Showboat casino runs aground

Posted: June 27, 2014

ATLANTIC CITY - As rumors swept through this beleaguered gambling resort that casino titan Steve Wynn is poised to rescue Revel Casino-Hotel from almost-certain extinction, about 2,100 employees at Showboat Atlantic City found themselves on the brink of unemployment.

According to a union official, workers at the 27-year-old gambling den on the Boardwalk's eastern end will receive letters today stating the intention of corporate parent Caesars Entertainment of Las Vegas to close the Showboat by summer's end.

The notices are required under a federal law that mandates businesses with more than 500 employees give such information at least 60 days in advance.

Bob McDevitt, president of Local 54 of the Unite-HERE union, said a Caesars Entertainment executive informed him of the notices.

McDevitt said he is convinced that Caesars intends to close the Showboat, the poorest-performing of its Atlantic City casinos.

"Caesars closing a casino which remains profitable with positive [earnings] is a criminal act committed on the people of Atlantic City," he said.

Showboat, like most of AyCee's remaining 11 casinos, has been a victim of expanded gambling options in neighboring states and has been awash in red ink for years.

Caesars issued no official statement yesterday. Industry observers believe that the company has chosen to close Showboat rather than sell it in order to cut down on competition for its remaining Atlantic City properties: Caesars, Bally's and Harrah's Resort.

Originally opened as Showboat Casino, Hotel and Bowling Center (it originally boasted a 60-lane complex), it has for many years offered visitors a Mardi Gras-themed experience. In 2005 an outlet of the House of Blues music-and-restaurant chain opened inside Showboat.

- The Associated Press

contributed to this report.


On Twitter: @chuckdarrow

Blog: philly.com/Casinotes

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