ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. – The owner of the struggling Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort filed court papers on Friday saying it will close by next month, making it the fifth of the city’s 12 casinos to shut down this year.
Trump Entertainment Resorts said in a Delaware bankruptcy court filing obtained by The Associated Press that its board has approved a shutdown of the casino by Dec. 12. It had threatened to close by then if its main union didn’t drop its appeal of a court-ordered cost-savings package.
On Friday, the indicated time was up. The company said in court papers the closing will happen because it has not received the state and local tax breaks it sought.
“Due to the fact that the debtors had not obtained the tax relief and incentives they sought and did not expect that they would receive assistance prior to (a Nov. 10 bankruptcy court hearing), the debtors advised the Division of Gaming Enforcement of their intention to wind down operations of the Taj Mahal and to close the property on or about December 12, 2014,” the company wrote. “The debtors have initiated appropriate steps to cease operations at the Taj Mahal consistent with that time frame.”
Company officials could not immediately be reached for comment Friday afternoon.
Including the Taj Mahal’s 3,000 workers, 11,000 Atlantic City casino workers will have lost their jobs this year. Union officials had no immediate comment Friday.
Atlantic City has been caught in an eight-year downward spiral caused mainly by the proliferation of casinos in neighbouring states.
When the first Pennsylvania casino opened in late 2006, Atlantic City’s annual casino revenues were $5.2 billion. Last year they were $2.86 billion, and will be significantly less than that this year.
A panel appointed by Republican Gov. Chris Christie is recommending ways to help the city and its remaining casinos, including tax relief, additional aid and an emergency manager to help tame the city’s finances.
The Trump Taj Mahal is Trump Entertainment’s last casino. It used to own two others: It sold the Trump Marina to Texas-based Landry’s Inc., which converted it into the Golden Nugget, and it closed the Trump Plaza on Sept. 16.
The company used to be run by real estate mogul Donald Trump, but he’s no longer involved with it. He has a 10 per cent stake in it, but he is suing it to force it to remove his name from the Taj Mahal and the closed Trump Plaza building, saying the buildings have become run down and are damaging his brand.
Wayne Parry can be reached at http://twitter.com/WayneParryAC