Caesars Head Touts New Atlantic City Meeting Center

Gary Loveman (l.), the chairman and CEO of Caesars Entertainment. was on hand to help dedicate construction of a new $125 million meeting center at Harrah’s Atlantic City, but quickly had to answer questions about Atlantic City’s future as a whole. One question he avoided; whether Caesars plans to close anymore Atlantic City casinos.

If only people would stick to the dedication at hand.

Caesars CEO Gary Loveman appeared in Atlantic City for a topping-off ceremony  to sign the main beam being installed at Harrah’s Atlantic City’s under-construction new $125 million meeting center—which he said would help the city finally capture more Northeast convention business.

But there’s a lot going on in Atlantic City and Loveman soon found himself in a full-scale press conference focusing on his company’s plans in the resort.

Most notably, Loveman refused to say whether Caesars Entertainment plans to close one of its remaining three casino after closing the Showboat casino earlier this year. The Showboat closing brought serious criticism to the company since the property was still profitable. Caesars said it closed the casino to protect its other three casinos.

Towards that end, however, Loveman had some ominous words for one of those casinos—Bally’s Atlantic City.

“The challenge in Atlantic City is not simply revenue but cost,” he said. “Given the balance of revenue we enjoy at Bally’s, we need to make money there.”

Asked whether Caesars would close casinos in Atlantic City in the next one to five years, Loveman would only say, “I can’t comment on something that might happen in one to five years.”

Loveman did say the company is waiting to see what new plans the state adopts for development of Atlantic City as a full resort.

“For the time being, we’ll wait and see,” Loveman said.

Loveman also supported the state’s efforts to start sports betting in Atlantic City and at state racetracks,

“I’m always interested in sports betting,” Loveman said. “Americans over 21 ought to be able to bet on sports.”
Loveman also said that the investment in the new meeting center shows the company’s commitment to the city.

The center is expected to open next summer and is designed to complement the existing Atlantic City Convention Center.  The new center should appeal to Fortune 500 companies planning business meetings, Loveman said.

Harrah’s officials say the center has already booked $6 million worth of meetings, with another $8 million pending, according to the Associated Press.