The announcement that Trump Entertainment Resorts is closing its Trump Plaza Casino in Atlantic City does not come as a complete surprise.
It's just the latest disaster in a long list of misfortunes for Atlantic City's gambling market. It is difficult to imagine now that, just a few years ago, Atlantic City was the second-largest location for gamblers after Nevada. Incredibly, Pennsylvania now occupies that position.
Observers have said for some time that the casino market in the Northeastern United States is over-saturated, and that some casinos will have to close to ensure the survival of others.
The Associated Press reports that, while no final decision has been made, the company said it expects the casino to close its doors September 16. The 1,000 plus employees will receive warning notices tomorrow, Monday July 14. The head of the main casino workers' union described the situation as a "pending catastrophe" affecting both the state's tourism industry and tax collections, and called on the state for assistance.
With the closure of the Trump Plaza, Atlantic City will have lost around one third of its casinos, and 25 percent of its workforce, in under nine months. January saw the closure of The Atlantic Club, The Showboat is closing in August, and the Revel is in bankruptcy seeking a buyer.
Bob McDevitt, president of local 54 of the Unite-HERE union, said 7,000 casino workers have been warned their jobs could disappear within 60 days.
Trump Plaza cost $210 million to build, and opened in May 1984 as one of Donald Trump's pet projects. However, "The Donald" will not be personally affected too much by the closure, as his stake in the company is only 10 percent. It is understood that the company is looking for buyers for Trump Plaza, so far without success.
Trump said on Saturday:
"I let them use my name, but I have nothing to do with it. Atlantic City has suffered for years. Many mistakes were made by government, tremendous mistakes, including no reinvestment in town; they would take casino revenue and put it in places that had nothing to do with Atlantic City. I got out seven years ago; my timing was tremendous."
Until the beginning of this year, there were 12 casinos in Atlantic City. By the end of September, that number could be down to eight.