Caesars: Showboat to close Aug. 31

This July 20, 2013 photo shows a slanted hotel tower, left, of the Showboat Casino Hotel in Atlantic City. The casino will close in August, Caesars Entertainment announced Friday. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)

Showboat Atlantic City hotel and casino will shut down effective Aug. 31, Caesars Entertainment announced today.

Caesars cited declining revenue, increased competition, and a high tax burden in the decision to close the resort.

"While we regret the impact that this decision will have on our Showboat associates, we believe this is a necessary step to help stabilize our business in Atlantic City and support the viability of our remaining operations in the vicinity," Gary Loveman, Caesars chairman and chief executive officer, said in a statement.

A union official had said Thursday that he expected 2,100 employees to receive lay-off notices today.

The company said it would give laid-off Showboat employees preference for available jobs at its three other properties in Atlantic City, as well as other sites across the country.

The casino will be the second to shut down in Atlantic City this year. About 1,600 workers lost their jobs when the Atlantic Club Casino Hotel closed in January.

"The dynamic in Atlantic City has led us to the difficult but necessary decision to close Showboat in an effort to help stabilize our business there and support the viability of our remaining operations in the vicinity," Loveman said.

Showboat reported just under $2 million in gross operating profit for the quarter ending March 31, 2014, according to the state Division of Gaming Enforcement.

But that came as a decline of nearly 77 percent from the $8.5 million in profit Showboat took in during the same period the year before.

Six of Atlantic City's 11 casinos reported gross operating losses during the first quarter. One of them, Revel Casino Hotel, last week filed for bankruptcy protection for the second time in as many years.

"For a company like Caesars to shut down a profitable casino with positive profitability is a crime against the entire community in Atlantic City," Unite HERE Local 54 President Bob McDevitt said on Thursday.

Showboat will remain "fully operational" until its closure date, the Caesars statement said. staff writer Alex Wigglesworth contributed to this report.

Contact Emily Babay at 215-854-2153 or Follow @emilybabay on Twitter.

Contact the Breaking News Desk at 215-854-2443 or Follow @phillynews on Twitter.