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Associated Press
Roulette players toast a winning spin at Revel in Atlantic City, N.J., on its opening day, April 2, 2012. The $2 billion resort will close next month.

Atlantic City resort folding after 2 years

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. – When Revel opened just over two years ago, many people hoped it would save Atlantic City’s struggling casino industry, which has been bleeding money and jobs for years.

But now the $2.4 billion resort that was widely seen as the last, best chance for Atlantic City’s gambling mar­ket is shutting down, unable to find a buyer for even pennies on the dollar.

In addition to putting 3,100 people out of jobs and hurting state and local budgets, Revel’s demise shows just how cutthroat the East Coast casino market has become – and how difficult it is for even the newest, nicest gambling halls to sur­vive in an oversaturated market.

Revel Entertainment said the casino and its 1,399 hotel rooms will close Sept. 10, never having turned a profit.

“We regret the impact this decision has on our Revel employees who have worked so hard to maximize the potential of the property,” Revel said in a statement Tuesday. “We thank them for their professionalism and dedication; however, we are faced with several unavoidable circumstances.

“Despite the effort to im­prove the financial perfor­mance of Revel, it has not proven to be enough to put the property on a stable financial footing,” the company wrote.

Revel’s most recent Chap­ter 11 filing listed assets of $486.9 million and liabilities of $476.1 million.

The company said its sit­u­a­tion was compounded by a “considerable non-control­lable expense structure” that financially burdened the prop­erty. It said it had no choice but “an orderly wind-down of the business at this time.”

Revel said it still hopes to find a buyer through the bankruptcy process. But it acknowledged that if that happened, it would be after the facility had already shut down.

Matthew Levinson, chair­man of the New Jersey Ca­sino Control Commis­sion, called the closing “enor­mously disappointing” but held out hope for a future sale.

“I sincerely hope that possibility materializes, especially for the employees who face the loss of their jobs,” he said.

Israel Posner, who runs a tourism and gambling study institute at Richard Stockton College, said he expects Revel to sell as a non-casino building.

“I still believe Revel will sell, for pennies on the dollar, to someone who will figure out that it is the most modern, beautiful structure that’s going to be built for gen­erations to come,” he said.

The casino was due to be sold at a bankruptcy court auc­tion last week, but that was postponed to allow casino officials to study bids that were received. After Revel’s board met Monday, the decision was made to shutter the glittering, glass-covered casino at the north end of Atlantic City’s famed Boardwalk.