by KYW’s David Madden
ATLANTIC CITY, NJ (CBS) — Another Atlantic City casino closes its doors for good first thing Monday Morning, as the Taj Mahal ceases operations after a bout with bankruptcy and a strike by union staffers.
Ownership and Local 54 each blame the other, but bottom line, 3,000 people will be out of work.
So what does the future hold?
Rummy Pandit, Executive Director of the Levinson Institute of Gaming, Hospitality, and Tourism at Stockton University, says nearby businesses will feel the pain and the city’s hotel room stock will also take a hit.
“We’re going to lose about 1250 rooms which would translate to about 450,000 room nights a year,” Pandit told KYW Newsradio. “That’s a significant amount of rooms to be extracted out of the market.”
On the other hand, the old Showboat is back as a non-casino hotel. And just up the boardwalk, there are signs the old Revel, now known as Ten, is ready to come back. That could more than make up for the room loss, and many Taj workers could find themselves at Ten, should that resort reopen as planned next year.
And then there’s the changing business model to consider. It wasn’t that long ago that casinos down the shore derived just 10% of their revenue away from the gaming floor.
“Today if you look at Atlantic City revenues, you look at almost 30% of their revenues is non-gaming,” Pandit said.
Look west to Vegas, where non-gaming revenues are over 60%.
Pandit also suggests the vacant buildings could be turned into luxury condominiums, or so-called condotels, where unit owners would rent them out to a hotel operator when not in use.