By David Madden
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (CBS) — Trump Entertainment has pushed back the date for closing the Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City by about a week, but its prospects remain dim.
The company is cutting worker hours now, although the closing date has been moved back from December 12th to the 20th.
A press release suggests the company is still looking for tax breaks sought by billionaire Carl Icahn in return for some $100 million of reinvestment in the Taj to keep it open.
Given the lack of support for those tax breaks, this extension leaves analyst Joe Weinert with the Spectrum Gaming Group shaking his head.
“It certainly gives the employees some hope, and I think that’s where the concern of a lot of the stakeholders in Atlantic City is right now,” Weinert tells KYW Newsradio. “But at the same point, who the heck knows how this whole Taj Mahal saga is going to turn out?”
Some 3,000 jobs at the Taj are on the line.
Earlier this week, New Jersey state senate president Steve Sweeney and state senator James Whelan, a former Atlantic City mayor, introduced legislation aimed at stabilizing tax bills for Atlantic City’s eight casinos and revenue for the city. The casinos would make payments in lieu of taxes totaling $150 million in each of the first two years, followed by $120 million a year for the next 13 years as long as gambling revenue stays within certain ranges. Those bills will be discussed by a legislative committee on Monday.
If the Taj Mahal closes, it would be the fifth of Atlantic City’s 12 casinos to go out of business this year, leaving a total of 11,000 workers without jobs.