- Associated Press - Thursday, January 30, 2014

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) - A New Jersey state senator wants regulators to prevent the world’s largest casino company from adding to its portfolio in Atlantic City.

Sen. James Whelan, a former Atlantic City mayor, said Thursday he has expressed his concern to casino regulators and Gov. Chris Christie’s office that the potential sale of Revel Casino Hotel to Caesars Entertainment would violate a provision of New Jersey law prohibiting one company from owning too much of the casino market.

Caesars, which already owns four of the city’s 11 casinos, is among potential buyers for Revel cited in recent published reports. Bloomberg News reported Caesars is considering a bid for Revel, while the New York Post says Hard Rock International is doing likewise.

Neither company would comment.

Revel is considering selling itself, or making a second bankruptcy filing.

Whelan said allowing Caesars Entertainment to own a fifth casino in Atlantic City would violate a section of the Casino Control Act, the state law governing casino gambling, prohibiting “undue economic concentration” of the casino market in any one company’s hands.

“I think it would be against the law, and I don’t think it would be good for Atlantic City,” Whelan told The Associated Press. “Caesars already owns 40 percent of the market, and they just bought and closed the Atlantic Club.

“The whole idea is to have various different owners in the market, with diversity in Atlantic City, and not have the market dependent on the rise or fall of one particular company,” Whelan said.

The law does not specify a set number of casinos or a percentage of the market that cannot be owned by a single company.

Gary Thompson, a spokesman for Caesars Entertainment, would not comment other than to say, “we don’t comment on rumors or speculation.”

Revel, which cost $2.4 billion to build, filed for bankruptcy after less than a year of operation. It emerged from Chapter 11 protection last year, but continues to struggle to gain market share. The casino said last year it is considering “strategic options” including a potential sale or a second bankruptcy filing.