AC Gateway LLC, an investment company owned by Hard Rock International, filed an application with the Casino Control Commission late Friday afternoon. The company is seeking approval to build a $275 million two phase casino project that would start with 200 rooms and eventually expand to 850 units. The project is proposed at the foot of the Route 40 entryway, at the southern end of the Boardwalk.
Hard Rock International, which is owned by the Florida-based Seminole Indian tribe, also operates Seminole Hard Rock Hotels & Casino Tampa and Seminole Hard Rock Hotels & Casino Hollywood, in Florida, as well as hotel-casinos in Biloxi and Las Vegas.
“The commission will immediately begin to review the application to make certain it meets all of the requirements of the pilot program. We want to get this project moving as quickly as possible,” said Commission Chair Linda M. Kassekert.
Two other gaming and hospitality companies, ACE Gaming LLC, a subsidiary of Las Vegas-based Pinnacle Entertainment, and California Avenue Ventures LLC, decided not to proceed with any applications after expressing interest in building small scale casinos.
Under the new “boutique casino” program, the New Jersey Casino Control Commission can issue no more than two licenses for smaller-scale hotel and casinos on the AC Boardwalk. Companies interested in developing a boutique casino had until July 8 to express their interest and until August 19th to file their application for one of the two developments. Since only one application was submitted, the New Jersey Gaming Commission is now free to solicit new expressions of interest at a later date.