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Trump Taj Mahal’s Closure Adds To NJ Casino Expansion Plan Debate

Trump Taj MahalThe closure of Trump Taj Mahal Casino in Atlantic City is being used by both sides that are for and against the casino expansion in North Jersey to strengthen their respective arguments. A referendum seeking approval for two new casinos in the area is scheduled to be held in November, 2016.

The Trump Taj Mahal casino is expected to shut down on October 10 as stated in filings to the state Department of Labor last week. Owner Carl Icahn is closing the casino as a result of the continued union strike and also because the casino has continued to lose millions each month.

Supporters of the proposal to expand casinos to north Jersey maintain that newer casinos are needed to retain customers and to stop the loss of gambling revenue to nearby states. But those opposing the referendum say that the current vulnerable state of Atlantic City’s casinos will not be able withstand new competition within the state as well.


Debra DiLorenzo, chairwoman of the No North Jersey Casinos Coalition that includes Atlantic City’s business interests called the closure tragic and said it underscored the importance of defeating the referendum. The coalition group had released a study earlier this year which showed that three to four casinos would close should new casinos open in Northern Jersey. The study predicted job losses of around 23,000 to 30,000 due to the closures.

The owner of the Meadowlands Racetrack, Jeff Gural who has put forward a proposal to build one of the two casinos in Northern Jersey said that the closure proved the point that the casino expansion in New Jersey was critical. He said that Atlantic City’s casino industry was collapsing and customers were spending their money elsewhere. Building new casinos in the state would help to keep gambling revenues from going out of state. His views were shared by Sen. Paul Sarlo.

In a statement, Sen. Paul Sarlo , Meadowlands district said,

The pending closure of the Trump Taj Mahal should serve as a wake-up call for Atlantic City officials to take advantage of the benefits of casino expansion. Expanding New Jersey’s gaming sector to North Jersey will provide financial resources so that Atlantic City can invest in economic expansion. The city has the opportunity and the ability to become a destination resort that doesn’t rely on casinos alone.

Moody’s Investors Services has said that the closure of Trump Taj Mahal would benefit the other seven casinos in the city but warned that the gains were short-term given the expansion of the casino industry in nearby Philadelphia and the possible launch of in-state casinos.

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