ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) - Developer Glenn Straub says “abusive” red tape from state casino regulators is preventing people from investing in Atlantic City - even as he sues those regulators over how quickly they consider his plan to reopen the former Revel casino.
Straub wants to reopen Revel as the renamed Ten casino resort. But because he’s leasing the premises to an outside casino operator, Connecticut developer Robert Landino, he insists he shouldn’t need a costly, intrusive casino license. Other Atlantic City casino owners in the same situation have been required to obtain full casino licenses, even when they hire outside overseers to run the gambling operations.
The state Division of Gaming Enforcement insists Straub needs the same sort of license, and Straub wants the state Casino Control Commission to decide the issue. The commission began considering the issue Wednesday but won’t issue a decision until a future meeting.
Straub is suing the commission, asking a judge to order it to rule on his petition.
“You can’t bring money into this city,” Straub said. “Why do you think (billionaire investor) Carl Icahn backed out of his casino? It’s going to make all investors coming into Atlantic City think twice. We’ll see how long it takes Icahn to sell his property.”
Icahn shut down the Trump Taj Mahal on Oct. 10 after a bruising strike. He has said it’s not for sale, partly because the price it would bring in the depressed Atlantic City casino market would be less than the $300 million he says he has spent on it.
Straub scooped up Revel in 2015 from bankruptcy court for $82 million, or 5 cents on the dollar. It cost $2.4 billion to build and closed after a little over two years, never having come close to turning a profit.
Straub has complained repeatedly that government officials at all levels are preventing him from reopening the casino due to unnecessary regulations. The casino commission was scheduled Wednesday to consider his request for a ruling on what kind of license he needed.
But Straub submitted a revised lease agreement to the commission about 90 minutes before the meeting’s start. That prompted rebukes from the gaming enforcement division and the casino commission’s chairman, Matt Levinson.
“The applicant has alleged that this commission had delayed consideration of this petition, and it filed suit against us,” Levinson said. “The petitioner has criticized us for delay when in fact it continues to submit material documents at the 11th hour. I can assure you, if there are any future delays in this matter, it will not be our doing.”
Straub has said he plans to open Ten in mid-February if the ruling goes his way. If not, he will appeal the ruling to a state court.
Follow Wayne Parry at https://twitter.com/WayneParryAC
This story has been corrected to show the litigation concerns how quickly the Casino Control Commission should consider Straub’s petition, not what level of permission he needs to reopen the casino.
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