Move over UNLV, there’s a new casino campus. In one of the most curious re-purpose projects of recent memory, Richard Stockton College purchased the Showboat casino and plans to put a campus there. The New Jersey institution bought the former Mardi Gras-themed casino for $18 million from Caesars Entertainment Inc., Showboat’s corporate parent,.
Because nothing says “higher learning” like walking out of your campus and seeing destitute gamblers who lost all of their fortunes playing craps.
Stockton is a state school with about 8,000 students and its main campus is about 15 miles from Atlantic City. They plan to convert the former 28-acre boardwalk resort into a branch campus called the Stockton-Island Campus. The school expects to have the hotel portion operating by late spring, with some summer classes to follow. Full academic programs are expected to begin in fall 2015.
“The transformation and revitalization of Atlantic City requires the addition of a diverse set of reasons for people to come visit,” said Gary Loveman, chairman and chief executive of Caesars Entertainment, said in a statement the college posted on its website. “I believe the construction of a Stockton campus there will help to diversify the economy of the city, which is critical to its future well-being.”
Stockton will need to renovate the hotel that sports 24-floors and 755 guest rooms. The casino was built in 1987 and has over 1.4 million square feet of space.
Showboat is one of four casinos, including Atlantic Club, Revel and Trump Plaza, that have closed this year. Revel, which is next-door to Showboat, is still actively searching for a buyer. Trump Taj Mahal, Showboat’s other next-door casino neighbor, is threatening to close its doors if the owner and casino union fail to reach a deal next week.
On the bright side, Atlantic City offers students a glimpse at their future if they don’t do well in school, with strip clubs, prostitutes and cash for gold establishments at every corner. At least the math majors can attempt to count cards like in the movie “21.”
This is not the first time Stockton bought a resort. In 2010, the college purchased the Seaview Resort in Galloway for $20 million. The 100-year-old golf resort and spa is still operated as a resort and open to the public, but some upper-class students are housed there. The college also uses it as a training site for its tourism and hospitality programs.
The nice thing about this move is that if students are a little short on tuition money they can go always go to a neighboring casino and attempt to increase their money by playing blackjack.