New Jersey gambling regulators on Thursday gave the green light to Rhode Island-based casino operator Twin River Worldwide Holdings to purchase and operate Bally’s Atlantic City Hotel & Casino.
The approval came after Twin River committed to a $90 million renovation and expansion of the once glitzy but now not so much Boardwalk resort.
Members of the New Jersey Casino Control Commission allowed Twin River to purchase Bally’s from its current owner, Caesars Entertainment Inc., and run the property once the sale closes. The transaction, which was first announced this past spring, is expected to be finalized in the next couple of weeks.
James Plousis, Chairman of the New Jersey Casino Control Commission, said Thursday that he is pleased to hear Bally’s new owner is committed to the resort’s success and “is committed to making the necessary financial commitments toward that goal.”
Commissioner Alisa Cooper added that “the once-grand property will be restored, renovated and upgraded to become an integral and competitive part of the gaming industry in Atlantic City.”
The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement told Twin River that at least $75 million of its planned $90 million investment in Bally’s should be spent within the first three years after the company acquires the property.
The $90 million commitment announced by Twin River well exceeds a previous promise of $65 million in much-needed renovations and upgrades.
Opened in 1979, Bally’s was the third casino resort on Atlantic City’s legendary Boardwalk. The property was once among the city’s top performers and even led the local gaming market at one point. However, it has been the poorest performing casino in Atlantic City for several years now as Caesars has focused more on growing its other properties in the city.
Twin River has said it plans to renovate hotel rooms, upgrade dining facilities, repair or replace critical infrastructure, and boost the property’s entertainment offerings.
The company’s CEO, George Papanier, told New Jersey gambling regulators that mixed martial arts and boxing cards would be part of the resort’s entertainment options once the Covid-19 pandemic eases.
Twin River announced last month a partnership with FanDuel under which the sports betting operator would run Bally’s brand new sportsbook. A temporary facility will open doors while a permanent one is under development, Twin River officials have revealed.
The casino operator will also look to profit from online and mobile sports betting and from online casino offerings once it closes the Bally’s deal.
It also plans to utilize 80,000 square feet of meeting and convention space that Caesars “has not done […]
to in recent years.
Many of the upgrades are planned to be completed in the first year after Twin River assumes ownership of the property, it also became known. The Casino Control Commission’s Chairman said Thursday that “given the amount of improvements planned in the first year, we expect a considerable progress report” to be presented by Twin River at a special hearing in early 2021.
Twin River will next week rebrand as Bally’s Corporation after it purchased last month the worldwide rights to the Bally’s brand from Caesars in a $20 million deal. The casino operator’s common stock will begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “BALY” on Monday, November 9.
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