The project ran out of money during the recession and had to stop construction halfway through. Morgan Stanley pulled out, taking a $1.2 billion loss on the project. It only got completed with the help of state tax incentives that were approved in February 2011. That came amid bitter opposition from the city's main casino union, which is livid that Revel has not signed a contract with its hotel and service industry workers, and filed several lawsuits seeking to thwart government assistance to the project.
It also instituted a first-of-its kind policy in Atlantic City in which employees on the front lines of customer service, including dealers and cocktail servers will have to reapply for their jobs every four or five years. Critics said the policy amounts to age discrimination, but DeSanctis said it is necessary to fight creeping "indifference" among workers who can get worn down dealing with the public.
New Jersey's Lt. Governor, Kim Guadagno, toasted Revel employees with DeSanctis moments before the casino opened its doors, raising glasses of blueberry smoothies, and urging the public to patronize the resort.
"Go put some money in the slot machines," she urged. "Game on!"
Wayne Parry can be reached at http://twitter.com/WayneParryAC.
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