- Associated Press - Tuesday, August 26, 2014

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) - Caesars Entertainment is showing the soon-to-close Showboat Casino Hotel to “an interested party,” but won’t say who it is.

Company spokesman Gary Thompson told The Associated Press that Caesars officials were showing the Showboat on Tuesday afternoon to a party that had expressed interest. The casino is due to close on Sunday, one of three Atlantic City casinos shutting down over the next few weeks, along with Revel and Trump Plaza.

“We continue to review inquiries from potential purchasers and, in fact, are conducting a tour of the property with an interested party today,” Thompson told the AP. “Not much more I can say at this point, as things can change very quickly.”

He could not immediately say whether the interested party is considering operating the Showboat as a casino, or as a non-gambling facility after it has closed down.

Caesars has said repeatedly there are too many casinos in Atlantic City, and has worked to reduce that number. It bought the former Atlantic Club in a bankruptcy court sale last December with Tropicana Entertainment, shut it down in January and sold it to a Florida company which plans to run it as a non-casino hotel. That same firm, TJM Properties, also bought the former Claridge Casino hotel from Caesars, and is running that as a non-casino hotel, as well.

When it announced it was closing the Showboat, Caesars said it was acting to reduce the number of casinos in Atlantic City, which began the year with 12, but will have only eight before summer’s end.

The company has drawn fire from political and labor groups for placing deed restrictions on former casinos that it sells, preventing a purchaser from operating them as casinos.

Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian said earlier in the day he knows of no potential developments that would prevent Showboat from shutting down Sunday, or that would delay Revel’s two-day shutdown Sept. 1 and 2. Trump Plaza is shutting down Sept. 16.

The state’s Gaming Enforcement Division has already issued a closing order for Showboat, which is due to shut its doors at 4 p.m. Sunday.

And Caesars Entertainment has already charged some employee severance costs against the company’s quarterly earnings, and classified Showboat as a “discontinued operation” in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

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Wayne Parry can be reached at https://twitter.com/WayneParryAC

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