Goobdye Trump Taj Mahal Casino, Icahn files for Closure with State

It’s really happening – or so it certainly appears. Carl Icahn, billionaire real estate investor and current owner of the Trump Taj Mahal – one of the most iconic gambling destinations along the New Jersey Boardwalk – has filed documents with the state seeking approval to close the Atlantic City casino.

Trump Taj Mahal owner files for closure

The papers filed by Icahn’s management team with the NJ Division of Gaming Enforcement – the state’s gambling regulatory body – have requested permission to shut down operations at the Trump Taj Mahal, effective next month.

The formal petition indicates Icahn’s desire to start winding down the operation of the casino’s gambling devices, disconnecting slot machines, closing down table games, destroying casino chips, dice and playing cards, and storing away unused liquor bottles.

Icahn Means Business… er, No Business!

Atlantic City Casino Workers on StrikeThe Atlantic City casino owner is blaming his own staff for the downfall of Trump Taj Mahal, pointing the finger at union workers who’ve been on strike outside the property since July 1. Icahn says he’s been losing millions of dollars each month due to the strike, led by UNITE HERE’s Local 54.

The union, which was seeking equal rights for its employees, compared to successful negotiations for workers in other Atlantic City casinos, felt that Icahn might still be willing to negotiate a fair contract. This sentiment was due largely to the fact that, despite his announcement on August 3 that he intended to close the hotel casino resort, he waited more than a month to actually file the necessary documents with state regulators to approve its closure.

Contrary to their belief, it now appears that Icahn’s intentions were not a bluff – at least, not entirely. Ostensibly, the owner would have acquiesced to keeping the Trump Taj Mahal open, had the union backed down and accepted his original terms, which offered no health care or benefits for the workers.

Since that wasn’t the case, he’s now following through on his threat to put the entire casino staff – nearly 3,000 workers – on the unemployment lines. And, as it turns out, he filed the petition with the state a little sooner than anyone knew. The paperwork was actually submitted September 2, but was not made public until this morning – a full week later.

Approval for Closure Imminent?

Regulators are expected to approve the application, which is a requirement to completely cease operations of any Atlantic City casino. In 2014, four other properties submitted similar applications, and all were approved without delay.

Icahn plans to officially shutter the casino on October 10, 2016 at 6:00 a.m. According to the Star Tribune, however, the winding down of operations is slated to begin on September 26.

If the application is approved, as expected, and the schedule for closure unimpeded, Atlantic City – once considered the east-coast hub of gambling in the United States – will be left with just 7 casinos. That’s a stark contrast to the 12 that were operating just two years ago.

5 Down, but 2 More Coming?

Earlier this year, there was a successful petition to get a referendum on the state’s ballot in November that – if approved by voters – would allow two new casinos to open in North New Jersey, near the border of New York. It would mark the first time in the state’s history that a gambling destination was permitted to open outside of Atlantic City.

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