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Taj Mahal to Close if Judge Does Not Approve Cancelation of Union Contract

Written by:
Aaron Goldstein
Published on:
Oct/14/2014
Taj Mahal to Close if Judge Does Not Approve Cancelation of Union Contract

In what could prove to be yet another blow to Atlantic City's stuggling casino industry, billionaire investor Carl Icahn has warned that the famed Taj Mahal will need to shut its doors should a bankruptcy judge fail to cancel the casino’s lucrative union contract this coming Friday (October 17, 2014).

The billionaire investor, who owns $286 million of the Taj’s debt, insists the casino cannot survive without eliminating the costly pension and health care obligations to some 3000 employees.

The Associated Press reported late Tuesday that Allan Brilliant, a lawyer for Icahn, told U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Kevin Gross that Trump Entertainment needs the financial relief that breaking the union contract would provide. As the judge appeared to be making up his mind whether to rule on the question, Brilliant said if the decision went against the company, the business could not survive.

"If you don't grant the ... motion, it's just not viable as a business," Brilliant said.

Already, Atlantic City has lost one quarter of its casino properties in the past year.  The Taj Mahal would be the 5th of the gambling resort’s 12 casinos to close its doors.

The state senate on Tuesday did approve tax incentives as a means of stopping the bleeding.

Lawmakers in the state Senate agreed with Governor Chris Christie assessment that more needed to be done to help the struggling resort, voting 21-5 in favor of several changes he proposed to the tax-incentive bill, including prioritizing new developments in Atlantic City.

“We need it. We need to create jobs,” said Sen. Ray Lesniak, D-Union.

Christie’s conditional veto has already been approved in the state Assembly, where the bill originated.

"Ultimately very quickly the casino will close. This is the window here; the window is open."

An early casualty of the Taj Mahal’s looming November 13 closure was the exit of online gambling partner Ultimate Gaming, which announced it could no longer operate in the state without the Taj Mahal as a partner.  The New Jersey online gambling sector, however, was never kind to Ultimate Gaming and rumors already began floating around over the summer that the struggling site could not survive in the state.

- Aaron Goldstein, Gambling911.com

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