A U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge approved a plan Friday allowing companies just 10 days to bid on the Atlantic Club Casino Hotel.
The casino filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection late Wednesday night, saying it does not have financing to continue operating long term.
According to court documents, on Friday Judge Gloria Burns cleared a schedule calling for bids on the Boardwalk property to be received by Nov. 18. A buyer should be selected at auction in December.
Other actions approved by the judge Friday will allow the casino to continue to operate during the bankruptcy procedure, as expected. Atlantic Club will be allowed to pay its 1,660 employees, honor casino chips and pay taxes among other actions.
Employees have received warning notices that the property will close by Jan. 1, but Cathleen Kiernan, a spokeswoman for the Atlantic Club, said the notices were legally required to be sent while the bankruptcy proceedings are underway.
Court documents filed late Wednesday night show that the casino owes more than $1.4 million in legal fees and nearly $3.7 million in fees for trade services. The casino's largest creditor is recorded as its own employee pension plan, whose debt is listed as "unknown." Previous reports have said the casino has a $30 million unfunded pension liability.
Despite an 11 percent gambling revenue increase in the first nine months of the year, the casino has registered a more than $7 million operating loss, court documents state.
Online gambling giant PokerStars offered to buy the property for $15 million earlier this year, but the deal later crumbled when Atlantic Club backed out. PokerStars had been funding Atlantic Club's operating losses for months, and sued to maintain the deal.
A Superior Court judge ruled this summer that Atlantic Club could keep $11 million PokerStars had paid toward the purchase price while walking away from the deal. PokerStars has appealed that ruling.
Atlantic Club is the second Atlantic City casino to file for bankruptcy this year. Revel Casino-Hotel emerged from the process in May.
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