Revel: Potential Buyers Would Still Run Casino
The main casino workers' union has expressed concern that a sale could result in the shutdown of the casino or large-scale job losses, but Revel president Scott Kreeger said that all the interested parties plan to continue operating it. He said the casino has spoken with 20 to 30 potential buyers and is narrowing the field down, but he would not identify them.
"We talked to every major and even minor gaming company in the U.S. about the Revel opportunity, and I never had any conversation with anyone relating to a closure," Kreeger told The Associated Press. "We are optimistic that discussions with these parties are progressing well."
By the end of this year, Kreeger hopes to conclude a deal that could take the form of an outright sale of Revel, a strategic alliance with another company or a joint venture among two or more companies to operate it. He also said he cannot rule out a second Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing.
"It is premature to speculate on the results of this process, but we are mindful of our employees' concerns regarding job stability," Kreeger said.
Revel is the city's only nonunion casino, but Local 54 of the Unite-HERE has undertaken a series of actions to press its owners to protect workers' jobs in the event of a sale.
Those actions included a march on the casino and an appearance before the New Jersey State Investment Council asking it to press an investment fund that is Revel's largest owner to protect workers' jobs. The state plans to give Chatham Asset Management $300 million in state pension funds to invest in other companies.
Hours after Kreeger spoke, the union picketed outside Chatham's offices in Morris County, but they were rebuffed in trying to meet with company officials.
"We can't wait till after a sale is announced to find out if we are going to keep our jobs and be able to provide for our families," said Brenda Ford, a banquet server at Revel.
The $2.4 billion casino filed for bankruptcy last year, less than a year after opening. It has remained near the bottom of Atlantic City's 11 casinos in terms of the amount of money won from gamblers.
Kreeger said Revel has not interfered with efforts to organize its workers and said it would not do so in the future.
"In response to recent activity by Local 54 Unite-HERE, it is important to note that Revel respects the rights of our employees to debate the merits of being represented by a union," he said.
He also denied -- again -- that Revel has received taxpayer money from the state through its Economic Redevelopment Growth Grant. Critics of the casino have often claimed Revel has received massive subsidies from the state that could have been put to better use elsewhere.
"The Economic Redevelopment Growth Grant is a public program available to any investor who is willing to commit development dollars within the state and meets the criteria," Kreeger said. "These tax rebates are available to Revel only after it generates sales tax revenue for the state in excess of certain milestones, which has not yet occurred. When these funds are available, they are largely pre-dedicated to improvement of the Southeast Inlet Section of Atlantic City."
(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved)