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Caesar in Desperate Fight with Creditors over Bankruptcy

Apr 24, 2015
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Caesars Entertainment has total control over bankruptcy

The operating unit of the bankrupt Caesars Entertainment needs more time to prepare a plan for restructuring the company. Therefore they submitted a plea to extend the period while they possess exclusive bankruptcy control until November, however the company’s creditors intend to prevent that. The noteholders, including the operating unit’s only allies, don’t want to let Caesars’ parent company to acquire protection from any lawsuit over their suspicious property transfers.

Bloomberg BNA:Caesars Creditors Try to Disqualify Kirkland

Kirkland & Ellis had to prepare for a fight in bankruptcy court against a committee that speaks for the junior secured noteholders in restructuring client Caesars Entertainment Operating Co, gambling law news reported recently. The committee tried to eliminate Kirkland, asking a judge to cast the firm off since they represented the Caesars Entertainment’s majority owners, Apollo Global Management LLC and TPG Capital, on unrelated matters.

According to the committee, Kirkland also collected nearly $10 million in fees improperly just before the company’s bankruptcy on the 15th of January. The junior noteholders wanted the bankruptcy to happen in Wilmington, Delaware, while Bankruptcy Judge A. Benjamin Goldgar is in Chicago, where the law firm originates from.

Bankruptcy is not a cheap process at all, and the quarrel over Kirkland’s participation increases the expenses heavily. According to the firm, the first six weeks after Caesars Entertainment filed for Bankruptcy cost them roughly $10 million. With this dispute over Kirkland’s participation, the bill will continue to run up without bringing the matter closer to solution.

Caesars Entertainment was in a restructuring process since years. After the debts and yearly interest fees were reduced significantly, it seemed that a complete reorganization is in reach. However, protesting creditors invented in January, filing for bankruptcy in Delaware.

Casinoscamreport.com: Caesars Wants More Time for Bankruptcy Plan

Caesars Entertainment trying to secure more time for planning, asked the Chicago bankruptcy court for a six month extension to reshape their structure strategy. On the actual conditions, Caesar’s operating division has to submit their recovery plan to the operational department until the 15th of May.

Lawyers representing the gambling giant stated that it is simply impossible to meet that deadline, according to online mobile news. They have 173 separate entities and many legal problems, they are currently fighting with their creditors too, and there is an ongoing investigation for their earlier deals.

The Caesars’s casino department has a debt of $18 million itself, but with the extension granted, the company could abolish the most of it. The possible new deadline would be the 15th of November if the bankruptcy court approves the company’s plea, and the creditors would have time to reply and articulate any disagreements until January.

If the extension is not granted by Judge A. Benjamin Goldgar, Caesar will present their suggestion to the court on the 29th of April and a verdict expected to be made quickly after. Caesars Entertainment’s shares have dropped by 17% after the extension plea was announced. The legal procedure is far from over, but it seems that Caesar prepared for a long war.

Reuters.com: Creditors, Caesars spar over control of casino bankruptcy

Creditors of Caesars Entertainment stated that they intend to block the attempt of the bankrupt company’s operating unit to extend the period during it has total control of the Chapter 11 restructure. They filed oppositions on Wednesday against the operating unit’s plea to push the deadline back with six months to November 15 instead of May 15.

During that time the operating unit has exclusive rights to suggest a strategy to diminish its $18 million debt. The creditors’ goal is to reach a point where other plans can also be submitted. Caesar’s operating unit filed for bankruptcy in January and that it is a rarity that creditors oppose the extension of exclusive control in such an early phase of a case.

Online gambling news reported that the company’s only supporters within the group of noteholders also objected the extension plea. The largest casino operator in the U.S. is in a desperate fight against its creditors, who accused the parent company of separating the operating unit of major properties like Linq Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.

The parent company, which is not bankrupt, is controlled by private equity firms Apollo Global Management LLC and TPG Capital Management. The operating unit plans to divide into a casino operator and a real estate investment trust by restructuring. This move would increase the value of the latter, and creditors would benefit from that. However, online betting news learned that by such a move Apollo and TPG would be protected from lawsuits over the property transfers, and the creditors want to prevent that.

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Former Gambling Resort Opens the Door for Schools and Conference Centers

Nov 17, 2014
Snowboat to open the door for schools and conference centers

Snowboat to open the door for schools and conference centers

Atlantic City hasn’t had much luck this year, but authorities are looking for ways to “stop the bleeding” and help the city recover financially.

The former gambling kingdom just can’t catch a break. By the end of this year, Atlantic City may see its fifth casino sink, causing unemployment rates to go up yet again. As the city is suffering from the closures, authorities are looking for a way to bounce back by completely rebuilding it.

There are a number of closed shops and casinos in the city, but if you think about how hard Atlantic City has had it this year, you’ll be quite pleasantly impressed with the amount of new construction here. Right across from the now-bankrupt Trump Plaza, a Bass Pro outdoor goods store will rise over an entire city block.

According to online gambling news, New Jersey’s Casino Reinvestment Development Authority offered land and $12 million in cash to help develop the project which will employ 290 people. Mayor Don Guardian says the city has become too dependent on gambling revenues, but it’s time for a change.

“The city was happy, because it provided decent jobs with benefits and it paid the taxes, but we lost everything else. You lose your whole entrepreneurial spirit,” he said in an interview.

NPR: As Casinos Fold, Stakes Are High For Atlantic City Transformation

Just as Las Vegas did two decades ago, Atlantic City is trying to become less dependent on casino profits and branch out more into entertainment. It’s looking to become a destination for conferences and various events, not just a place where you can gamble.

Caesars Entertainment said it took nine million pounds of steel to build the structure of the new Waterfront Conference Center in Atlantic City, which has received substantial backing from the developer and from the casino reinvestment authority. Rick Mazer, regional president of Caesars Entertainment said: “This is the business that I think will evolve and regrow Atlantic City.”

However, some experts are skeptical of the project’s potential to succeed. Oliver Cooke, an economist at nearby Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, has his doubts. “You simply are not going to consume your way out of the morass that you’re in,” he explained. “Doing things like building more retail, building more convention centers, has a very, very limited upside.”

Meanwhile, authorities are talking about reselling, reopening and repurposing some casinos. Just last week, Stockton College announced it was going to buy the old Showboat property and The Revel’s new owners are allegedly planning to make a new investment and reopen the venue.

But Atlantic City needs more than just commercial projects. Mayor Don Guardian hopes to see new residents move in and rebuild the city. “Then we’ve gotta work on our school system,” he continues. “But I gotta fix the city first, find jobs, get taxes, reduce cost of government, make the place pretty, and then we’ll work on the schools. I like the challenge.”

Washington Times: Taxes, schools, casinos key to Christie AC plan

Atlantic City officials are trying to come up with ways to get the economy up and running again. Governor Chris Christie has commissioned a plan calling for more predictable taxes for casinos, temporarily freezing taxes on non-gambling property and halting payments on employee pension plans, as well as offering more support for schools that reduce costs.

The commission appointed to study Atlantic City’s future prospects has released a set of recommendations, but the governor hasn’t committed himself to anything yet. According to the commission, the city should have an emergency manager holding “extraordinary supervisory powers” over expenses and taxes.

Experts added that Atlantic City should form a public-private development corporation, similar to the one that helped New Brunswick. An essential part of the plan is property tax reform.

“Extraordinary state and local support is required in the transition phase of the Atlantic City revitalization strategy focusing on immediate activities with a high probability of success, including balancing the municipal and school cost structure toward ‘new normal,’” panel Chairman Jon Hanson wrote.

The report said: “High effective rates and a rapidly declining tax base have created an immense financial burden for residents, local businesses and the casino industry,” the report read. The “entire Atlantic City gaming industry is at risk as each incremental casino closure results in a greater tax increase than revenue increase for the surviving casinos.”

If freed from making pension payments for three years, the city could save up to $71.1 million, while in the same time reducing the need to borrow money. The plan proposes regionalizing the police and fire departments, thus cutting costs by $25 million a year.

The $30 million used by the Atlantic City Alliance to promote the city should be redirected to the new development corporation, ACDevCo, the commission recommended.

Reuters: New Jersey college buys Atlantic City’s closed Showboat casino

The shuttered Showboat Atlantic City gambling resort formerly operated by Caesars Entertainment could be bought by a college in southern New Jersey. The Richard Stockton College wants to transform the 1.4 million square foot property completely, by turning it into a campus.

The building sits on 28 beachfront acres and holds 1,329 hotel rooms. The deal is subject to due diligence checks, but the terms of the contract were not disclosed yet.

Stockton president Herman Saatkamp said: “Our intent is to engage in a project that enhances Stockton’s educational growth, offerings and cost-containment while at the same time brings new educational opportunities to Atlantic City.”

Although the casino resort was still making profit, Caesars closed it in August. The venues was reportedly sacrificed in an attempt to consolidate the city’s deteriorating gaming market.

Caesars CEO Gary Loveman is hopeful that the new agreement could help steer the local economy in a new direction. “The transformation and revitalization of Atlantic City requires the addition of a diverse set of reasons for people to come visit,” he told reporters.

In 2010, Stockton College bought the Seaview Resort in Galloway Township for $20 million. Part of the property is used to house students and train them in hospitality.

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Expert Predictions Come True: Wave of Casino Closings in Atlantic City

Jul 10, 2014

Expert Predictions Come True: Wave of Casino Closings in Atlantic City

Over the past few years, economists and analysts have warned about the “casino saturation” in the north-eastern part of the US. Now authorities and business owners are witnessing the disaster and there’s nothing they can do about it.

With growing competition from other states in the area, New Jersey’s Atlantic City is in a desperate financial situation. There is no way out this time. The only thing left to do is to accept the defeat and close the resort’s unprofitable casinos, one by one. Otherwise, authorities are considering rebranding the city and turning it into a destination that offers visitors more than just casino games.

Let’s take a closer look at what recent gambling news have to say on the subject.

Philly.com: With casinos closing, Atlantic City considers future

About 2,100 employees received 60-day notices the next day, after Caesars Entertainment announced it was closing its Mardi Gras-themed casino, Showboat, by the end of this summer. The bad news comes only a few months after the Atlantic Club also went out of business and Revel is also likely to shutter if its owner doesn’t find a new buyer.

“Atlantic City is undergoing a massive economic transition,” Mayor Don Guardian said at a news conference Friday held at the site where a new nongaming attraction is being built. “We know it is painful for those who are losing their casino jobs.”

Liza Cartmell, chief executive officer of the nonprofit Atlantic City Alliance, told reporters: “Recent developments in Atlantic City are part of the larger picture of excess gaming across the United States that’s leading to painful economic decisions.”

There are simply too many casinos in the country, industry experts say. Over the past ten years, 26 gambling venues opened in the Northeast corridor alone; a dozen of them are located in Pennsylvania and a new one is scheduled to open in Baltimore later in August. The development of the casino industry in the area has put an end to the monopoly enjoyed by Atlantic City for nearly three decades.

ABC News: Atlantic City Casino Shutdown Needed, Analysts Say

The number of casinos in Atlantic City could go down from 12 to 9 by Labor Day, as analysts say the resort has too many gambling venues.

“We know that the oversupply of gaming product is a regional issue, as we’re seeing the effects of the pressure all around Atlantic City,” says Israel Posner, executive director of the Lloyd D. Levenson Institute of Gaming, Hospitality and Tourism at Stockton College.

Atlantic City is going through a rough patch and Mayor Don Guardian believes a makeover will be difficult, but necessary. Officials say the time has come for the city transform itself and become a multi-faceted destination, where casino games are just one of the many entertainment options available.

“Although it is sad today, it’s part of the transition that Atlantic City needs to have,” the mayor told reporters. “There is pain as we go through this transition, but it’s critical for Atlantic City to realize we are no longer the monopoly of gaming on the East Coast. If you build more and more casinos and don’t increase the amount of people coming to them, you’re sharing that wealth. We’re just going through a very difficult time.”

Boston Globe: Atlantic City sees our folly of casinos

The US Supreme Court struck down New Jersey’s attempt to legalize sports betting and Atlantic City casinos are going out of business, despite Governor Chris Christie pumping $260 million of his constituents’ money into one of the local casinos.

While Connecticut’s Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods are considered interlopers who steal customers from the New Jersey resort, the story published in the Boston Globe says all players are “suckers, willing to part with their money for the house, because the house always wins.”

Locals worry about Massachusetts casinos stealing even more business. The market is already oversaturated, they say, and Atlantic City is already competing with Vegas, Connecticut and Philadelphia.

The Guardian: Atlantic City shutters casinos as north-east US builds gambling market

It’s becoming more and more obvious that there are too many casinos in Atlantic City. Competition has caused the Atlantic Club to close its doors, Revel says it will do the same unless owners find a new buyer and Caesars Entertainment is giving up on the Showboat.

During his five years in office, Mayor Don Guardian saw a quarter of the city’s casinos close. He believes this is a sign that Atlantic City needs a makeover, from a popular gambling resort to a multi-faceted destination instead.

Over the past seven years, casino revenue in the city has plunged from $5.2 billion to almost half that amount, reaching just $2.86 billion in 2013. Meanwhile, Pennsylvania surpassed Atlantic City as the country’s second largest casino market after Nevada. And with New Jersey’s new laws allowing locals to play casino games and online poker tournaments, profits soared even more.

All this sounds like bad news, but Fitch Ratings has a different opinion, claiming that “the closure makes financial sense for Caesars and is a positive for the oversupplied Atlantic City market.” According to the expert, Caesars will regain lost customers at its other resorts in the area.

CityLab: Atlantic City Is Becoming the Detroit of Casino Culture

At the beginning of the year, when the media argued that Atlantic City could be going the way of Detroit – which suffered a big shock after being forced to shut down gambling venues – State Senate President Stephen Sweeney and Chris Christie both promised they would not let the city “become Detroit”. Now, the resort is facing a wave of casino closings.

Former casino workers are furious over losing their jobs and Bob McDevitt, president of Local 54 of the Unite-HERE union, told reporters that Caesars’ decision to shut down the Showboat was “a criminal act”, as the venue was still making profit.

To help former employees find new positions within the company, Caesars promised to give them preference for existing roles at the company’s other three Atlantic City venues.

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