The Saga Of TEN Casino: Missed Opening Dates And Broken Promises

TEN Atlantic City missed another planned opening date on June 15, 2017.

It wasn’t the first time, but at least this one did come with some advance notice.

Owner Glenn Straub was mired in a dispute over whether or not he needed a casino license to reopen the property. However, he said he was ready to go ahead and open as a hotel-only facility on June 15. A week before the scheduled opening, he finally admitted that was a bad idea.

Straub told The Press of Atlantic City, “The casino is the hub of the wheel,” and admitted, “There is no reason to open the property if it’s only half of a wheel.”

And so the saga of TEN continues. Straub is now awaiting the appeal of the Casino Control Commission ruling requiring him to obtain a casino license. He has yet to set another opening date.

After years of construction slowdowns and financial troubles forcing delays, the $2.4 billion Revel hotel and casino opened in April 2012. It went through bankruptcy twice. Finally, it shut down at the beginning of September 2014.

After a little bit of drama, including a failed bid from another buyer and a price reduction, Straub finalized purchase of the property for $82 million in April 2015. He promised to turn around Atlantic City. He was going to start with the failed Revel. Only, he’s been breaking those promises ever since.

Keeping the lights on at the shuttered NJ casino

Rather than preparing to reopen, Straub was stuck spending his first year as owner of Revel simply keeping power and water flowing to the property. Within days of taking ownership, electricity and water supplier Energenic Inlet District Energy Center turned off the tap.

Straub struck a deal to get the electricity and cold water turned back on by the end of April. However, a battle with the engineers keeping the property’s critical systems running soon ensued.

By October 2015, Atlantic City Sewerage Co. announced it was suing to discontinue sewer service to Revel. Apparently Straub had run up a $162,000 bill and was refusing to pay. Then, on Nov. 24, Straub announced he was going to buy the Energenic Inlet District Energy Center. This would end the water and power disputes once and for all.

The $30 million purchase was completed in January 2016. Heat, hot water and electricity were turned back on. That’s when Straub made his first promise to reopen.

June 15, 2016: The first June 15

After settling the power problems, Straub announced Revel would reopen in the summer of 2016. He promised there would be a casino about half the size of the original.

However, he said other amenities on the property would be open first. These amenities included a water park, which he planned to start building in May. It would also include as many as 500 hotel rooms. Straub set June as the month he planned to reopen.

When the beginning of June arrived, Straub set an actual opening date. He claimed 900 of the property’s 1,600 hotel rooms would reopen June 15. He also said a number of amenities would open on that same date, including:

  • A rope-climbing course
  • An e-sports lounge
  • A zip-line ride
  • Beachfront cabanas
  • A bicycle endurance course
  • A water sports hub on the beach
  • Day club
  • 32-room spa

Additional plans for the rest of the summer included reopening a nightclub on the property with a burlesque show, a comedy club, and Nikki Beach, including a volleyball court and seven indoor and outdoor pools, on July 1.

Plus, Straub said the resort would begin offering horse rides on the beach, a salon, virtual reality machines, a rock climbing wall, a skydiving machine, and a heliport on Aug. 15. Additionally, ten different restaurants would open at that time and plans were being made to host indoor and outdoor music festivals on the property.

Straub also claimed by the end of the year, three 75-seat movie theaters would open.

As far as the casino was concerned, he continued to point to August 2016 as a possible reopening for a facility about half the size of Revel’s original gaming footprint.

The first miss

Of course, none of this ever happened. On June 14, Atlantic City officials refused to issue Straub the necessary certificate of occupancy or permission for a soft launch, claiming the property had yet to be properly inspected. Plus, it turned out Straub was planning to open the casino without obtaining a license.

He said he would be leasing casino operations to a third party. But the Casino Control Commission said it didn’t matter, ordering Straub to obtain a casino license before Revel would be allowed to reopen.

What’s in a name?

The summer of 2016 came and went and Revel remained empty. However, in September, a management team brought in by Straub announced they were rebranding the property TEN, and would reopen under the new name in March 2017.

Straub still needed all the regulatory approvals from the city and state he had failed to procure previously. However, big promises were being made once again.

This time, TEN would open with:

  • 13 restaurants
  • A spa
  • Two theaters
  • Three nightclubs
  • A day club
  • Five pool areas
  • 130,000 square feet of gaming

There was even a lopsided infinity sign logo and plans to put it on the side of the building.

Feb. 20: With or without a license

The battle with the Casino Control Commission as to whether Straub was required to get a casino license continued and the opening date was adjusted.

By January 2017, Straub was claiming the newly-branded TEN would open on Feb. 20, 2017, with or without a casino license. He said he hoped the matter would be resolved by then, but the opening was going ahead regardless.

Of course, Feb.20, 2017 came and went and TEN did not open. It was revealed days before that Straub had finally obtained a certificate of occupancy for the property, but failed to get the permits and arrange inspections for any business to operate there. In fact, no applications for the permits were even made.

Straub blamed New Jersey business regulations, bureaucracy, and red tape.

June 15, 2017: The second June 15

After missing the February opening date, Straub started making promises again in April 2017.

This time, he announced a plan to open the hotel portion of the property only on June 15, 2017. Straub said there would be anywhere from 1,500-2,000 rooms open by that date, which just happened to be the same one he’d missed a year earlier.

He still had yet to obtain a casino license, and was continuing to appeal the Casino Control Commission decision that he needed one.

Plus, the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority had told Straub he needed a landscaping plan and traffic study done before he could reopen.

None of that was done, Straub continued to bemoan onerous regulations. At the beginning of June, he finally admitted trying to open the hotel before the casino was a bad idea.

Image by Grant Guarino / CC BY-SA 2.0