Mon, Jul 14, 2014 - Page 15 News List

Trump Plaza casino in Atlantic City set for closure: owners

AP, ATLANTIC CITY, New Jersey

Atlantic City’s crumbling casino market disintegrated even further on Saturday as the owners of the Trump Plaza casino said they expected to shut it down mid-September.

Trump Entertainment Resorts told reporters that no final decision had been made on the Boardwalk casino, but the company said it expected the casino to close its doors on Sept. 16.

Notices warning employees of the expected closure were to go out to the casino’s more than 1,000 employees today.

If Trump Plaza closes, Atlantic City could lose a third of its casinos and a quarter of its casino workforce in less than nine months. The Atlantic Club closed in January, the Showboat is due to close next month and Revel might do likewise if a buyer cannot be found in bankruptcy court.

The head of Atlantic City’s main casino workers’ union demanded state lawmakers help to head off what he called a “pending catastrophe” that would affect the state’s tourism industry and tax collections.

Trump Entertainment Resorts told reporters that its managers and board of directors “have been reviewing alternatives for the property. Although this review has not been completed and no final decision has been made, the company expects that it will terminate the operations of Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino on or shortly after September 16, 2014.”

A source with direct knowledge of the situation who was not authorized to speak to the media told reporters that the company had hired a search firm to solicit buyers for Trump Plaza, an effort that remains ongoing. So far, no buyer has emerged.

Trump Plaza, which cost US$210 million to build, opened in May 1984 as one of Donald Trump’s pet projects. The real-estate mogul has since limited his dealings in Atlantic City to a 10 percent stake in Trump Entertainment Resorts.

“I let them use my name, but I have nothing to do with it,” Trump told reporters on Saturday.

“Atlantic City has suffered for years. Many mistakes were made by government, tremendous mistakes, including no reinvestment in town; they would take casino revenue and put it in places that had nothing to do with Atlantic City. I got out seven years ago; my timing was tremendous,” he added.

In recent years, New Jersey has only required the use of casino development taxes in Atlantic City.

The news is the latest in a cascade of setbacks for Atlantic City’s gambling market, which until a few years ago was the second-largest in the US after Nevada; Pennsylvania has now taken over that spot. On Jan. 1, Atlantic City had 12 casinos. By the end of September, it could have eight.

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