Tagged: Casino news
February 8, 2017 at 6:30 pm #200
Will the closed casino-hotel that President Trump, back when he owned the property, once called the “eighth wonder of the word” reopen anytime soon? Ironically, now that Governor Christie’s power of the pen has made it possible again, the reopening of this casino anytime in the near future does not appear to be in the cards after all. That’s because Carl Icahn, who currently owns the shuttered property, is no longer interested.
Last October, State Senate President Steve Sweeney introduced a bill designed to punish Icahn for his anti-union tactics by requiring him to surrender his Taj casino license and prevent him from reopening the property for five years. The bill passed in the Senate by a vote of 29-6 and in the Assembly by a vote of 60-17.
Tony Rodio, President of the Tropicana, which is also owned by Icahn, called the measure “unconscionable,” and even more so because of the serious limitations it would place on Icahn’s ability to further invest in Atlantic City and hire more workers. Governor Christie, in full agreement, has now vetoed the bill.
Christie explained his actions as follows:
“It is a transparent attempt to punish the owner of the Taj Mahal casino for making the business decision to close its doors after its union employees went on strike and refused to negotiate in good faith.”
He further denounced the bill on the grounds that it “sends a chilling signal to businesses in New Jersey, and those thinking of relocating here, that they must ‘play ball’ with the unions or face retaliation by the Legislature. Such a result is contrary to this administration’s efforts to further economic growth and development in the state and is therefore unacceptable.”
Unsurprisingly, Bob McDevitt President of the Taj’s union, Local 54, had equally harsh words for the governor.
“Setting aside the governor’s confusing array of ‘alternative facts’ in support of this veto, it comes as no surprise that a governor who has done so little to support working people during his troubled tenure would abandon Atlantic City workers by vetoing a bill designed to protect them.”
Interestingly, however, Icahn is not jumping up for joy over the fact that Governor Christie has now presumably opened the door for him to reopen the Taj Mahal casino sooner rather than later. In fact, last month, Trump Taj Mahal associates, LLC notified the Department of Gaming Enforcement of its intention to surrender its license as well as place the property on the market. But the company also placed a deed restriction on the property, forbidding any potential buyer to allow gambling, reminiscent of the same restriction posed by Caesars Entertainment in its sale of the Showboat.
Although an override of the veto is possible, it is unlikely. However, Icahn is standing by his decision not to reopen, but to try to sell the property instead. Sweeney’s bill has apparently so completely soured him on the idea of continuing to invest in it, that it doesn’t even matter to him anymore that the bill has now been nullified. There is no indication that anyone else is interested in investing in the Taj either, though.
Trump Plaza, once dubbed “Atlantic City’s centerpiece,” has been standing empty for over two years. Will the same thing happen to the Taj Mahal? I certainly hope not!
How do you feel about what has transpired with this property since October? Should Icahn have closed it? Should he now reopen it? Was the legislature right in trying to block Icahn from reopening, presumably with all non-union employees, or was Governor Christie right in vetoing the bill? Should casino owners wishing to sell their property be allowed to impose deed restrictions?February 9, 2017 at 9:59 am #208
The whole thing is a mess. I personally don’t think the Taj should reopen as a casino, because individual AC casinos are doing better now that the market has been consolidated.
But, I can’t see just leaving it vacant either. As is, it’s such an eyesore; more so than Trump Plaza, which was a really small casino. Also, the place is dilapidated and gaudy, so whoever buys this dump is going to have to invest heavily.
But what could it reopen as? Can’t see it being making much money as a hotel, except maybe during the summer. Maybe a Trump museum lol?
This is a tough one.
This regards to Christie’s veto, just another example of the NJ Gov. going against the entirety of the legislature. Then again, I don’t see the point of purposely leaving the Taj shuttered for five years either.
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