Promises to bring troubled casino hotel "back to life"

Gomes Gaming has agreed to buy Atlantic City’s troubled Resorts casino hotel.

Terms of the purchase, which is subject to New Jersey Casino Control Commission approval, were not disclosed, although the price is believed to be considerably less than the $144.8 million Los Angeles-based Colony Capital paid for the property in April 2001.

“This is a very positive development for Atlantic City,” commission Chairwoman Linda M. Kassekert told the Las Vegas Sun. “Mr. Gomes is a proven operator with a great deal of experience here in Atlantic City. This deal will preserve jobs and hopefully create even more employment as the property improves.”

The 942-room Resorts, which opened in 1978 as Atlantic City’s first casino, was on the brink of foreclosure last year when mortgage holders led by Credit Suisse Group took possession of it from Colony, which was in arrears on loan payments of $360 million.

Resorts International Hotel, an entity controlled by New York attorney Nicholas Ribis, has been operating the property under an agreement approved by the Casino Control Commission.

The casino had a net loss of $4.1 million on net revenue of $35.9 million for the quarter ended June 30.

Gomes Gaming is led by 65-year-old industry veteran Dennis Gomes, the former Nevada gaming regulator made famous in the movie “Casino”.

Gomes has a reputation as something of a turnaround artist - he has managed 14 different casinos resorts, including Atlantic City’s Tropicana Casino and Resort and Trump Taj Mahal - and has been trying to buy a casino in Atlantic City since 2005. He’d lost out in last year’s bidding for the Tropicana, and in 2007 he and a partner tried to buy the Trump casinos.

“We are going to bring [Resorts] back to life,” Gomes said in the statement. “I have disagreed with the doom and gloom analysts who have painted a bleak picture of our city.”