Showboat Casino in New Jersey Set to Close

Showboat Casino in New Jersey Set to CloseThe Showboat Atlantic City Hotel and Casino is preparing to close its doors as declining revenue continues to take its toll on New Jersey’s gaming industry.

Unite HERE Local 54 union president Bob McDevitt told the Press of Atlantic City that casino employees will be getting notice of the impending shutdown as early as today. A federal statute requires workers to be formally notified when their jobs will be terminated and roughly 2,100 employees are in line to be getting their pink slips.

Showboat is one of four New Jersey casinos operated by Caesars Entertainment, who also accepts wagers at Harrah’s, Bally’s, and its namesake, Caesars Atlantic City. Company representatives had mentioned a possible closing of one of their gaming establishments last month amid mounting operating costs and diminishing revenue totals that have fallen seven years running for the industry as a whole.

The shutdown announcement comes just a few days after the [geolink href=””]Revel Casino Hotel filed for bankruptcy protection[/geolink] for the second time in as many years, with company executives announcing that a new buyer is needed via a bankruptcy auction in order to remain open. And just five months ago, the Atlantic Club closed its doors for good after also landing in bankruptcy court.

Currently, there are 11 casinos on the New Jersey boardwalk. That number will soon be reduced to 10 by the Showboat’s closure.

Atlantic City had been flying high in terms of revenue just a decade or so ago until neighboring states began constructing casinos. The new land-based gaming establishments gave gamblers on the East Coast many more gaming options and siphoned a huge number of those who used to make the trek to New Jersey to gamble.

Pennsylvania is the main cause of Atlantic City’s struggles, as the Keystone State now boasts a dozen casinos. Gaming expansion has allowed the state to take over the no. 2 position in terms of brick and mortar gaming revenue, second only to Nevada. New Jersey had been the runner-up for decades before Pennsylvania made its ascent up the revenue ladder within the U.S.

New Jersey launched online gambling in November in hopes of making up for revenue losses at its casinos. While the scheme is still in its infancy, a number of factors have contributed to a less than stellar showing in terms of pre-launch projections.

The failure of financial institutions to honor player deposits, geolocation issues that blocked a number of players within New Jersey from logging on, and unregulated sites that continued to cater to state residents are cited as some of the reasons why igaming has not met expectations. But hope may be on the horizon as gaming regulators are reviewing the license application of the Amaya Gaming Company, who recently purchased PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker for $4.9 billion.

PokerStars may provide a boost to New Jersey’s online revenue numbers as soon as this fall. However, that comes as no relief to the more than 2,100 Showboat employees who will be forced into the unemployment line. They will fall in line behind the 1,600 from the Atlantic Club in January and may soon be among 3,200 more workers from the Revel.

Jacqueline Packett
Jacqueline Packett