In The Latest Twist, Revel Owner Fighting NJ DGE Over Casino Licensing Requirements

Posted By Steve Ruddock on June 27, 2016

Revel was slated to open in a limited capacity on June 15, according to the property’s owner. But as has been the case with Revel since the cornerstone was put in place, the timeline is being adjusted, and the property remains closed.

The new owner of Revel Casino, Glenn Straub, is locked in a battle of wills with the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (and other state regulators, to boot) over the need to procure a gambling license.

In addition to the gaming license, Straub has also failed to secure a liquor license, as well as a temporary certificate of occupancy from the city, according to the Press of Atlantic City.

Straub says he is unwilling to reopen the property until the DGE drops its insistence that Straub apply for and receive a gambling license, and has indicated he will file suit if the stalemate continues.

Who’s right and who’s wrong?

Straub believes the license is wholly unnecessary, as he will be acting only as a “landlord” to an outside company (this company will be licensed by the DGE) that will run the casino on his behalf.

“This is just one more example of New Jersey’s anti-business attitude,” Straub’s company, Polo North, told the Press of AC in a statement. “What is especially galling is that New Jersey is engaging in this conduct when it has imposed a strict time limit on Atlantic City putting its financial house in order.”

For its part, the DGE has indicated it would perhaps be amenable to Straub foregoing an operator license, but the DGE insists he must have some level of licensure before the casino can be reopened, even if his role in the property is limited and nonexistent when it comes to the casino.

“The division continues to work with Polo North and its gaming attorney to secure all appropriate licenses and authorizations,” DGE Spokeswoman Kerry Langan told the Press of AC. “The division cannot comment on specific details regarding ongoing investigations.”

As the owner of the property, it seems unlikely the DGE will allow Straub to reopen the casino without some sort of vetting and licensure, even if the casino is being run by a licensed third-party contractor.

Reason being, while this is unlikely to be the case in this instance, what Straub is suggesting could create a return to the days of figurehead casino license holders, should other properties try to come up with workarounds based on Straub’s reasoning.

Just another stumbling block for Straub

This is just the latest issue for Straub, whose ownership of the New Jersey casino has been downright chaotic.

Beginning with the initial purchase at auction (an auction he initiated, lost, challenged, and later won after the winner rescinded their bid) Glenn Straub’s short time as Revel owner has been no less tumultuous than the previous period that saw the $2.4 billion casino land in bankruptcy court twice and shutter its doors just two years into its existence.

Straub’s grandiose plans for the hotel and casino have been anything but dull or lacking in vision.

His ideas have included everything from a motocross arena to a tower of geniuses and everything in between. Ice skating rinks, polo fields, wave pools, water parks, ziplines, and obstacle courses have all been thrown out as ideas meant to augment the more traditional uses of the multi-billion dollar structure’s first class casino and hotel, along with all of the amenities that accompanies such a project – restaurants, bars, spa, and conference centers.

But so far it’s been one headache and fight after another for Straub and his new Atlantic City project.

Whether it’s a dispute over Revel’s sky-high energy bills, or exploring the closed property with flashlight in hand, Straub’s time in Atlantic City has many looking at the man as little more than a wealthy eccentric whose plans for the property change by the day.

Now he’s waging a battle against the DGE and other state regulators over licensure, a battle he will be hard-pressed to win.

Image credit: Ritu Manoj Jethani /

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Steve Ruddock

Steve covers nearly every angle of online poker in his job as a full-time freelance poker writer. His primary focus is the developing legal and legislative picture for regulated US online poker and gambling.

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