Tribe can invest in Resorts online, own 10 percent of casino

This April 24, 2015 photo shows the exterior of Resorts Casino Hotel in Atlantic City. On Sept. 14, 2015, Resorts was fined nearly $7,200 for allowing people on a self-exclusion list to create Internet gambling accounts and make bets online. Resorts was penalized along with the Borgata and Tropicana casinos, which had to forfeit winnings from ineligible gamblers who they allowed to make bets. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — The Mohegan tribe of Connecticut can invest in the Internet gambling operations of Atlantic City’s first casino, but it can’t own more than 10 percent of the brick-and-mortar casino.

The Mohegans, who run the day-to-day operations of Resorts Casino Hotel, won approval of a new management agreement on Wednesday. It allows them to invest in Resorts’ Internet operations, but cancels a provision that would have allowed them to buy an additional 15 percent of Resorts itself.

The tribe’s ownership stake in Resorts will remain at 10 percent after a ruling by the New Jersey Casino Control Commission.

Matthew Levinson, the commission’s chairman, said the 2012 pact between Resorts and the tribe’s gambling arm, Mohegan Gaming Advisors, “has proven to be a valuable tool in strengthening Resorts’ financial position, bringing new visitors to Resorts and Atlantic City, and ultimately furthering the ongoing transition of Atlantic City into a destination resort.”

The commission extended the management agreement through 2019.

In December 2009, Resorts’ then-owners Colony Capital were within hours of handing over the keys to lenders and walking away from the casino. Months later, veteran casino executive Dennis Gomes and New York real estate investor Morris Bailey bought it for $31.5 million and set about reviving the first casino to open in the United States outside of Nevada.

When Gomes died in February 2012, Bailey persevered, continuing to write checks to keep Resorts afloat, convinced that better days were ahead.

Badly missing Gomes’ experience in running a casino, Bailey inked a deal with the Mohegans to manage the day-to-day affairs of Resorts, in return for a 10 percent ownership stake in it, and an affiliation deal that allows Resorts access to customer databases of Mohegan-run casinos in Connecticut and Pennsylvania.

Resorts returned to profitability last year, posting a $2.5 million gross operating profit, and expects to do better this year.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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