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Trumping the Seagulls

60 pound seagulls and other plagues at Revel, Atlantic City

Trumping the Seagulls

Just when you thought nothing else could go wrong at Revel, the giant seagulls come.

Glenn Straub, the Florida developer who bought the shuttered $2.4 billion, still-new Atlantic City casino resort for $82 million, is currently embroiled in a battle with ACR Energy, the Atlantic City power company formed specifically to build and operate the facility supplying power to the Revel.

Incidentally, Straub plans to turn it into a water park, maybe with a casino (it will be called the “Water Park Hotel, Spa and Maybe Casino”). He abandoned his original plan to turn the Revel into a university for people who were, as he first put it, “free, white and over 21.”

To this day, I don’t know what he was thinking when he said that, but he later said the remark—which irked more than a few people—was simply an expression popularized by his own generation, meaning young people with no financial obligations.

I think it was the same generation that came up with “the zoot suit with the ‘reet pleat.”

But anyway, Straub doesn’t want to pay exorbitant fees to power his hotel-water-park-maybe-casino, nor does he want to pay the debt incurred by the original Revel owner to build it.

ACR Energy is, well, sort of freaking out, since they basically have one customer, which is buying just enough energy to keep fire systems operational in a big, empty, glass seagull target.

Yes, last month, Straub said huge holes in the Revel’s glass façade were made when the side of the building was bombarded by kamikaze seagulls. These weren’t just seagulls—they were “the biggest seagulls I’ve ever seen,” Straub told reporters, saying they routinely smash into the vacant building.

Straub says he’ll soon begin a $36,000 repair plan for the seagull-pocked exterior, the main goal of which is to prevent the building from beginning to look like an abandoned steel mill.

“You folks have got some giant seagulls here—some of them look like they’re 60 pounds,” Straub told the Press of Atlantic City. “We find feathers and everything else underneath the windows, not to mention crabs that they drop from way up to smash them open and then eat.”

Yum.

I’m guessing that pointing all this out to the local press might not be the best way to build business for your new hotel-water-park-maybe-casino. Just my opinion.

Meanwhile, the power plant company is beginning its own death rattle. According to a recent court filing, the plant defaulted on its loans and may not survive. The latest headline from ACR came as we went to press, accusing Straub of planning to find another buyer and “flip” the Revel.

Straub’s people say that’s absurd, and I believe them. Good luck flipping that place. Maybe a steel company would buy it.

The other big news this month comes from our old industry pal, Donald Trump, who, you may have heard, is running for the office of President of the United States.

Late last month, Trump said he would make Carl Icahn, our other industry pal, secretary of the treasury. Icahn first said no thanks, but then announced he had changed his mind after he found out that Trump had emerged as the Republican front-runner.

Sorry, I need a few minutes for that to sink in. Republican. Front. Runner. President. United. States. Donald. Trump.

OK, I’m better now.

Anyway, Icahn, owner of the Tropicana and landlord of the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, is ready to be President Trump’s treasury secretary, since he, you know, specializes in buying stuff out of bankruptcy and returning them to solvency. Maybe he’ll do that with America. Heck, maybe he’ll do that with Donald’s hair.

But flash! More news from the Trump campaign: Fox Business News reports that Wynn Resorts CEO Steve Wynn has been acting as the Donald’s “unofficial adviser” in his presidential bid.

Wow. Maybe there will be a cabinet post for Wynn, too. And as a bonus, Steve could draw up a plan to re-design the White House into something that has more desirable non-gaming amenities. I’m thinking dancing fountains and faux volcanoes just off the Rose Garden. How about animatronic dead presidents?

Anyway, with Trump, Icahn and Wynn all in the White House, I guess we’ll have to find a place for Sheldon Adelson. (Ambassador to China, maybe?) And don’t forget Bill Boyd, Frank Fertitta and Jim Murren.

I can’t wait to see the direction foreign policy takes.

“What, we owe China almost a trillion dollars? Issue them markers, give them odds and tell them we’re going for double or nothing.”

Sheesh, why didn’t anyone think of that before?

Frank Legato is editor of Global Gaming Business magazine. He has been writing on gaming topics since 1984, when he launched and served as editor of Casino Gaming magazine. Legato, a nationally recognized expert on slot machines, has served as editor and reporter for a variety of gaming publications, including Public Gaming, IGWB, Casino Journal, Casino Player, Strictly Slots and Atlantic City Insider. He has an B.A. in journalism and an M.A. in communications from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA. He is the author of the books, How To Win Millions Playing Slot Machines... Or Lose Trying, and Atlantic City: In Living Color.