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by Lisa A. Grimaldi | July 13, 2011

 Three companies are interested in building one of the two new, smaller casinos with a minimum of 200 guest rooms in Atlantic City -- projects that state lawmakers authorized earlier this year, according to press reports. The applicants are AC Gateway LLC, a group that includes Hard Rock; Pinnacle Entertainment, through a subsidiary called ACE Gaming LLC; and a local New Jersey investment group calling itself California Avenue Ventures. Last month, the Hard Rock group submitted plans to the state Department of Environmental Protection to build a $275 million project in phases, with a total of 850 hotel rooms. The casino-hotel would be built on the Boardwalk at the south end of town.