Caesars to close Atlantic City Showboat Casino

It is the second New Jersey casino to close this year

Associated PressJune 27, 2014 

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. -- Casino contraction hit Atlantic City for the second time this year, as the parent company of the Showboat Casino Hotel announced Friday it will close the Mardi Gras-themed casino on Aug. 31.

Caesars Entertainment, parent company of Harrah's Gulf Coast, said it will shutter the poorest-performing of its four Atlantic City casinos.

CEO Gary Loveman said in a statement that the "difficult decision" is necessary to protect the rest of its business in Atlantic City, where the company owns four of the 11 casinos.

"While we regret the impact that this decision will have on our Showboat associates, we believe this is a necessary step to help stabilize our business in Atlantic City and support the viability of our remaining operations in the vicinity," he said. "Since 2006, revenue in Atlantic City has declined by more than $3 billion and competition in the city has increased. The dynamic in Atlantic City has led us to the difficult but necessary decision to close Showboat.

"We sincerely appreciate the service, dedication and professionalism shown by the employees of the Showboat over the years to provide our customers with incredible experiences," he said.

The closing will also shutter the casino's House Of Blues, one of New Jersey's most popular concert venues.

It will be the second casino to close this year in Atlantic City, the nation's third-largest gambling market. The Atlantic Club closed in January, taken down in a bankruptcy sale by Caesars Entertainment and Tropicana Entertainment, who stripped it for parts and closed it to reduce competition.

And, Revel Casino Hotel has warned it might shut down if a buyer can't be found in bankruptcy court.

Caesars Entertainment also closed the Harrah's Casino Tunica this month.

For the first quarter of this year, the Showboat posted a gross operating profit of nearly $2 million. But that was down from a profit of nearly $8.5 million in the first quarter of 2013.

So far this year, the Showboat has taken in $66.2 million from gamblers, ranking it seventh out of Atlantic City's 11 casinos. That represents a decline of nearly 16 percent from the same period in 2013.

Loveman said the company will work with the casino's more than 2,100 workers to help them find jobs with other casinos Caesars Entertainment owns in New Jersey and elsewhere. The company has not yet determined what will become of the Showboat property and land at the northern end of the Boardwalk, next to Revel.

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