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US judge puts US$94.5 million Atlantic City casino deal on hold

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A federal judge in New Jersey on Sunday called a temporary halt to the pending sale of bankrupt Revel Casino in Atlantic City and scheduled a hearing on Monday on a motion to block some of the terms of the US$94.5 million deal.

[NEWJERSEY] A federal judge in New Jersey on Sunday called a temporary halt to the pending sale of bankrupt Revel Casino in Atlantic City and scheduled a hearing on Monday on a motion to block some of the terms of the US$94.5 million deal.

US District Court Judge Jerome B. Simandle ordered an emergency hearing for 3pm in the proposed sale of the property to Florida developer Glen Straub, who could lose his US$10 million deposit if the deal does not close by Monday's deadline.

Mr Straub is trying to buy the casino without any obligations to leases held by bars, clubs and restaurants that operated in the casino's hotel. Some of those tenants have gone to court to block the deal unless it protects their property rights.

An appeals court on Friday ruled in favor of one of the tenants, prompting others to file motions on Saturday to get similar treatment. Judge Simandle ruled in their favour in setting the hearing for Monday.

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Revel, which cost US$2.4 billion to build and opened two years ago, closed on Sept 2 after filing for bankruptcy three months earlier.

Revel had been conceived as a Las Vegas-style resort that emphasised high-end dining and eye-catching design. But the casino failed to catch on in Atlantic City's fading gambling industry, which has seen other casinos shut down as competition emerges from newer properties in nearby states.

Mr Straub's lawyer has threatened to back out of the deal if it doesn't go forward as specified. If the sale falls through, the casino could face liquidation.

REUTERS

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