaza Casino and Hotel, and, until its sale in March, the 728-room Trump Marina Casino and Hotel, emerged from Chapter 11 reorganization -- the property's third time under such circumstances -- last year.

Gomes Gaming Inc. purchased the Resorts Casino Hotel last December. The property offers 942 guest rooms in the 13-story Ocean Tower and 28-story Rendezvous Tower, along with 100,000 square feet of gaming space and 45,000 square feet of meeting space. A renovation of 480 guest rooms is slated for completion this month.

Seaview, a Dolce Resort, reopened in March following a two-month renovation of its 297 guest rooms. The Galloway Township property was purchased by Richard Stockton College last year. The college plans to use part of the resort for student housing and intends to develop a hotel management program.

The 2,133-room Tropicana Atlantic City Casino & Resort, which was purchased by investor Carl Icahn last year, has been awarded an operating license by the Atlantic City Casino Control Commission. This represents a turnaround from three years ago, when the commission stripped the casino of its license following a massive round of layoffs that, according to officials, left the property understaffed.