Park Place Entertainment Corporation (NYSE: PPE), the world’s largest gaming company, is seeking permission from New Jersey gaming regulators to merge the historic Claridge Casino Hotel with Bally’s Atlantic City to create the Boardwalk’s largest casino resort. Park Place acquired the Claridge in June 2001.
In a petition submitted today to the New Jersey Casino Control Commission, Park Place has asked to merge the Claridge - legally known as Bally’s Skyscraper, Inc. - into Bally’s.
“We’ve added more than 500 rooms and a fully-operational hotel casino to Bally’s Atlantic City for a fraction of the cost and time it would have taken to build a new property,” said Park Place Chief Operating Officer Wallace R. Barr. “In joining these two center Boardwalk properties, we’re completing the final phase of the strategic plan that we put in place when we acquired the Claridge in June 2001.
“Incorporating the Claridge into Bally’s Atlantic City enables us to operate more efficiently and effectively, as we continue to streamline operations and better allocate our resources throughout our organization,” Barr added.
If the merger is approved by gaming regulators, Park Place would continue to hold three casino licenses in New Jersey for Bally’s Atlantic City, Caesars Atlantic City and the Atlantic City Hilton.
With the addition of the new Claridge Tower, the new Bally’s would offer its guests 1,753 hotel rooms, 21 restaurants, 6 lounges, 2 pools, 14 shops, a 550-seat theater, 3,993 parking spaces, and 17 bus bays, qualifying it as the region’s largest casino resort.
If the application is approved, casino customers would enjoy 180,000 square feet of casino space and 42,337 square feet of simulcast casino space - for a total of 222,337 square feet - with 6,091 slot machines, and 219 table games. The casino resort also would feature three ballrooms and 30 meeting rooms with a total of 80,000 square feet of meeting and convention space.
The Claridge was physically connected to Bally’s Atlantic City last July with the opening of the $25 million Gateway expansion. The Gateway provides guests convenient access to casinos in both properties, as well as additional shopping and dining facilities.
In addition to the building the Gateway, Park Place Entertainment has initiated other improvements to the Claridge in the past year intended to attract new customers and drive profitable revenue. Those improvements include:
* Renovation of 500 hotel rooms, scheduled for completion in 2003.
* Renovation and reconfiguration of the second floor casino, including new slot games, seats, service booths and carpeting.
* Installation of five new high-speed elevators and a new 12,000 square foot simulcast facility, also scheduled for completion in 2003.
* Debut of new menus for restaurants and cafes, and the addition of Sunday brunch in Luna and a new Bagel & Doughnut Connection café.
* Renovation and reopening of Lucky`s Bar and Lounge as both a private club and cash bar and lounge with live entertainment.
* Moving the popular “Legends in Concert” to the 550-seat Palace Theater, enabling the transformation of the Park Cabaret Theater into Bally’s popular new high limit slot salon - The Gold Room.
“With the addition of these improvements - made possible by the Claridge acquisition - we’re enhancing the position of Bally’s Atlantic City as one of the most attractive, exciting and competitive casino resorts on the East Coast,” said Bally’s President Ken Condon.