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Steve Wynn says he’s not interested in Atlantic City

Updated Friday, April 9, 2010 | 3:12 p.m.

Las Vegas casino mogul Steve Wynn said Friday that he's not interested in Atlantic City's stalled Revel casino project -- or anything else there, either.

Wynn stunned Philadelphia this week by pulling out of a deal to build a casino on the Delaware River. That immediately touched off speculation that he was instead interested in Revel, which Wall Street giant Morgan Stanley abandoned last week.

But Wynn Resorts Ltd. spokeswoman Jennifer Dunne told The Associated Press the company is not interested in Revel, or any other project in the nation's second-largest gambling market.

"We typically would not comment on rumors but given the amount of speculation, I can confirm that Wynn has no intention of investment or involvement in any project in Atlantic City," she said Friday.

Morgan Stanley owns more than 94 percent of the half-finished Revel, and is prepared to take "a substantial loss" on a project it has already sunk $1.2 billion into.

Wynn said in a statement he was "fascinated" by the legalization of table games in Pennsylvania, but said the proposed Foxwoods Philadelphia deal "did not, in the end, present an opportunity that was appropriate for our company."

The long-stalled Foxwoods Philadelphia project along the Delaware River has faced financial difficulties and neighborhood opposition since winning one of two state casino licenses set aside for the city in 2006.

Revel is considered Atlantic City's best hope to compete with slots parlors -- and soon, full-fledged casinos -- in Pennsylvania and Delaware.

Don Marrandino, eastern division president of Harrah's Entertainment Inc., which owns four casinos in Atlantic City, said Wynn would have brought some sizzle to the shore.

"Every time he's made a move, he made the tide rise for everyone," said Marrandino, who knows Wynn from his own years running casinos in Las Vegas. "He's got the bravado and the sexiness. It would be helpful to have a guy like that in the market."

Revel Entertainment had no immediate comment.

The company says it still expects the casino to get built and is pursuing the last $1 billion or more that it will take to complete the project from China's Export-Import Bank.

The project got under way in 2007, when lenders still weren't questioning even $2 billion deals too much. But it ran out of money in early 2009 after the recession hit and credit markets dried up. That forced a halt to work on everything but the exterior of the project.

Shares of Wynn Resorts rose 68 cents to $86.91 in afternoon trading.

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