Head of Revel casino in Atlantic City stepping down

ATLANTIC CITY — Kevin DeSanctis, who guided Atlantic City’s Revel casino-hotel through its tortuous development only to see it struggle in the cutthroat East Coast gambling market, is stepping down as head of the $2.4 billion resort.

DeSanctis and chief investment officer Michael Garrity will resign from Revel Atlantic City but retain their jobs with Revel Group, the holding company that developed the resort and licenses its brand, the company said Wednesday. They will work on developing amenity projects for Revel.

Jeffrey Hartmann, a 20-year veteran of the casino, hospitality and leisure industry, will take over the resort’s day-to-day operations. His duties will begin once he is approved by New Jersey casino regulators.

The moves come less than two weeks before Revel is expected to file a pre-packaged Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing that will wipe out about two-thirds of its $1.5 billion debt and give lenders a greater equity stake in the resort.

DeSanctis said the decision for him to resign was mutual, shared by the company’s lenders and board. The anticipated pace of Revel’s recovery played a large part.

“They had one time horizon; we had another,” DeSanctis said. “We believe the property over a long term can be extremely successful, but it’s going to take some time. Not everyone has the luxury of that time frame.”

DeSanctis said Revel has done well in terms of pleasing group and leisure travelers, but he added there is much work to be done on the gambling side of its operation, an observation he called “a blinding flash of the obvious.”

The casino took in $122 million from its April 2 opening through the end of last year. In February, Revel took in just over $9 million from gamblers, ranking it 10th out of the city’s 12 casinos.

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