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Best of Howard Stutz

Gaming Guru

Howard Stutz

Dennis Gomes acquires Resorts in Atlantic City

24 August 2010

ATLANTIC CITY, New Jersey -- Longtime gaming figure Dennis Gomes has entered into an agreement to acquire the financially troubled Resorts Casino Hotel in Atlantic City.

Gomes, who ran casinos in Las Vegas in 1980s and 1990s before returning to his roots in Atlantic City, acquired the aging property through his privately held Gomes Gaming Inc., which he operates with his son, Aaron.

In Las Vegas, Gomes worked for the Hilton Corp., operated the distressed Dunes Hotel, and ran the Golden Nugget for Steve Wynn.

When Gomes left Wynn to run Donald Trump's Taj Mahal Casino in Atlantic City in the early 1990s, he became the pawn in the volatile legal battle between Wynn and Trump. Eventually, Trump won Gomes' services.

Gomes also served as the head of Aztar Corp.'s Atlantic City development and is credited with reviving the Tropicana Atlantic City. The company was sold to Columbia Sussex in 2005 and Gomes has since operated his own gaming consultant group.

Gomes has managed 14 separate hotel-casinos during his 28-year career in the gaming industry.

Gomes was a division chief with the Nevada Gaming Control Board and later became the Chief of Special Investigations for the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement.

Resorts was the first casino licensed in Atlantic City when gaming returned to the East Coast market more than 30 years ago. It has since fallen on hard times, as has much of the Boardwalk.

Atlantic City has had 23 straight months of declining gaming revenues and facing challenges from new gambling jurisdictions in Pennsylvania, Delaware and New York.

"I have a passion for Atlantic City and believe in its future," Dennis Gomes said. "I have disagreed with the doom and gloom analysts who have painted a bleak picture of our city. We have lost some market share … but in the long run, Atlantic City will prevail."

A purchase price was not disclosed and the deal is subject to approval of New Jersey gaming regulators.

Resorts has 942 hotel rooms and suites in two towers, a 100,000 square foot casino and other amenities, including 45,000 square feet of convention space.

According to the Press of Atlantic City, Gomes settled on Resorts after spending the past three years unsuccessfully trying to acquire the Trump Entertainment Resorts Inc. casinos and the Tropicana.