(Bloomberg)—Investor Carl Icahn plans to sell his shuttered Trump Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey, even after Governor Chris Christie vetoed a bill that would have stripped the billionaire of his casino license.
Icahn will sell the Taj Mahal, possibly at a loss, instead of investing the $100 million to $200 million it needs to keep going, according to a statement on his website Monday.
“I believe other large investors will similarly have no interest in investing significant amounts in Atlantic City or New Jersey as long as Sweeney is in control of the Senate,” he added in the statement, referring to the state’s Senate president Stephen Sweeney.
New Jersey legislators last year passed a bill that would have disqualified individuals who closed a casino since January 2016 from continuing to hold a gambling license for five years. The measure appeared to be specifically aimed at Icahn, who shuttered the Taj in October after fighting with unions over labor contracts and health-care costs.
The legislation was sponsored by Sweeney, a Democrat. Christie, a Republican, vetoed the measure Monday, calling it a “transparent attempt to punish the owner of the Taj Mahal casino for making the business decision to close its doors after its union employees went on strike and refused to negotiate in good faith.”
The Taj Mahal was once the flagship of President Donald Trump’s casino empire, which at its peak had four properties, three of them in New Jersey. Trump lost control of the casinos through a series of bankruptcies with Icahn ultimately emerging as the sole owner of the Taj. The casino is owned by Icahn Enterprises, the investment firm controlled by Icahn.
Trump named Icahn as a special adviser to his administration in December, tasked with helping him overhaul federal regulations.
Five of Atlantic City’s 12 casinos closed since 2014, victims of increasing competition from neighboring states. Citywide gambling revenue rose 1.5 percent to $2.6 billion last year, the first increase in a decade, bolstered by online gambling, which was introduced in 2013.
--With assistance from Terrence Dopp. To contact the reporter on this story: Christopher Palmeri in Los Angeles at [email protected] To contact the editors responsible for this story: Crayton Harrison at [email protected] Elizabeth Fournier, Devin Banerjee
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