TJM Properties, owner of the Atlantic Club Casino, announced Monday that a deal to sell the shuttered venue is currently in the works. Company officials declined to name the buyer or the amount to be paid, but stated that they hoped to finalize the sale when “hard money” arrives sometime later this week.
The Atlantic Club was the first of several NJ casinos to close its doors in 2014, after succumbing to the dual pressures of an economic downturn and increased competition from neighboring states. Later that year, TJM purchased the aging property for $13.5 million from an affiliate of casino behemoth Caesars Entertainment Corp.
But this isn’t the first time the Atlantic Club has announced that it would be soon sold. In 2016, Pennsylvania firm Endeavor Property Group came close to making the purchase, with the hopes of turning the property into an indoor waterpark. That deal collapsed, however, when the company failed to secure funding.
In April of this year, TJM thought it had found another buyer, which also had plans to build a waterpark on the site. That deal fell through as well due to a lack of funding.
While it’s not known what the buyers have planned for the property, they would potentially be able to partner with a gambling software company and open a regulated NJ online casino, as most of the state’s other casinos already have.
The Atlantic Club vs PokerStars
The Atlantic Club figured heavily in PokerStars’ battle to offer online gambling in the state. In 2013, the poker site’s parent company, Rational Group, had struck a deal to acquire the casino for $15 million. The purchase presumably would have helped PokerStars secure the license necessary to launch a gambling site in the Garden State.
Indeed, the poker giant had big plans in store, and the sale was seen as the troubled property’s best chance for survival. Before the deal was finalized, PokerStars had invested $11 million into the business, which was in part used to save the jobs of the casino’s 1800 employees.
When PokerStars’ licensing application process was delayed, however, the Atlantic Club took advantage of a loophole in the deal and backed out. The poker site was never returned its multimillion dollar investment.
The Atlantic Club later searched for a new suitor, but was unable to strike a deal to keep the casino float. Since that time, it has sat not abandoned but dormant, awaiting the next phase of its lifespan.
PokerStars would later partner with Resorts and win its license to operate after more than two years of vetting.