The owner of Atlantic City’s Showboat revealed Monday plans to build a casino on a vacant lot right next to the existing resort
The New Jersey Casino Control Commission approved Monday the statement of compliance petition filed by Philadelphia businessman Bart Blatstein. Securing the statement of compliance was the first of many steps the owner of the Boardwalk property needs to complete in order to obtain a full gaming license.
Mr. Blatstein plans to build the gambling venue on a 123,000-square-foot lot off New Jersey Avenue. The site is currently used for sand volleyball. A deed restriction placed by the former owner of the Showboat, Caesars Entertainment Corp., prohibits the property to be used as a casino for a ten-year period. The restriction has five more years to go, but by locating the casino on a nearby lot, Mr. Blatstein will be able to circumvent it.
The portion of land he is planning to use for the gambling venue is not part of the Boardwalk resort but can easily be connected to it.
Caesars operated the Showboat for 16 years before closing it in the summer of 2014. The property was the second of four casinos that closed doors that year. Mr. Blatstein bought the Boardwalk resort in January 2016 and reopened it as a non-gambling complex in the summer of that year.
”Not about the Number of Casinos”
Although Mr. Blatstein is yet to reveal the full scope of his casino project, he did provide casino commissioners with certain details. He said that his gambling venue will be directed toward a younger demographic with diverse sports and eSports offering.
Answering to questions by gaming regulators, the Philadelphia businessman said Monday that “the world has changed” and that “older-style casinos are no longer en vogue.” He went on to explain that the younger generations are very experience-oriented, so his casino will be designed in a manner that would appeal to that group of customers.
Commissioners also raised a question about the impact of a tenth casino in Atlantic City to which Mr. Blatstein responded by saying that it was not about the number of casinos but about variety. He further dwelt that Las Vegas has 104 casinos in the middle of nowhere, while Atlantic City currently has nine that are “within a short trip from one-third of the nation’s population.” According to the businessman, the market is looking for something different and he aims to provide it.
Mr. Blatstein will pursue authorization to provide a full range of gambling options at his future casino, including slot machines, table games, sports betting, and online gambling. A third-party company will operate the facility when it is built and launched. The casino operator is yet to be selected.
The Showboat owner said that he plans to break ground on the casino next year and that construction will take around 14 months.
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