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Casino Up for Sale in Atlantic City

15 February 2011 by admin

We all know that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is doing his best to keep his word to revitalize Atlantic City. Unfortunately it might be too late for some of the brick and mortar casinos in the second largest casino market in the United States. It has been announced that the Hilton Casino Resort is up for sale.

The sale of the Hilton Casino Resort is not a big surprise. It defaulted on its mortgage in July of 2009 after its revenue declining by millions in the US’s recession. After months of a battle between the Hilton and U.S. National Bank Association in which the Hilton is trying to keep the casino resort out of foreclosure, a truce has been called while an attempt to sell the casino goes underway.

Christie’s plans to revitalize Atlantic City came too late to save the Hilton. But Christie has signed legislature to help the brick and mortar casinos as much for their own benefit as to benefit the state of New Jersey; a large chunk of New Jersey’s revenue comes from the taxes paid by the casinos in Atlantic City. And if the casinos are not pulling in a lot of profit, the percentage that the state receives is of course less. So both the casinos and New Jersey would benefit from Christie’s pledge to revitalize Atlantic City. Christies also has 17 more days to sign or veto the online gambling bill for the state or else it becomes law.

As for the Hilton Casino Resort, Houlihan Lokey is the international investment bank in charge of handling the sale of the casino. Houlihan Lokey’s job will be to create a list of finalists before beginning the actual negotiations for the sale. But before the list of finalists is made, anyone can put themselves forward for consideration. And with the revitalization bill signed into law and the potential of the online gambling bill going through, there is definite interest in the casino. The President of Farley and Ferry Realty Inc. of Ventnor, Mary Lou Ferry, is working with two clients that she says have an interest in the casino. She says, “It’s open to offers. Prospective buyers have to show at least $50 million to $75 million in assets. I would assume that they [Houlihan Lokey] are looking for somewhere in that price range.”

Right now the only known party that is seeking to make Houlihan Lokey’s finalist list is Nicholas L. Ribis. Ribis wants to purchase the casino resort through a group called New Nugget Gaming LLC. He has already submitted a petition for a gaming license for the Hilton Casino Resort—rather confident of him—to the New Jersey Casino Control Commission. According to Ribis’ lawyer, Ribis’ petition is still pending. No wonder considering that there are other interested parties. “There’s definitely a lot of interest in Atlantic City. We have a good array of positive interest thanks to Governor Christie,” said Ferry.

So while the picture for Atlantic City overall is looking up, it still looks like the Hilton is going to be headed towards a name and ownership change…again. The Hilton has gone through several rounds of different owners and names since it first opened in 1980. If the Hilton Casino Resort does not have a successful sale it is likely that control of the Hilton Casino Resort will be taken by U.S. National Bank Association, who is likely to sell it still. Hopefully the next owners of the Hilton Casino Resort will have a better considering that Christie’s revitalization bill will have taken effect by then.

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