The Atlantic Club Casino Hotel, the white gaming palace at the southwest end of the Atlantic City Boardwalk that began life in 1980 as the Golden Nugget Atlantic City, closed its doors permanently on January 13, after its sale to Caesars Entertainment at a bargain-basement price of million.
The Atlantic Club incarnation of the property, which had been Bally’s Grand, The Grand, the Atlantic City Hilton and ACH over its long and troubled history before its last name change in 2012, had actually begun to turn its years of losses around through a value-based marketing program that featured good odds, cheap rooms and reasonably priced food.
But the improvements were too little and too late for a struggling property in a chronically struggling market, and its owner, real estate trust Colony Capital, filed for bankruptcy protection last year, putting the property up for sale.
There was a ray of hope when online gaming operator PokerStars signed an agreement to buy the property from Colony. PokerStars was one of the operators whose sites were shut down with executives indicted in the so-called “Black Friday” federal indictments in 2011, for continuing to accept U.S. wagers after passage of the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act.
Atlantic Club executives canceled the purchase agreement when PokerStars was late with a payment, and the Atlantic Club was able to keep the initial $11 million in payments.
Few other suitors appeared with any interest in buying the property at auction. Ultimately, Caesars agreed to buy the property and land for $15 million, and Tropicana Entertainment agreed to purchase the property’s 1,641 slot machines and 48 table games and customer database for $8.4 million, in what is the lowest price ever paid for an Atlantic City property.
Caesars officials have not revealed any plans for the property, other than the fact it will not continue operations as a casino-hotel.