The Trump Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City is finally seeing some positive news, after being under threat of bankruptcy for several years. However, last year Carl Icahn and his empire took over the casino as a federal judge approved his bankruptcy restructuring plan. The great news of the success of the Taj Mahal came out on Friday, giving much hope yet for the Atlantic City Strip.
Exiting the Bankruptcy
The billionaire investor, Icahn, owns two of the largest casinos in the city, including the Tropicana. Trump Entertainment Resorts exited from Chapter 11 protection and became owned completely by Icahn Enterprises LP. When this took place, Donald Trump lost the last 10% stake he had in the casino conglomerate. He won’t get completely phased out, seeing as how the building will still have his name at the top.
It wasn’t like the mogul had invested a lot of time into running the casino, as he didn’t really do much apart from enjoying his 10% stake. Icahn, being able to do the same thing with the Tropicana a few years ago, holds out his hope for the Taj Mahal,
“The Taj is one of Atlantic City’s signature properties. Although both Atlantic City and the Taj have had a few tough years, today marks the beginning of the turnaround. Just a few years ago Tropicana was in bankruptcy and its fate uncertain, but since emerging in 2010, we have turned that property around and it has become one of Atlantic City’s few success stories. I am confident we can and will do the same for the Taj.”
Icahn has been keeping the casino from the brink of bankruptcy since Sept. 2014. However, the problems that surround the iconic landmark have not all been resolved.
Casino Workers Union Raise Issues
Just recently, Icahn won a court ruling upholding the company’s elimination of health insurance and pension benefits for unionized workers. He had promised to stop funding the Taj Mahal if the unions had succeeded in getting worker benefits, which he believes would be unaffordable. He and Bob McDevitt, president of Local 54 of the Unite-HERE casino workers union, have been going back and forth, sometimes amicably, but at other times at each other’s throats.
The union hasn’t come to an agreement with Icahn, but they are slowly moving towards a compromise that should leave both parties satisfied. Now that the investor has full control over the casino, McDevitt also has hopes for a prosperous future,
“Maybe now that Carl Icahn has full possession of the property, he’ll start treating the workers the way you would if you have long-term interest in making the property successful.”
The casino, its employees, and its investors have certainly struggled. Since 2014, the Taj Mahal has come very close to closing its doors multiple times, and it came in seventh out of eight in terms of gambling revenue last year. They won $180.2 million, which is a 16.5% drop from revenue earned in 2014. Icahn is a savvy investor, and he won’t let the casino go under without having tried a few strategies that could get it back into the top casinos in Atlantic City.