ATLANTIC CITY - The dismantling of the former Atlantic Club Casino Hotel got underway Thursday, with slot machines, table games and even potted plants being carted out the front door.
Workers from Tropicana Entertainment began disconnecting the machines, wrapping them in plastic and wheeling them out to a tractor-trailer. A plant service removed plants that were in the best condition and tossed the ones that had wilted or were dying into trash bins.
The 2,300 slot machines Tropicana bought in a bankruptcy auction last month will be divided among casinos the company owns across the country.
About 150 will travel only a few blocks down the street to the Tropicana Casino & Resort. An additional 500 to 600 will be split among other Tropicana properties, and the rest will go into storage, to be offered for sale or be potential replacement units for the future, said Chris Downey, Tropicana's vice president of casino operations.
"These are relatively brand-new machines," he said. "Outside of Revel, the Atlantic Club had the newest casino floor in Atlantic City."
Tropicana also is getting 127 table games from the casino.
Tropicana Entertainment and Caesars Entertainment jointly paid $23.4 million to buy the Atlantic Club out of bankruptcy, divide up its assets, and shut it down. Tropicana got the gambling equipment and customer lists, while Caesars got the 801-room hotel and its furnishings.
The Atlantic Club shut its doors Monday. Even before then, other Atlantic City casinos were competing fiercely for the Atlantic Club's customers.
The Atlantic City Expressway is lined with billboards offering cash, free gambling, and parties to Atlantic Club customers who sign up for players' club cards with other casinos.
Tony Rodio, president of Tropicana Entertainment, was president of the Atlantic Club when it was known as the Atlantic City Hilton. He said more than 1,000 former Atlantic Club customers had already signed up for Tropicana players' club cards.
"By having the database, we know these people better than anyone," he said.
Rodio said the Tropicana would not increase the number of slot machines it has, but will replace its older machines with the new ones from the Atlantic Club.
Tropicana has until Jan. 30 to have its property out of the building under the terms of the sale, Downey said.