For the last several years, Atlantic City has been struggling with a drop in casino revenues thanks to competition in neighboring states. It was clear that if that trend didn’t reverse itself in a hurry, there would be consequences. But even the most pessimistic analysts didn’t expect the kinds of changes that are happening in 2014.
According to reports, the Trump Plaza hotel is expected to close this September, which would make it the third casino to officially close its doors in Atlantic City this year. According to officials at Trump Entertainment Resorts, no final decision on the closure has been made. However, it is expected, and employees were notified of the likely closing on earlier this week.
“Although [our] 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,” Trump Entertainment Resorts told the Associated Press.
The Trump Plaza has been open since May 1984. Construction cost $210 million, and the venue was mostly a personal project of Donald Trump, though the real estate titan now only owns a 10 percent interest in Trump Entertainment Resorts. In 2008, the casino opened a poker room that utilized automated “PokerPro” tables that dealt hands electronically to players.
The company says that they are still “reviewing alternatives” for the property, and it appears as though they are searching for a potential buyer. However, the company has had no luck so far. One potential sale to a California firm for $20 million fell through last year.
The closure may not have come as a shock on its own, as the casino won just $73 million from gamblers last year, last among the 12 casinos that operated in 2013. That number was down to just $21 million so far in 2014, a 27 percent drop from the same period last year.
But Trump Plaza isn’t the only Atlantic City casino to close. In January, the Atlantic Club casino shut down just months after a failed purchase attempt by PokerStars. Caesars Entertainment will be shutting down the Showboat next month. And the Revel may well close if a buyer can’t be found, as the casino has entered bankruptcy court for the second time in two years.
For the city as a whole, though, the closure of these casinos may not be a terrible move. Many people feel that Atlantic City simply had too many casinos, and that the remaining casinos will see a boost from the relaxed competition. In fact, that was one of the reasons behind Caesars’ closure of the Showboat, which is still earning a modest profit. Caesars still operates three other casinos in the city.
For poker players, these closures should have minimal impact. In Atlantic City, the poker marketplace is dominated by two rooms: the Borgata, which is also the most profitable and popular casino in the city, and the Taj Mahal, which is now the only casino in the city operated by Trump Entertainment Resorts. The Showboat does currently operate a poker room, which will close along with the rest of the casino next month.