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Hard Rock and Ocean Resort Casino face a race against the clock

Hard Rock and Ocean Resort Casino face a race against the clock


ATLANTIC CITY — The clock is ticking on Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City and the Ocean Resort Casino, formerly known as Revel Casino Hotel.

Both properties have announced they plan to open in the summer. But before that can happen, the properties have to be approved for casino licenses, hire thousands of new employees and make sure all new hires are licensed by state regulators.

Regulators and management at the properties face a busy couple of months in order to make the self-imposed deadlines or face another potential black eye for the rebounding resort.

“They have to find a delicate balance between doing their due diligence and time,” said David G. Schwartz, director of the Center for Gaming Research at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, of the role that state regulators will play in the opening of the properties.

Over the past couple of months, investigators with the state Division of Gaming Enforcement have been working with representatives of both properties, said David Rebuck, director of the state Division of Gaming Enforcement.

“The Division is working closely with both operators as they go through the regulatory process in preparation for the expected casino openings this year,” Rebuck said in a statement. “This includes actively working on licensing matters as well as ensuring operational systems such as floor layouts, gaming equipment, security, surveillance and staffing meet our regulatory standards.”

While state regulars continue to review applications, both properties have been busy trying to hire staff. Hard Rock recently hosted a job fair for former Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort employees and was at Stockton’s recent job fair at the Atlantic City Convention Center that drew more than 3,000 people. Ocean Resort Casino has posted a number of management jobs online. The positions address training, IT support, and casino and restaurant management.

Hard Rock has taken an online-based approached to hiring employees, said Matt Harkness, president of the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City. Interested employees are asked to apply online, and then they will be chosen and receive call-backs for potential jobs. The property currently has 120 employees on site, Harkness said.

“The positions that we are posting are receiving positive feedback,” Harkness said.

Schwartz said the state agencies could issue temporary approvals for newly hired employee licenses, while they complete their investigation.

Hard Rock is well ahead of Ocean Resort Casino in the licensing process.

In 2015, the Casino Control Commission issued Hard Rock a statement of compliance with respect to the casino suitability requirements of the Casino Control Act.

The division’s investigation will examine all aspects of the operators’ backgrounds, including a property’s financial stability, said Steven Ingis, vice president of legal and regulatory services with Spectrum Gaming.

“The regulators will be trying to expedite the process,” said Ingis, who was employed by the New Jersey Casino Control Commission from 1982 until Sept. 2008. “They will check your education. People have been denied for putting down inaccurate information.”

Once the division completes its report, it will be forwarded to the Casino Control Commission, which then rules on the application.

“We are confident that the division can complete its investigations and submit its reports to us in a timely manner,” said Daniel Heneghan, spokesman for the commission. “Once it does, the commission is prepared to hold hearings and make our decisions as expeditiously as possible.”

Contact: 609-272-7046 Twitter @acpresshuba

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