Gaming tycoon Steve Wynn's rejection of the Foxwoods project could signal the stars may be aligning to rescue Atlantic City's largest-ever casino construction project.
Fox29 is reporting this morning that Tuesday, Wynn toured the partially built Revel casino-hotel complex on the Boardwalk adjacent to the Showboat, just days after Wall Street giant Morgan Stanley announced it was selling its stake in the half-built mega-resort--and expected to do so at a huge discount.
There is plenty of logic in reporter Steve Keeley's suggestion Wynn bailed on Philly in order to assume ownership--and complete construction--of Revel.
Wynn has always had a soft spot for Atlantic City. He built the Golden Nugget (now the Atlantic City Hilton) in 1980 and owned it through mid-1987. And it was he whose initiative on the "H" Tract in the Marina district in the mid-'90s ultimately led to the construction of Borgata Hotel, Casino & Spa, currently AyCee's most successful gaming hall.
So why would Wynn want to bother with Revel and a gambling jurisdiction that many experts insist is in permanent decline?
Here are some reasons:
--He can obtain what could be, when completed, the East Coast's most lavish casino-hotel at an attractively low cost; Wynn is nothing if not a shrewd businessman--his track record is sterling; his company has come through the Great Recession better than most gaming concerns and appears to have the resources to undertake such a massive (north of $1 billion) undertaking--something most other casino operators cannot claim these days.
--Revel certainly fits his philosophy of offering customers the highest of high-end gaming and lifestyle experiences (Bellagio Las Vegas, which he built before selling his former company, Mirage Resorts, to MGM Grand, remains that town's casino-hotel gold standard).
--That Wynn has a larger-than-normal ego is pretty much accepted as fact (witness his Golden Nugget TV ads in the '80s and the fact that his name is also his brand). It would be the capstone to his industry-changing career to be the one to defy common wisdom and succeed with what so many consider a white (blue glass?) elephant in a dying town.
Stay tuned, folks. Things are getting interesting...