Revel begins comeback by cutting 83 jobs

David Roslin of Reading plays a penny slot machine at Revel. He said that a buffet and smoking area were needed at the casino. SUZETTE PARMLEY / Staff
David Roslin of Reading plays a penny slot machine at Revel. He said that a buffet and smoking area were needed at the casino. SUZETTE PARMLEY / Staff
Posted: April 19, 2013

The $2.4 billion Revel casino in Atlantic City - currently in Bankruptcy Court - began issuing pink slips Tuesday to 83 employees.

Interim chief executive Jeffrey Hartmann, who took over for former CEO Kevin DeSanctis last month, said the decision to trim the workforce came after a careful review of business volume and staffing levels after Hurricane Sandy.

The storm hit the Shore on Oct. 29 and forced Revel and the 11 other casinos in Atlantic City to close for nearly a week. Sandy also severely impacted a key demographic that frequents the resort, residents of North Jersey and New York. Not all of those patrons have returned.

"Following a careful and thorough evaluation of our business, we have decided that we must adjust our staffing to align with business demands," Hartmann said. "While this reduction, which affects 2.5 percent of our workforce, was a difficult decision, it will ultimately strengthen Revel's position within the highly competitive Atlantic City marketplace."

Revel has 3,300 employees, the vast majority full-time workers. Hartmann described the cutbacks as across the board, from vice presidents to administrative positions.

"The company has taken . . . a longer-term view of what it will take to successfully run Revel and where we need to be to do this," Hartmann said Wednesday. "Unfortunately, we have to let go of a few."

He said some of the people losing jobs could reapply for the busier summer season.

When Gov. Christie announced in February 2011 that he was committing $261 million in state tax credits to help Revel be built, he said the casino would employ over 5,000. Revel's workforce never reached that level, as business volume and monthly gaming revenues fell well below expectations.

Revel filed for bankruptcy on March 25, a week shy of its one-year anniversary. Revel is the first casino to open in Atlantic City since the Borgata in 2003.

Hartmann said the layoffs were independent of Revel's Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing, being heard in court in Camden. A second hearing is scheduled Thursday before Judge Judith Wizmur to give final approval of $250 million in debtor-in-possession funds to cover expenses. Revel's reorganization plan is also intended to wipe out $1.2 billion of the casino's $1.5 billion debt in a debt-for-equity swap.

Changes could include adding a smoking area and moderately priced restaurants. Revel had been Atlantic City's first nonsmoking casino. Hartmann said adding a smoking lounge was still under review. "It's a tough issue," he said.

He was more emphatic on affordable restaurants' being phased in and opened by Memorial Day. Revel set another precedent as the only Atlantic City casino without a buffet. Its celebrity-chef restaurants have been criticized as too pricey.

"We'll have new food and beverage offerings for Memorial Day," Hartmann said. "We have a couple locations identified that need to be finalized. But we will have great value and great concepts."

Hartmann said he planned to relaunch the property in mid-May. The bankruptcy judge is scheduled to provide final approval of Revel's reorganization plan on May 13.


Contact Suzette Parmley at 215-854-2855 or sparmley@phillynews.com, or @SUZParmley on Twitter.

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