The gambling scene in Atlantic City has taken quite the beating in recent years with many casinos going bankrupt, employees embroiled in union battles with their employers, and a decline in tourism. Now the next domino has fallen as the Trump Taj Mahal will be closing down. The casino that has been around for 26 years is finally closing its doors, which means that around 3,000 jobs are going with it.
Republican Party presidential nominee Donald Trump opened the Trump Taj Mahal in 1990 and it is reported to have cost almost a billion dollars to build. It was home to a number of restaurants, nightlife and even had the first in-casino strip club in the United States called Scores. However, in 2014 the Trump Taj Mahal was almost closed due to bankruptcy until it was saved by Icahn Enterprises, the company run by billionaire and mogul Carl Icahn. However, after a long legal battle, Icahn has decided to close up shop rather than continue to fight.
The issues stemmed from worker benefits and wages, which have long been a topic of concern. When Icahn took it over, he did it on the condition that he wouldn't have to pay many of those benefits simply because the casino didn't have the money. However, the workers have been fighting to get them back and Icahn no longer wants any part of it.
The workers believed there to be more money than what was reported and called the casino's bluff. The casino's viewpoint was that they were losing so much money that they simply couldn't even have the debate about raises and benefits, because they couldn't afford it. As a result, many of those employees who didn't want to be flexible on their pay will now be out of work. This closure will put 3,000 people out of work, which adds to the 8,000 workers who lost their jobs when four Atlantic City casinos closed two years ago.
The Trump Taj Mahal is aiming to close its doors to customers after Labor Day but the official closing date is still up in the air. The law requires the Trump Taj Mahal to give their employees a 60-day warning notice, which means it could close in October at the earliest. However, they could close their doors in September simply because they are losing money by the day, which would surely deliver more legal battles.
It could get worse before it gets even close to being better as November is a huge month for Atlantic City. Voters have to go to the polls to choose whether to allow a pair of casinos to be built in northern New Jersey, which is just outside of New York City. If they allow it, that will take a big chunk out of whatever is left of Atlantic City's casinos.
Icahn has claimed that he has lost over $100 million on the casino and its related facilities. That means there will now be just seven casinos left in Atlantic City, which is a shame considering its rich history, but also a reality of the current times.
This is just another blow to Atlantic City, which was once one of the pillars of gambling in the United States along with Las Vegas. Nowadays, it's a decrepit venue with declining traffic, and it might be a surprise if there are any casinos left five years from now.