The news continues to get worse for Atlantic City casinos. Earlier in the week, reports surfaced that the Trump Taj Mahal could be headed into bankruptcy. Now it appears that the bankruptcy is happening and the casino will close.
CBS Philly reported Friday evening that the Trump Taj Mahal has already begun bankruptcy filing procedures and will close its doors sometime in November. According to a Press of Atlantic City report, the casino had missed terms on creditor loans and bankruptcy was the only option unless better terms could be negotiated.
Jobless to Exceed 10,000 After Taj Closing
At one point, the Trump Taj employed over 5,000 workers in the AC area. That number had shrunk to just 2,800 in August. The closing in November will push the jobless totals of casino workers in Atlantic City past 10,000, including the Atlantic Club, Showboat, Revel and the upcoming Sept. 16 shutdown of Trump Plaza.
While local lawmakers are working to establish programs for the jobless in the area, those programs are only going to be viable for a small percentage of the unemployed. Odds are that workers will be forced out of Atlantic City to find work, further stressing the struggling local economy.
Closure Not Unexpected
A recent Deutsche Bank forecast predicted that the Atlantic City casino market would be cut in half by 2017 from the number of casinos operating at the start of 2014. Deutsche Bank expects only six casinos to remain in the city and specifically named the Trump Taj as one of two casinos to close. Resorts was the other.
“By 2017, we foresee Atlantic City to have two center boardwalk casinos (Caesars and Bally’s), the Tropicana, and three casino hotels located in the Marina district (Borgata, Harrah’s, and Golden Nugget),” the report said.
With only six casinos, they predict 2017 casino revenue for AC of $1.8 billion. That would be a 36.5 percent drop from 2013 numbers.
Poker World to Lose a Historic Treasure
The closure of the Trump Taj will also have significance to the poker world. Many will remember that the property was featured prominently in the cult classic “Rounders,” including a memorable heads-up scene with Johnny Chan.
The property also served as home for the now defunct United States Poker Championships. ESPN provided coverage for the Main Event for many years and the event became one of the most prestigious poker tournaments during the early years of the Poker Boom.
The Taj also served as one of two places where Seven Card Stud pros could regularly find a game. Spreading limits of $1-$5 to $30-$60, it was a venue where serious Stud players often gathered.