Atlantic Club Casino Hotel has announced more specifics about its closing procedures as the more than 1,600 employees who will be unemployed Jan. 13 begin their job searches.
At least one casino in a neighboring state plans to comb through Atlantic Club’s employee pool for new hires, with two exclusive job fairs at the bankrupt casino planned next week.
Casino patrons, meanwhile, must redeem any chips, comps, tokens or vouchers before midnight Jan. 13, when the casino that first opened in 1980 ceases operations. Resorts Casino Hotel has announced it will match slot cash and play offers for current Atlantic Club players.
Last month, Caesars Entertainment Operating Co. and Tropicana Atlantic City Corp., the parent companies of other casinos, agreed to buy the bankrupt property for a combined $23.4 million, the lowest paid for any Atlantic City casino property to date. Caesars spent $15 million to acquire the property and the hotel’s furnishings, while Tropicana spent $8.4 million for 1,641 slot machines, 48 table games and the casino’s customer data.
After Jan. 13, the only way Atlantic Club players can receive reimbursements directly from the casino is by providing proof of claim to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of New Jersey in Camden. In a statement to the public, Atlantic Club said it “provides no assurance of success in obtaining a redemption by filing a proof of claim with the Bankruptcy Court.”
All event invitations and promotional offers with valid dates after Jan. 12 are canceled, the casino announced. Similarly, all vouchers through Club Local — a promotional program that allowed gamblers to spend their earnings at local non-gambling businesses — will expire after Jan. 12.
Resorts, however, will match free slot play and match play for Atlantic Club members through its Star Card program in January and February. It will also match loyalty card levels and provide free parking to players who present their Atlantic Club card.
Mark Giannantonio, Resorts’ president and CEO, said his casino provides a compatible experience with its focus on “casual, laid-back fun.” Last year, Resorts renovated part of its property under the Jimmy Buffett-related Margaritaville brand.
“We feel Resorts is the perfect choice for Atlantic Club guests to continue enjoying their casino experiences,” he said in a written statement. “The Atlantic Club guests will be looking for a new home, and we want to make sure we keep them in the market and let them know they are welcomed with open arms.”
Israel Posner, executive director of the Lloyd D. Levenson Institute of Gaming, Hospitality and Tourism at Richard Stockton College, said Resorts’ amenities — including the only year-round beach bar in Atlantic City — target a similar local demographic as Atlantic Club. Tropicana, which purchased the neighboring Atlantic Club’s customer data, will also likely pick up some of its revenue.
“People will by vying for those local customers,” he said. “(Which casinos do) is going to depend on what kind of marketing campaign and customer profile that the different properties have.”
While Atlantic Club’s revenue was small comparatively, Posner said that revenue will now be split between a smaller number of casinos. In the third quarter of 2013, the state Division of Gaming Enforcement reported Atlantic Club’s net revenue at $88.6 million, up 8 percent from the same period last year.
“This certainly moves the industry in a direction some people think it needs to go, toward a more efficient kind of alignment between supply and demand,” he said.
But Posner said the most important impact is on the workers who will be put out of work by the closing.
“It’s going to be very tough on them,” he said. “And the entire community is concerned.”
The closing and lost jobs come at a time of already high unemployment rates. In October, the most recent data available from the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, they were at 15.1 percent and 11.7 percent in Atlantic City and Atlantic County, respectively.
Posner said about 300 of the Atlantic Club’s employees live in Atlantic City, with several hundred spread out in Absecon, Egg Harbor Township, Galloway Township and the surrounding areas, respectively. Their unemployment will affect the economy throughout the region.
Shortly after the sale, it was announced that 750 of Atlantic Club’s union-represented employees would receive the $1,500 stipulated in their contracts in the event the casino closed.
Maryland Live! Casino, located at the Arundel Mills Mall in Hanover, Md., plans to hold a series of job fairs in Atlantic City next week.
Recruiters and hiring managers for the casino, which opened in 2012, will hold two fairs exclusively for Atlantic Club employees at the closing property. Two other fairs open to the general public will be held at the Sheraton Atlantic City.
Howard Weinstein, Maryland Live’s senior vice president and general counsel, said the company is looking to hire about 100 employees across all positions. Most the casino’s hourly positions are union represented, he said, and full-time employees are given a modest relocation package along with health and other benefits.
In the past, Weinstein said the company had held job fairs in markets with casinos, such as Philadelphia and West Virginia. Atlantic Club, and Atlantic City as a whole, was attractive because of its highly skilled labor force.
“This is an opportunity for us to target a qualified pool of candidates from within our industry,” he said. “What we’re targeting is experience and, at least for the Atlantic Club, the most qualified candidates we can find.”
Maryland Live spokeswoman Carmen Gonzales said the casino plans to open several restaurants in the next year with possible long-term plans for a hotel and convention center. Since 2012, she said the casino has opened in phases, increasing its hiring as it went.