The former head of the Tropicana and Taj Mahal plans to buy Resorts Casino and turn the ailing property around.
Monday’s announcement that Gomes Gaming Inc., a consulting company headed by former Atlantic City casino executive Dennis Gomes, was buying Resorts Casino provided a shot of encouraging news into the resort after a long, long season of bad news.
Gomes, who formerly headed the Tropicana and Trump Taj Mahal, has reportedly been trying to find a way to acquire a city casino property for about five years, including the Tropicana or a Trump property.
With Resorts, however, Gomes could put himself in position to save one of the city’s weakest and underperforming properties.
“I believe in this property,” said Gomes in a press release. “It heralded the beginning of casino gaming in the East and has always had a special place in my heart. It is an exciting place with a lot of history and we are going to bring it back to life with even more energy and vitality than it possessed at its creation in 1978.
“I promise everyone that it will ultimately be the place to be and to be seen, and will be the center of fun and excitement in our fabulous city,” he said. “I have a passion for Atlantic City and believe in its future.”
Rhetoric like that has been heard many times over the years, but in the case of Gomes, he’s actually done it before — and in Atlantic City. The Quarter at the Tropicana, one of the most successful non-gaming attractions ever built in the city, came about because of Gomes' efforts while he was at the Tropicana.
“Dennis is a good guy and his presence is going to be a welcome addition to the landscape here,” says Atlantic City mayor Lorenzo Langford. “He’s a visionary. You could credit him with the entire concept of The Quarter. We need people with that kind of insight and he can only help the city.”
Gomes was already lending some of that insight to the city as a member of a task force created by Langford to bring together city leaders and businesses to improve the city.
But Gomes, assuming the purchase is approved by the Casino Control Commission, also is propping up a casino many experts have said could fail and close its doors. That alone has caused some optimism.
“This is a very positive development for Atlantic City,” said CCC Chairman Linda Kassekirt to Bloomberg News, noting that Resorts employs 2,100 people. “Mr. Gomes is a proven operator with a great deal of experience here in Atlantic City. This deal will preserve those jobs and hopefully create even more employment as the property improves.”
Gomes did not name a price or disclose any financial details of the deal, which was made with RAC Atlantic City Holdings LLC. He did tell The Press of Atlantic City that the price was lower than the $140 million former owner Colony Capital LLC paid for the casino in 2001.
The casino, which opened in 1978, was taken over by its lenders in December 2009 after its previous owners couldn't pay the mortgage.
Gomes started his career in gaming enforcement. He was a special investigator for the state Division and Gaming Enforcement and headed the investigation to certify Resorts when it opened in 1978. One of his most noteworthy cases in Nevada was the inspiration for the film Casino, with Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci.
On the other side of the business, during his 30-year career Gomes has managed or served as CEO of more than 14 gaming properties across the United States.
In his announcement, Gomes was enthusiastic about Atlantic City’s future.
“I have disagreed with the doom and gloom analysts who have painted a bleak picture of our city,” he says. “We have lost some market share because of the convenient locations of slot parlors in Pennsylvania, Delaware and New York, but in the long run, Atlantic City will prevail.
“It is the only resort destination on the East Coast that can offer a multitude of gaming choices combined with retail, entertainment and dining experiences in one convenient location with beautiful beaches along a magnificent ocean setting,” he says. “I have a strong belief that customers who have left Atlantic City for the convenience of slot parlors closer to them will tire of that experience and return to the fun and excitement that Atlantic City has to offer.”
When we went to the Family Secrets Mob trial it was a surreal experience. I guess it was during the time 'The Sopranos' was really big. So when I walked in, I expected it, I think to be a little more like traffic court or something like that, that I was familiar with, but it was very much like a scene out of 'The Sopranos.'
Pending approval by New Jersey casino regulators, the Meruelo Group of Downey, California, will purchase Trump Plaza for $20 million, and plans to close the deal by the end of May.
“I had my entire career here in Atlantic City, and I feel almost an allegiance to the city.”
Mitchell Etess, CEO of the Indian Tribe casino company, which operates casinos in Connecticut and Pennsylvania, says it's the perfect time for a strategic partnership with Resorts and get back into the Atlantic City market.
Dennis Gomes, CEO and co-owner of Atlantic City’s Resorts Casino Hotel, died overnight on Thursday, Feb. 23, of unconfirmed causes, according to reports and information released by Resorts spokeswoman Courtney Birmingham.
ATLANTIC CITY — The transformation of Resorts to a '20s theme, sparked by international interest in the Atlantic City depicted in HBO's hit series Boardwalk Empire, continues to evolve. And the results have been very impressive. First the first gay club within an Atlantic City casino opened — Prohibition — which is doing very well and packing in both straights and gays to the high energy dance club. Then Boogie Nights developer Dave Pena, a former writer for Atlantic City Weekly, and owner of Planet Rose at the Tropicana Quarter, opened Torch — Atlantic City's first whiskey bar, serving high-end whiskey in a gorgeous space with dark wood, comfy seating and a trend-setting bar. One of the special things about Torch is that it also has a piano and will feature live music Friday and Saturday nights — and on Thursdays later this summer. Not the standard casino lounge acts either; we're talking singer-songwriters from all around the country. It's one of a few places in the entire region where professional singer-songwriters will be encouraged to play their own songs; hats off to Resorts! On a gorgeous Friday afternoon on the Boardwalk, Resorts owner Dennis Gomes, his family, including son Aaron,were present, along with the...
The anticipation began with the Atlantic City Moonshine Follies billboard that showed off a leggy dancer’s lovely derriere. Now that the musical revue is playing at Resorts Superstar Theater, we can report that the athleticism of the dancers was not exaggerated, with costumes that accentuate the fine figures on display.
“I was captivated by their passion and talent,” Dennis Gomes tells AC Weekly. “Some people have that it quality that puts them in a special category and Will is definitely one of those people. It is an honor to have him playing in my casino.”
Since Gomes has taken over, however, Powell says that he and Saunders have both been told that as long as they don't violate the instrument, the atmosphere and people's ears, that they can play. And now they can play for tips.
Under new owner Dennis Gomes, Resorts Casino Hotel may have plans to theme its entire operation in a 1920s motif — capitalizing on the Prohibition-era A.C. publicized by HBO’s 'Boardwalk Empire' and it’s own period-appropriate art-deco architecture — but it’s latest promotion definitely screams 21st Century.
Resorts is under new ownership and is looking to spiff up the image of the first casino outside of Las Vegas with a terrific promotion to celebrate January 11, 2011 featuring an array of exciting offers.
Dennis Gomes’ reputation as a pioneering leader with a zest for life only partially accounted for how well-liked and respected he was as an individual, which is why his sudden passing at age 68 on Friday, Feb. 24, shocked and saddened many nationwide, particularly those in the Atlantic City region where he lived and worked.
Sedaka and the Globetrotters