Billionaire Carl Icahn has two options for the now shuttered Trump Taj Mahal casino – either he will re-open it or sell the casino property.
But a bill pending in the New Jersey Legislature would derail his obvious plans for the Taj casino when he decided to close it on October 10.
NJ.com reported that the owner of Taj casino is now opposing a bill preventing casinos from re-opening and will strip operators of casino license for the property for five years. The state Senate is set to vote on the bill Thursday.
Tony Rodio, who runs the Taj casino and Icahn’s Tropicana casino, believes that the bill sponsored by Stephen Sweeney is nothing but a punishment for closing the beleaguered casino early this month.
Rodio believes that the measure is unconstitutional and called it “unprecedented” since the bill’s sole target was the billionaire casino investor. He pointed out that the proposed legislation would retroactively go into effect on Jan. 1, 2016, only affecting the Taj Mahal owners, which was the sole casino to close this year.anti
“Punishing Mr. Icahn by revoking his ability to reopen the Taj or making further investments in Atlantic City for five years, as well as restricting his ability to sell the Taj, is unconscionable especially in light of his record in saving the Tropicana,” Rodio said. “It is particularly ill-advised because with this legislation Carl Icahn’s ability to further invest in Atlantic City has been constrained and the possibility of creating additional jobs, as he did at the Tropicana, has been seriously limited.”
Rodio also warned that the government’s involvement in the collective bargaining process of Atlantic City casinos will dissuade businessmen to invest in the state.
Meanwhile, Local 54 President Bob McDevitt urged Icahn to swear that he will be rehire all the former Taj Mahal workers if the casino reopens.
“The people of Atlantic City fought like hell in 1976 to get casino gaming here because they wanted good middle-class jobs in the hospitality industry,” he said. “It’s OK if billionaires come into Atlantic City and get even richer from the industry. But everyone has to benefit, and that’s what they all forget.”
Last month, the New Jersey’s Senate Budget and Appropriation Committee has approved a bill that would disqualify a casino license applicant for five years if that person “substantially” closes a casino in the state. The bill now goes to full Senate for a vote.
Senate President Stephen Sweeney and Deputy Speaker John Burzichelli, both D-Salem, Gloucester, Cumberland sponsored the bill, which aims to amend existing law that gives gaming regulators the responsibility to require license holders to abide by certain standards.