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Showboat Atlantic City Gets Preliminary Approval For Casino License

Re-Opening Of Former Boardwalk Staple Would Be Atlantic City's 10th Casino

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A former staple casino of Atlantic City’s famous Boardwalk may be re-opening with gambling in the near future.

New Jersey’s Casino Control Commission has given Bart Blatstein, owner of the Showboat hotel, preliminary approval to pursue a casino license.

Blatstein hopes to get a full casino license later this year and break ground next year on a new casino. The Philadelphia-based developer owns a plot of land next to the current Showboat Hotel where he plans to build the casino.

For most of its history, the Showboat operated as a hotel and casino property. It opened in 1987 as a resort destination on the Boardwalk and opened the city’s first racebook in 1993. In 1998, the property was purchased by Harrah’s, which subsequently became Caesars Entertainment.

A prolonged economic downturn which caused four of the city’s casinos to shut down, including the Showboat, which Caesars decided to close in 2014. The property was sold to Stockton University at the end of 2014 for $18 million.

Blatstein purchased the property for $23 million in January 2016,and in June later that year, announced that it would re-open as a non-gaming hotel.

Over the last few years, the Atlantic City economy has been buoyed thanks in large part to gambling expansion in the state. New Jersey was one of the first states to legalize online gaming and was the first state to allow online sports betting in its state.

In the first nine months of legal sports betting in the state, casinos have already taken $2 billion worth of wagers. With record numbers for New Jersey sportsbooks earlier this year, it doesn’t seem like this trend is slowing down.

During that same time span, there has been rapid casino expansion in Atlantic City with the openings of Ocean Resorts and Hard Rock Casino in 2018. The re-opening of the Showboat would give the city 10 casinos.