(ATLANTIC CITY, NJ) — One of Atlantic City’s more troubled casinos is rolling out the welcome mat, with a new owner and apparently a new attitude.
The Trump Taj Mahal was taken over by billionaire Carl Ichan a couple months ago amidst promises to spend 100 million dollars to turn the place around. He’s backed off that full commitment given a pending voter referendum on gaming in North Jersey. But he is spending about 15 million immediately.
“Our biggest challenge is one of changing the perception that we’re closed,” acting General Manager Alan Rivin told KYW Newsradio. “For so long, everyone thought that the Taj Mahal wasn’t going to make it and a lot of people stayed away from the property. So we are now reintroducing a number of initiatives to get people to come back.”
Among them, fixing some 200 hotel rooms, adding new slots and improving entertainment options. Rod Stewart had a late August concert and the Wallenda family will begin a series of performances there in July.
And they’re starting a campaign to lure old customers back. “We’re going into our data base and we’re mining that data base and going back out and trying to attract people that used to play here and that have stopped coming here,” Rivin said. “We’re going to reintroduce them to everything that we’re starting to do.”
The management team, many of whom also work at the co-owned Tropicana, faces another challenge. Trying to do right by the 2 thousand workers who saw their pensions and benefits slashed in bankruptcy court. That move was one of Ichan’s conditions in agreeing to the deal to take over the Taj Mahal. Rivin says there have been open meetings with staff to start to address their concerns going forward.