Dennis Gomes, Figure in ‘Casino’ Movie, Buys Resorts

The Resorts Atlantic City casino
The Resorts Atlantic City casino, center, stands in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Photographer: Scott Lewis/Bloomberg

Dennis Gomes, a gambling industry veteran whose career figured in the Martin Scorsese movie “Casino,” agreed to buy Resorts Atlantic City, New Jersey’s oldest casino resort, from a group of creditors.

The purchase is subject to approval by the New Jersey Casino Control Commission and customary closing conditions, Gomes Gaming Inc. said today in a statement. Terms of the purchase weren’t given.

Gomes started his career in law enforcement with the Nevada Gaming Control Board and was later the chief of special investigations for the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, where he oversaw Resorts’ original licensing. One of his noteworthy Nevada probes served as the basis for the 1995 Oscar-nominated motion picture “Casino,” starring Robert De Niro, Sharon Stone and Joe Pesci, according to the statement.

“This is a very positive development for Atlantic City,” New Jersey Casino Control Commission Chairman Linda M. Kassekert said in an e-mail, noting Resorts employs 2,100 people. “Mr. Gomes is a proven operator with a great deal of experience here in Atlantic City. This deal will preserve those jobs and hopefully create even more employment as the property improves.”

Gomes has managed 14 different casinos resorts, including properties owned by Trump Entertainment Resorts Inc. and Aztar Corp. Resorts Atlantic City, the first U.S. casino outside of Nevada when it opened in 1978, includes two hotel towers, 942 guest rooms and about 100,000 square feet of casino space.

‘Back to Life’

“We are going to bring it back to life,” Gomes said in the statement. “I have disagreed with the doom and gloom analysts who have painted a bleak picture of our city.”

Colony Capital LLC in December handed over Resorts Atlantic City’s deed to mortgage holders led by Credit Suisse Group AG’s Column Financial in lieu of foreclosure, after missing payments on a $360 million loan since November 2008. Credit Suisse had bundled $175 million of the loan into a commercial mortgage-backed security sold to other investors, according to documents filed with New Jersey’s Casino Control Commission.

Resorts International Hotel, controlled by Nicholas Ribis, has been operating the seaside property under an agreement approved by gaming regulators. Ribis, based in New York, had owned the 5 percent of the property Colony Capital didn’t hold.

Mississippi Casinos

Ribis and Colony Capital also own the Atlantic City Hilton and two Mississippi casinos under different financing. U.S. Bank National Association asked a Camden, New Jersey, court this month to appoint a receiver for the three casinos, which stopped making loan payments in July 2009, court documents show.

U.S. Bank today filed a notice to dismiss the case, without giving a reason. The bank said it was dismissing the action with the sides paying their own lawyers’ fees. Joseph Lubertazzi Jr., U.S. Bank’s attorney, declined to comment.

Colony Capital is an investment company controlled by billionaire Tom Barrack and Column Financial is Credit Suisse’s commercial real estate lender.

Paul Faver of JB Real Estate Investment Group LLC provided acquisition advice to Gomes Gaming in connection with the transaction. Cantor Fitzgerald & Co. served as financial advisers. Cooper Levenson provided legal services.

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