Atlantic City's newest casino is trying to address some of the shortcomings that landed it in bankruptcy court less than a year after opening. On Friday, it will open The Pearl Lounge, a $3 million high-limits slots area, and a VIP players' lounge.
Such lounges are common at many other casinos, but it was something that was largely missing since the $2.4 billion Revel opened in April 2012. The Ultra Lounge included table games and a bar, but was not restricted to VIP customers, as the Pearl Lounge will be.
"One of the biggest requests we got from our high-end players was a more private space," said Jeffrey Hartmann, Revel's interim CEO. "It's a way to treat them specially."
The Pearl Lounge features 67 slot machines capable of accepting $300 bets at a time, plus four more bar-top video poker machines inside. It will be open to Pearl cardholders each day, and Beach club cardholders on select days.
Inside the lounge, all food and drinks are complimentary for club members.
It's one of several moves Revel is making to correct problems or omissions that helped get it off to a slow start last year; Revel has been mired toward the bottom of Atlantic City's 12 casinos in terms of the amount of money it wins from gamblers each month.
In filings with securities regulators in March, Revel said that it was worth no more than $450 million and that it could take four years to become fully profitable. In a bankruptcy filing made shortly afterward, Revel listed $1.1 billion in assets and $1.5 billion in liabilities.
It posted a $110 million operating loss from its April 2, 2012, opening through the end of last year.
Revel is also adding a "value-priced" restaurant just off the casino floor called Relish by Memorial Day weekend to address another concern frequently raised by gamblers who complained about prices at Revel's other eateries.
And an outdoor day club is opening this year with a newly replenished beach behind the casino - something that wasn't ready last year.
Hartmann also said Revel is about a month away from making a final decision on whether to allow smoking on parts of the casino floor, as the city's other 11 casinos do.
On Monday, a bankruptcy court judge is expected to approve Revel's refinancing plan, in which the casino will eliminate 82 percent of its $1.5 billion debt by converting most of it into equity for lenders. Assuming that is approved, and the state Casino Control Commission approves Revel's revised business plan, the casino could emerge from bankruptcy court on May 17.