Atlantic City to pay Hard Rock casino $4.8M in tax appeal settlement

After announcing in 2017 that a number of casino tax appeals covering casinos in Atlantic City had been settled, it appears as though the iconic Boardwalk city will be required to pay out millions after all.

According to the Press of Atlantic City…

The Garden State expects Atlantic City to pay Hard Rock International, the owners of the former Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort and subsidiary of the Seminole Tribe of Florida, a total of $4.8 million in payments of $1.2 million a year over a period of four years beginning in 2020 in the latest property-tax appeal settlement, according to Department of Community Affairs spokeswoman, Lisa M. Ryan. 

“they can do whatever they want right now”

 Atlantic County, according to Ryan, will be responsible for paying eight percent of the total. 

County Executive Dennis Levinson, said…

“We were told this was totally, completely settled. They can do whatever they want right now, as long as the cost is not passed along to county taxpayers.”

Thought to be settled:

The state reportedly announced in August 2017 that all casino tax appeals, some $80 million, had been settled and bonded by the city.

“Because of the timin 7BALL g of Hard Rock’s purchase of the property and the work that needed to be done to get the casino into the PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes agreement for casinos), the 2017 appeal was not able to be included in the $80 million bond ordinance the city approved in August 2017 to fund other property-tax appeals,” said Ryan.

Appeals from 2014 to 2017 for different casino properties were to be covered by the settlements, however, for the Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort, they only went through 2016, because it closed that year.

Same promise different day:

Ryan reportedly said that after this, there aren’t any remaining tax appeal issues for properties that either used to be casinos or that are currently casinos.

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Rough waters for ORC:

Both the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Atlantic City and Ocean Resort Casino opened on June 28, 2018, with the latter reporting its third consecutive month of declining gaming revenues in November, according to the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement’s November 2018 gaming revenue report (pdf).

In December 2018, it was revealed that Ocean Resort Casino was being sued for $10 million by a former partner at the property’s HQ2 club.  Not long after that, and that just six months after the former Revel reopened, it has been acquired by an outside company.

New mystery owner:

The new owner reportedly made a $70 million investment in the casino, while Bruce Deifik, now the minority owner, and his family will retain a small, non-controlling ownership interest in the Boardwalk property.

Deifik has yet to reveal who the new owner(s) is, however, filings with the Casino Control Commission and the Division of Gaming Enforcement will contain that information. In order to secure a license, the new owner will need to be vetted by state gaming regulators, unless it is already licensed in the state.