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Howard Stutz

Pinnacle misses deadline to submit A.C. hotel application

23 August 2011

ATLANTIC CITY, New Jersey-- Pinnacle Entertainment failed to submit a formal application with New Jersey gaming regulators to build a boutique-style hotel-casino in Atlantic City by last week's deadline, ending the Las Vegas-based company's interest in the project.

In a statement, New Jersey authorities said Hard Rock International was the only company to formally file an application by the deadline.

In January, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signed legislation that lowered the minimum threshold for casino construction from 500 hotel rooms to 200 rooms. Smaller casinos are seen as a way to create construction jobs and bring new attractions to the gaming market.

In July, Pinnacle filed a letter of interest with New Jersey gaming regulators for one of the boutique casino licenses.

This is not the first time Pinnacle has looked at Atlantic City.

In 2006, the company spent $270 million to acquire the aging Sands Casino and adjacent land. The Sands was closed and imploded in 2007 and the company announced plans for a $1.5 billion to $2 billion Boardwalk resort.

The economy, however, tanked, and Atlantic City gaming revenues began their nosedive. Pinnacle canceled the project in late 2008. The company put its 19 acres on the market, but saw little interest from real estate speculators.