Running a successful land-based casino is never as easy as it might sound, even if you’re a billionaire; just ask Donald Trump and Carl Icahn. Both men attempted to turn Atlantic City’s Taj Mahal Casino into something other than a money pit and failed.
Late last week officials at Icahn Enterprises would be closing the casino amidst the backdrop of a month long strike by casino workers.
Taj Mahal management was quick to blame the strike as the final nail in the casino’s coffin, but the writing had clearly been on the wall for quite sometime, as indicated by a statement the company made to Forbes.com saying they had:
…lost almost $ 100 million trying to save the Taj. Currently the Taj is losing multi-millions a month, and now with this strike, we see no path to its profitability.
Union officials, not surprisingly, painted a different picture of the casino’s failure. While acknowledging that casino workers were looking for improved health benefits, local 54 President Bob McDevitt said his union had done nothing wrong and certainly nothing rising to the level of closing the business completely. Icahn’s pettiness, he said, was the real culprit:
These workers are exercising their fundamentally American right to stand up for themselves in the face of injustice. Carl Icahn took it personally. This is clearly not a business decision — a few million dollars is a drop in the bucket compared to the money he publicly promised he would put into the Trump Taj Mahal.
Approximately 1,800 full-time workers will lose their jobs when the casino shutters its door for good on October 15.
Trump Taj Mahal is the fifth Atlantic City casino to close in the last two years and was one of just eight (now seven) casinos still gasping for air in Atlantic City.
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