Thanks to ten years of losses and over 100 days of union member strikes, the Trump Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City shut its doors on Monday. Donald Trump once called the casino the “eighth wonder of the world,” but despite this ringing endorsement, the establishment lost almost $350 million “over just a few short years,” owner and investor Carl Icahn said in a statement.
The shutdown leaves 3,000 employees out of work. About 1,000 of those people (including cooks, bartenders, housekeepers, and cocktail servers) went on strike with the Unite Here Local 54 union on July 1, seeking healthcare and pension benefits.
“Workers are trying to reenter the middle-class after Icahn used the bankruptcy court to strip them of pay and benefits worth more than one-third of their total compensation,” the union said in a statement. “Housekeepers, servers and other casino workers at the Taj Mahal earn on average less than $12 and hour.”
The union reported that the clash between Icahn and the employees cost the Taj Mahal roughly $150 million.
The Trump Taj Mahal opened on the Boardwalk in April, 1990 to the tune of nearly $1 billion. New publicly traded company Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts purchased the Taj Mahal (valued at $890 million) in 1996. Until 2003, it was the highest grossing casino in the city. After a 2008 renovation, the Taj Mahal opened the nation’s first casino strip club in 2013.
In 2016, Trump Entertainment Resorts exited bankruptcy and became a subsidiary of Icahn Enterprises. At this point, Donald Trump no longer held any ownership stake but the casino retained the name “Trump Taj Mahal.” In an interview with the Associated Press, the namesake was quick to dash any hopes the iconic doors would reopen.
“Once it closes, it’s too expensive to ever reopen it,” Trump said.
Customers who are still holding Taj Mahal gaming chips and vouchers can redeem them at the Tropicana Atlantic City’s casino cage.
Featured photo credit: Trump Taj Mahal.
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