Atlantic City Loses its 5th Casino Since 2014October 10, 2016 11:57 am
On Monday, 10th October, Atlantic City lost a fifth casino after the Trump Taj Mahal became the latest victim of an industry in crisis. When the casino first opened in 1990, the Boardwalk property was promoted as “the eighth wonder of the world,” but the changing fortunes of the Garden State has subsequently seen its number of casinos reduced from twelve to seven since 2014.
The latest closure is a symptom of an oversaturated casino market which has been badly impacted by increased gambling competition from neighbouring states. At its peak in 2006, New Jersey’s casinos generated $5.2 billion in revenues, but by 2013 that figure had fallen to just $2.9 billion. Things haven’t improved over the past few years, either, and last year revenues came in at $2.56 billion, down by 6.5% from 2014’s tally.
At one stage, there had been hope that the Trump Taj Mahal may have been saved, and that 3,000 people might have kept their jobs, but in the end the casino’s union workers failed to reach a deal to restore their health care and pension benefits following the venue’s bankruptcy. The negotiation’s failure now brings the number of casino employees having lost their jobs to 11,000 over the past two and a half years or so.
The Trump Taj Mahal is owned by Carl Icahn, but after losing $350 million on the property, and failing to reach a deal with his workers, the hedge fund investor subsequently decided to call it quits. Commenting on the unfortunate situation, Bob McDevitt, president of Local 54 of the Unite-HERE union, stated:
“The workers made a choice that they weren’t going to accept benefits and terms of employment worse than everyone else’s. I applaud them: for the first time in 30 years, workers stood up to Carl Icahn and made him throw in the towel.”
In the meantime, attempts to expand casino gambling to the northern part of the state via a referendum next month seem to have run out of steam as recent campaign polls show strong opposition to the move.