ATLANTIC CITY — The 33-year-old Atlantic Club Casino Hotel closed at 12:01 a.m. Monday, costing 1,600 people their jobs as the gambling market reaches saturation levels.
The casino opened in December 1980 as the Golden Nugget, then owned by gaming magnate Steve Wynn. It soon became Atlantic City’s top-earning casino, with TV commercials featured Wynn bringing fresh towels to Frank Sinatra, who often performed there.
The casino subsequently went through several owners and re-brandings: The Grand, Bally’s Grand, the Atlantic City Hilton, ACH and finally the Atlantic Club.
Since hedge fund Colony Capital bought the property for around $500 million in 2005, it was a disaster financially, filing for bankruptcy this past fall.
The Garden State legalized online gambling nearly a year ago to help stop the bleeding and prevent casino closures, but apparently it was too little too late for the Atlantic Club.
Colony Capital was at one point prepared to sell it for $15 million to PokerStars, whose one-time chief is under federal indictment and still has not been found suitable to run online poker in New Jersey. The deal collapsed amid vigorous opposition from the American Gaming Association, the U.S. commercial casino industry’s top lobbying group.
This is the latest blow to Atlantic City, which is struggling to rebuild.
According to the casino’s website, any customer holding onto chips or tokens after midnight will have to file a “proof of claim” with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court of New Jersey.
The Atlantic Club shuttering brings the number of A.C. gaming halls down to 11.
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