Caesars’ Loveman Says Worst Is Over for Atlantic CityFreeman Klopott and Christopher Palmeri
Caesars Entertainment Corp. Chief Executive Officer Gary Loveman said the worst may be over for Atlantic City after five of the New Jersey town’s 12 casinos have closed or said they may shut this year.
The beach resort that once had a monopoly on East Coast gambling has taken a beating in recent years from expanded competition in neighboring states. Trump Entertainment Resorts Inc., the casino company founded by Donald Trump, filed for bankruptcy court protection yesterday, saying it may have to close its Trump Taj Mahal in November.
“Atlantic City has taken its worst blows,” Loveman said yesterday at a hearing in Albany, the New York capital. “I’m cautiously optimistic that a turn is coming.”
Loveman was pitching New York regulators on a casino he’s proposing in Woodbury. The Caesars project is one of 16 bids the state is considering after voters last year approved as many as four casinos upstate. New York’s Gaming Facility Location Board is expected to pick the winners by year-end.
The casino Caesars is proposing about 55 miles (88 kilometers) north of Manhattan won’t damage Atlantic City’s business because New York City gamblers seeking a day trip are already diverted by casinos in Connecticut and Pennsylvania, Loveman said.
Atlantic City needs more casino alternatives, such as the convention center the company is building, nightclubs, greater use of the beach and a “significant” effort to clean up the city and its finances, Loveman said.
Caesars is the largest operator in Atlantic City, with three casinos, even after closing its Showboat property there on Aug. 31.
“There will be a few more blows, but none of them will be as severe as what we’ve had thus far,” Loveman said.