Chatham Asset Management, the largest equity holder in Revel Casino-Hotel, was deemed qualified Wednesday for New Jersey licensing by the Casino Control Commission.
The commission was required to consider Chatham’s qualifications following Revel’s bankruptcy proceeding last year, during which the investment company agreed to have its debt converted into equity. Chatham, which owns 28 percent of the equity in Revel, had been operating under a temporary arrangement approved by the commission in May.
Wednesday morning’s proceedings followed weeks of speculation over who might purchase Revel, which has been openly pursuing a sale since last year. Lawmakers have confirmed that Hard Rock International and Caesars Entertainment are among the interested parties.
During the hearing, however, Deputy Attorney General Jack Adams, appearing on behalf of the state Division of Gaming Enforcement, stressed that the purpose of the hearing was not to discuss Revel’s potential sale.
“Any other issues pertaining to Revel will not be discussed now,” Adams said.
Still, during public comment, members of Atlantic City’s largest casino union, UNITE-HERE Local 54, called on the commission to ensure that any company that purchases Revel consider the employees’ interests. There has been speculation that if Revel is sold, the new owners may shut down the property temporarily for renovations.
While Revel’s estimated 3,000 workers are not unionized, Local 54 has been advocating for Revel employees, arguing that it is in the best interest of the entire casino work force for Revel employees to retain their jobs.
Ben Begleiter, a research analyst for Local 54, called on Chatham to speak publicly about what the company would do to protect the workers in the event of a sale.
Representatives of Chatham, including Greg Roselli, a senior analyst with Chatham, and Evan Ratner, Chatham’s portfolio manager, left the room as Begleiter began speaking.
Mullica resident Pat Van Woeart, who worked at the recently shuttered Atlantic Club Casino Hotel for 17 years, similarly asked the commission to scrutinize any future sale of Revel for the sake of the workers there.
“You have our best interests at heart, and you have our children’s future,” Van Woeart told the three-member commission.
Commission Chairman Matthew Levinson, however, limited his public comments to Chatham’s qualifications, supporting a report by the DGE that found the company is qualified to hold its equity interest.
“Chatham’s commitment to Revel through its ongoing financial and professional support is certainly noteworthy,” Levinson said.
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