New Jersey gambling regulators Monday rejected a request by Atlantic City's Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino to scale back its table game operations during the normally slower morning hours.

Trump Plaza had wanted to close its table games from 4 a.m. to 10 a.m. on weekdays, according to the state Division of Gaming Enforcement.

"After a full discussion, it was determined that the request was unacceptable," division spokeswoman Lisa Spengler said in an email to The Press of Atlantic City.

Spengler did not specify why the proposal was rejected. Trump Plaza needed regulatory approval to carry out the plan.

Trump Plaza spokesman Brian Cahill did not respond to messages seeking comment.

Spengler said Trump Plaza has been the only Atlantic City casino to ask the division's permission to cut back on its table game operations.

Trump Plaza, owned by Trump Entertainment Resorts Inc., has seen its total gambling revenue fall nearly 30 percent through the first eight months of 2013, the biggest drop among Atlantic City's 12 casino hotels. In 2012, Trump Plaza finished last in gambling revenue, grossing just $102.5 million, a 25 percent decline from 2011.

Trump Entertainment had proposed selling Trump Plaza to the California-based Meruelo Group for $20 million earlier this year, but the deal was blocked by billionaire investor Carl Icahn. As Trump's senior lender, Icahn had to give his approval, but he thought the sale price was too low. Icahn holds the mortgage for both Trump Plaza and sister property Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort.

Earlier this month, the Trump casinos announced they were laying off a total of 200 employees, including 80 seasonal workers. The company also said it was imposing pay cuts on some part-time workers.

Contact Donald Wittkowski:

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