Glenn Straub Says He Regrets Buying Revel Casino

Glenn Straub in Forbes Interview

In an April 2016 Forbes interview, Straub said, “Atlantic City is a perfect place to put money. It’s going to multiply by ten times what it’s now worth.”

Glenn Straub regrets buying the Revel Casino, due to the bureaucratic hassles he’s faced since the purchase. Currently, Straub is facing delays in acquiring a casino gaming license and he is considering abandoning the project altogether.

In a recent interview with the Star-Ledger, Glenn Straub criticized the red tape he has faced in his time as a prospective New Jersey businessman. He said the time-consuming and drawn-out licensing process is like nothing else he’s seen in his years in business.

Criticizes New Jersey Officials

Straub told the Star-Ledger, “This state stinks. It just stinks…I worked in five states. This is 10 times worse than what it would be anyplace else…I’ve got other things to do. I don’t have time to be screwing around with this stuff.”

Glenn Straub’s plan is to re-open the Revel Building as a resort with hotel and casino facilities, but also with entertainment-based attractions. Straub’s casino would not be as big as the original Revel Casino, meaning it would better fit into the economic picture of the current Atlantic City gambling industry.

With Trump Taj Mahal set to close on Labor Day, the new Revel Casino would be the 8th casino in an industry which has supported 8 profitable casinos these past two years, when 4 casinos closed.

Unable to Gain Licensing

Yet Glenn Straub has been unable to get the licensing for a gaming license. The Division of Gaming Enforcement rejected Straub’s desire to receive a vendor license, which has a lower bar.

When the Florida developer bought the Revel Building for $82 million, most thought it was a remarkably good deal. The building cost $2.4 billion to build, so he was getting the property for about 3% of the initial cost.

ACR Energy Partners

Other bidders in the Revel bankruptcy auction dropped out, because the energy costs were outrageous. One of the reasons the original Revel Casino went bankrupt is it had to pay $3 million a month to ACR Energy Partners for electricity.

Glenn Straub had a different plan. He outwaited ACR Energy, who eventually sold Straub its infrastructure and equipment (and debts) for $30 million. For the cost of 10 months of electricity bills, Straub had direct control of the energy apparatus.

Revel Hotel Planned for June 2105

Thus, Glenn Straub and his development company, Polo North, appeared ready to do business. He planned to open a 500-room Revel Hotel on June 15. Straub even solicited naming ideas from the Atlantic City public, because he wanted to rebrand the entire complex.

Instead, Glenn Straub could not get the proper licensing. He postponed the opening date to October 2016, but the Star-Ledger believes even that date is a forlorn hope. Without a gaming license, it makes no sense to own the Revel Building.

Is His Outsider Status a Problem?

That begs a question: is there something in Glenn Straub’s past which makes a gaming license problematic or is the regulator dragging its feet because Glenn Straub is an outsider?

Most of the new casino owners in Atlantic City are old casino companies, like MGM Resorts (Borgata) and Caesars Entertainment (3 casinos). Even Morris Bailey’s Resorts Casino has Mohegan Sun as its management company.

That would seem to be the implication Glenn Straub is making, that the local bureaucrats are causing trouble for a Florida businessman with no previous ties to the gambling industry. When Straub was vying with Brookfield Asset Management, a Toronto company which owns gaming properties in the international market, he and his lawyer suggested the process was not fair, because he was a stranger to the AC gaming industry. The only other implication is the regulators are simply incompetent.

Atlantic City Needs Job Creators

If his implication is New Jersey’s officials are incompetent, then perhaps other New Jersey residents would agree. As for any other explanation, it would be self-destructive for New Jersey gaming officials to work against someone trying to open a business in Atlantic City right now. The city needs jobs desperately, 3,000 casino workers are about to lose their jobs, and Revel Casino wants to hire them. To dither on licensing this potential business seems to be folly.

If Glenn Straub has issues that would preclude licensing, that is another matter. If so, some indication that he is objectionable might help.