The new owner of Atlantic City’s Trump Taj Mahal casino is warning that he’ll forego $100m in planned renovations if New Jersey politicians don’t back off their plans to authorize two casinos in the northern part of the state.
Just days after billionaire investor Carl Icahn (pictured, holding gun) received official regulatory approvel of his takeover of the bankrupt Taj Mahal, he’s warning that he won’t put up the cash to bring the property up to snuff if he faces even more local competition.
State legislators have promised to offset the expected loss of business in AC by funneling a percentage of the state’s share of the north Jersey casino revenue back to AC operators. Legislators hope to pass the measure by a 60% supermajority this month in order to ensure voters have their say on the proposal this November.
On Wednesday, Icahn told the Associated Press that legislators had moved the goalposts midway through the game and he now feels that “it would not be judicious to proceed” with his planned $100m Taj facelift “while gaming in north Jersey is an open issue.”
Icahn says his Tropicana Entertainment will press ahead with an immediate influx of between $10m and $20m to ensure the Taj’s roof doesn’t fall in. But should the north Jersey casino issue make it to November’s ballot and voters agree to amend the state constitution to permit casinos outside AC, all bets are off.
Icahn’s bluster may not matter much, as many observers feel AC may need to amputate a few more limbs in order to save the torso. While AC’s eight remaining casinos have fared slightly better since four of their rivals shut their doors in 2014, there are those who feel the Taj and at least one other casino (Bally’s?) won’t be able to hold out much longer, and the sooner they’re gone, the better the prognosis for the survivors.