Hard Rock May Open Atlantic City Casino

27 Jan 2015 | 11:44 Author: King, George

On Thursday the 29th of January, the Seminole Hard Rock Entertainment Inc. is set to hold a special meeting with the New Jersey Casino Control commission in an effort to get preliminary approval to operate a casino in Atlantic City. Almost a year ago, the company which owns the Hard Rock brand, applied for a “statement of compliance”, which is one of the first steps required to become licensed to own a casino in New Jersey.

Florida’s Seminole Indians, which have owned the rights to the Hard Rock Brand since purchasing it in 2007, have once again begun the convoluted debate on whether or not to enter the troubled Atlantic City industry.

One of the main questions has to be: is the Hard Rock brand strong enough to attract punters away from out of state casinos which have been drawing crowds away from Atlantic City casinos for years.

James Allen, the CEO of Hard Rock, was unavailable for comments about the meeting but, in a regulatory filing it submitted, the company said it has had a “long-standing interest” in the Atlantic City gambling industry.

The company has also said that it “remains interested in the Atlantic City casino industry and may, if found qualified, engage in a business or activity that would require the issuance of a casino license. The issuance of a statement of compliance to Hard Rock Atlantic City will enable it to act quickly if an appropriate investment opportunity arises in the Atlantic City casino market.”

But, the filing submitted to the Control Commission failed to make any mention of a specific project or acquisition that the company has in mind. In 2011, the group did propose a small, “boutique” rock ‘n’ roll themed casino-hotel, but those plans were scrapped. When those plans were approved, it would have been the only company that the state approved to build a 200-room hotel as opposed to the minimum requirement of a 500-room hotel.

The original proposal submitted by the Hard Rock was that of a musical history museum with rock ‘n’ roll memorabilia. The hotel would have opened with an initial 208 rooms but would eventually expand to hold 850 rooms. However, less than a year after that proposal was approved, the Hard Rock Inc. scrapped the proposal, citing “current market conditions” as the main reason. After the company cancelled the plans for the new Atlantic City location, they said that they had “not eliminated this location for a future endeavor.”

Atlantic City has seen four of its casinos close during the course of 2014 and three of the remaining casinos are bankrupt leaving the city in dire need of a new attraction to aid its failing economy.

The Hard Rock Entertainment Inc. currently manages casino-hotels in Las Vegas, Biloxi, Tampa, Hollywood, Stateline Nevada, Printworks in Manchester, the City of Dreams in Macau and at the Resorts World in Singapore.

George King
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