The New Jersey Casino Control Commission (NJCCC) ruled today that it doesn’t matter if the owner of the former Revel Casino plans to own or run the new casino, TEN, he still needs to obtain a gaming license before gambling can begin.
According to a report in the Press of Atlantic City, NJCCC Chairman Matthew Levinson said at Tuesday’s hearing that “I recognize the social and economic benefits that reopening a casino hotel would have,” said Levinson. “But the environment in Atlantic City does not change the requirements of the Casino Control Act.”
A video of part of the hearing can be viewed of the Press of Atlantic City website.
Straub contends that he doesn’t need a license as he is leasing out casino space and operations to a third party, while the NJCCC is operating under the legal position that state law requires him, as owner, to apply for a license. Straub said he would appeal today’s ruling.
Aside from the casino space Straub owns and controls nearly 1,400 rooms at the $2.4 billion resort he snatched out of bankruptcy for pennies on the dollar in 2015 with an uphill fight every step of the way to get it open. According to the report, Straub says he still plans to open part of the hotel along with the spa by President’s Day Weekend, which comes in less than three weeks.
According to a statement received yesterday from the NJCCC, Straub applied for a license about two years ago and filed the completed application last March. The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement investigated him in due course and submitted a report on his suitability for licensure to the NJCCC.
At that point the commission was prepared to hold a hearing on the license but a week before the Division of Gaming Enforcement filed its report, Straub and his company filed a petition seeking a ruling from the NJCCC determining that his company did not need a license and any license requirement could be waived.
According to the NJCCC, while they were awaiting a response from the DGE on that petition, Straub filed a court action to require them to simply hear and rule on his petition.
Tuesday’s hearing and ruling would appear to satisfy that request even if it’s not the answer developers were looking for.
According to the Press of Atlantic City, the city director of licensing and inspection, Dale Finch, has indicated that the building can be opened, but even without a casino, Straub will still need health inspections and a mercantile license before any business can be conducted there.
“I spoke to him recently, and he was extremely cooperative,” said Finch. “He can open the building right now but can’t do business in it.”