Expect Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino to close in mid-September, a spokesman for the casino said Monday. It was third time in less than a month that an Atlantic City casino announced it could be shuttered soon.
About 20 percent of the city’s casino jobs are now on the chopping block.
Trump Plaza spokesman Brian Cahill said in a statement Monday that the casino sent federally required notices to employees apprising them of the planned closing.
“Trump Plaza Associates, LLC and its parent company, Trump Entertainment Resorts, Inc., have been reviewing alternatives for the property,” he said. “Although this review has not been completed and no final decision has been made, the company expects that it will terminate the operations of Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino on or shortly after September 16, 2014.”
Louis Ciabatoni, a groundsman at Trump Plaza for 12 years and one of about 1,100 people who would lose their jobs if the property closes, said workers there “are all a little confused and depressed. We’re keeping our heads up hoping there’ll be a buyer. We hear rumors all the time.”
“We’re hoping for the best, but the mood is down,” he said. “If it closes, we’re going to have to roll with it.”
Thirty-one-hundred workers at the bankrupt Revel Casino Hotel, which says it will close Sept. 1 if it can’t find a buyer soon, find themselves in similar straits. So do 2,100 workers at Showboat Atlantic City, set to close Aug. 31 .
State Sen. Jim Whelan, D-Atlantic, has called the possible deluge of jobs losses “potentially overwhelming.”
But it isn’t just casino workers who are hurting.
Richard Opoku, a rolling-chair operator on the Boardwalk, said his business is tanking as fewer people gamble in Atlantic City casinos. “You just come here for nothing,” he said. “It’s hard to get money on the Boardwalk.”
Casino gambling revenue in Atlantic City, which peaked at $5.2 billion in 2006, sank to $2.9 billion in 2013, a 6.2 percent drop from 2012. Analysts say falling revenues are a symptom of casino growth in the East, as gamblers who once visited Atlantic City now have options closer to home in New York, Delaware, Pennsylvania and Maryland.
Further expansion in New York, where operators are vying for four new casino licenses, threatens to siphon even more gamblers away from the Garden State, especially if new casinos open near New York City.
Total casino win at Trump Plaza in June 2014 was nearly 32 percent less than in June 2013, and the lowest of all 11 Atlantic City casinos, according to figures released Monday by the state Division of Gaming Enforcement.
Fred Lamonds, of Lynchburg, Vir., who’s been coming to Trump Plaza for15 years, said he’s witnessed the decline firsthand. “When we first started coming here, it was really thick ... (with) a lot of people, but it has thinned down over the years,” he said from the casino floor. He said he’s always enjoyed his trips to Trump Plaza, though. “That’s why we keep coming back.”
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