The 9th of November 2016 is a day most people will not forget. This was the day the world was shocked into silence as it became clear the Donald Trump had defeated Hillary Clinton in the presidential elections. Many people still held out hope that things would turn around until Clinton phoned Trump to congratulate him on his win. While the world is still figuring out how the New US President will influence world politics, many people remember Trump as a casino tycoon and one of the biggest names in Atlantic City. We take a look at Trump’s casino legacy and how the rise and fall of Atlantic City revolved around the workings of his casino industry.
While Trump will forever be known as the US President, his former life was filled with more glitz and glamour than a Hollywood movie star. Trump’s true rise to success was kicked off on the 2nd of April 1990 when he unveiled his new $1.1bn Atlantic City casino. With the likes of Michael Jackson, Elle Macpherson and other socialites gracing the sparling halls, Trump described his casino as the most expensive casino ever built, and considered it to be the “eighth wonder of the world”. Lit by a cool 16 million dollars’ worth of chandeliers, it seemed he was right.
A Huge Occasion for Atlantic City
Trump also promised that his new casino and subsequent investments would completely transform the fortunes of the struggling New Jersey coastal city. For a brief period of time, his promises came true and Atlantic City flourished with Trump at the helm. Today his casino empire is completely bust. The famous Taj Casino has closed down and Atlantic City is hovering on the edge of bankruptcy. The impact of the closure of the Taj is considered to be more financially damaging than Hurricane Sandy which wiped away half the city’s tourism business in a single blow.
For a man guiding one of the biggest superpowers on the planet, his involvement into Atlantic City is a cautionary tale that we should all be looking at with eyes wide open. At the time of the unveiling of his new casino, people praised Trump and his focus on bringing jobs to the people. The staff at the casino were more than thrilled with the 42-storey hotel and casino. Employees were excited about the fact that they were being offered huge benefits including good salaries and healthcare. Donald Trump soon became the biggest employer in Atlantic City. Running three successful casinos brought in a lot of money and provided a steady income for many people.
The Decline of Trump Empire
But Trump is gone now and after a string of epic bankruptcies, millions of dollars in assets have been stripped from the casino floors. All that is left of Trump’s Legacy is the somewhat forlorn looking Trump Plaza and the empty Taj which officially closed its doors on the 10th of October 2016. Trump has since removed his name from the boarded up Plaza but it still shines above the eastern end of the Atlantic City Boardwalk. Trump has no stake left in the casino. Having been bought out of bankruptcy by investor Carl Icahn.
As part of the controversial bankruptcy deal, the workers at the Taj were basically stripped of their employment benefits including healthcare, pensions and even meal breaks. Icahn did offer to restore the benefits of the workers but not close to anything resembling what they had been given. The staff went on strike which ended up being the longest in Atlantic City history. The result of which ended in the closure of the Taj altogether. After announcing the closure of the historical site, Icahn blamed the strikers for impeding the path to success.
A Cautionary Tale
Meanwhile, Trump hasn’t exactly been shy about how much money he made in Atlantic City. Speaking to the press, he said that he had made a great deal of money and pulled out at just the right time. Many people believe that we can look to Atlantic City and especially the Taj as a cautionary tale for America. While Trump’s name remained on the casino his workers were being raked over the coals. This doesn’t bode well for the country who could be seen as just another potential cash cow in Trump’s rise to the top.
Residents of Atlantic City believe that America should be looking at Atlantic City as a possible future for the country as a whole. The people of Atlantic City were stripped of their benefits, they have been left with no healthcare, no future prospects and no work going forward. The closure of the Taj takes the total number of recent casinos that have been shut down to 5. The final demise of the Taj is a true nail in the coffin for Atlantic City. Even the Mayor described the closer as the biggest crises to face the city.