On Monday night, the giant white ball at the top of the 47-story former Revel casino in Atlantic City was illuminated for what may have been the first time since September 2014 when the casino shut down.

The lighting was part of the equipment testing in preparation for the opening of 500 hotel rooms as well as most, if not all, of the facility’s restaurants on June 15, said owner Glenn Straub. “We haven’t been sitting around for 10 months doing nothing,” Straub said. “We’re not going to have all 1,800 rooms open; we’ll probably have 500 open that day. All the restaurants will be open, I think. They’ve been wanting to re-open since the day it closed,” as reported by the Associated Press.

Straub’s license application isn’t completed yet and while he does have plans to re-open the casino there as well, considering the fact that New Jersey’s licensing process is a long drawn out one, most likely it will not open this year. When it does re-open, it won’t be called Revel he says, though a new name hasn’t been decided on. “That’s a hard word; it doesn’t mean anything,” Straub said. “It’s definitely not going to be ‘Revel.'”

The Revel opened in April of 2012, but never turned a profit and went bankrupt on two occasions, and closed on September 2, 2014. The Florida real estate developer purchased the casino, which cost $2.4 billion to build, out of bankruptcy in April 2015 for $82 million, but wasn’t able to do anything with the property due to a legal battle with the former power supplier, ACR Energy Partners. In November 2015, Straub announced that after cutting a deal with ACR Energy and Bank of New York Mellon he would purchase the power plant.

The illumination of the gigantic ball, which was designed by Mitch Gorshin, was part of ongoing systems testing throughout the building, Straub said. Gorshin’s father Frank played The Riddler, the arch-villain on the 1960’s “batman” television show. Gorshin said the idea for the ball came to him while he was eating a slice of pizza and walking back to the casino. After finishing the slice of pizza he crumpled up the aluminum foil that the pizza was on into a tiny ball and just as he was about to dispose of it he held it up and saw it as it aligned with the roof of the casino. Numerous patterns and illuminated colors on the ball are created by a computer program, which when activated can be seen for miles.

In January Straub confirmed his plans to start development work on the former Revel casino site. He also recently announced that he will build another casino at the site, but it will be half the size of the existing casino. In phase one of the project, Straub plans to use half of the property to develop an entertainment facility that will house a water park. That construction is slated to begin in May, with hotel rooms open to the public from June. Phase two will include the development of the smaller casino, but according to Straub he has no specific timeline for the casino’s opening.

2 Responses

  1. james malenfant

    Welcome to the most ridiculous building in the world. This casino/hotel will never earn enough to stay open, much less another casino. There is just not enough revenue base to sustain the costs of running the building. Just illuminating the ball must cost a hundred or more dollars per day. Leaving 1300 rooms vacant is just laughable. I live in Arizona, and we don’t build buildings with separate power sources. We just plug them into our grid. (Arizona is the 14th largest power provider in the U.S.) Plus, cooling, and heating, a building with chilled water is rare here.

    The Revel cost more than our Paloe Verde Nuclear Plant, and took more time to build, and was only open for a year. Our nuclear power plant is still humming along after 30 years. The building is huge, and can only be used for a hotel and a casino. What makes this carpet bagger think he can run it for less? Plus a water park? We have water parks everywhere here, and the climate to enjoy them. A water park in New Jersey has maybe a 6 month use per year. The man is insane, and this building will never reopen again.

    Right now, in Paradise Valley, a new resort is being built that will cost as much as Revel, however configured differently. There will be a beautiful resort, with 500 rooms, pools, gardens, casitas, and single family homes, that have all the uses of the resort. All of these will be refrigerated, which is a whole lot different than a chill system. Each unit has it’s own AC unit, so if one goes out, a new unit can be replaced, often the same day. Plus, people actually want to come to Arizona, we have casinos everywhere here. We just don’t understand NJ thinking, because no public money is being spent on our project.

    The developer does have to guarantee 100 years of water for the project, and we have plenty here. The developer has to pay for everything. EVERYTHING. We have lakes and pools, and fountains everywhere in the Phoenix metropolitan area despite being in a drought for over a decade. Yes, our water systems are that good, and yes we have plenty of power. Check.

    Then to imply that this Straub fellow can run the building cheaper than the former owners is simply a ludicrous assertion. The electric bill alone will be a few million a month, just like before.

    This white elephant has to be cooled, and heated, even while empty. Here in Arizona if we don’t need the entire resort, we can shut down rooms, and open them up later. Although that does not happen. Everyone loves to come here.

    There is simply no concrete evidence this building will ever reopen. With so many casinos closing down, and no boardwalk, who wants to go to Atlantic City? I can be in Las Vegas in an hour.

    Attracting tourists to Atlantic City? Good luck with that.

    • Avatar photo
      Lars Jones

      Thanks for the comment James. Sounds like things are going well in Arizona. One thing to remember about Revel – Mr. Straub doesn’t have to service $2.x billion in debt and likely used cash when he bought the property for less than $100 million. He may not get a casino license, but there’s no reason to believe that a man of his means can’t adequately service 500 guestrooms and provide space for successful retail, food, and beverage outlets, or other independent businesses while the licensing process goes forward is there?
      Thank you again for commenting and for reading World Casino News.


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