Too Many Casinos In AC

Atlantic City, N.J., has too many casinos and at least one of them needs to close, the CEO of Caesars Entertainment, the largest casino owner in town, said during a May 7 earnings call.

Photo: AP Photo / Matt Rourke

Gary Loveman said Atlantic City has been the biggest problem for his casino company for the last several years and one option is to reduce capacity. He didn’t specify – and Caesars would not clarify afterward – whether one of its four Atlantic City casinos should close or whether it might seek to buy one of the seven casinos owned by other companies and put it out of business, like it did in January with The Atlantic Club Casino Hotel.

“There’s much too much capacity in Atlantic City currently,” Loveman said. “We’ve experienced that as the largest provider. So we are looking at all of our options to continue to reduce the cost of doing business here.”

Caesars Entertainment continues to struggle with a mountainous debt load of $23 billion and is taking several steps to whittle that down, including selling off assets.

It recently sold two properties and is closing a casino in Tunica, Miss. A spokesman said that Caesars would first look to sell one of its Atlantic City casinos before deciding to close it. But he stressed that such a course is only one of many options.

The Showboat Casino Hotel took in the least money last year among the company’s four New Jersey casinos with $225 million, a decline of more than 14 percent, and would appear the most likely of the four to be sold or shut down.

But other companies’ casinos did even worse and could become targets for purchase and closure.

Revel Casino Hotel seeks a buyer as it tries to avoid a second bankruptcy filing. Resort Casino Hotel, Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino, and the Gold Nugget Atlantic City all took in less money last year than any of the Caesars casinos.

A proposed sale of Trump Plaza for $20 million fell through last year.