By Christie Duffy
Pink slips went out to Trump Plaza workers today. The casino plans to close.
Trump joins Showboat and The Atlantic Club, which are also shuttering, while the brand new Revel casino is in bankruptcy.
Estimates on how many jobs are at stake range from 4,000 to 7,000.
“There’s a lot of people sitting around right now wondering what they are gonna do. I’m sure people are already making plans to move out of the city, to move out of the area because they’re not gonna be able to afford their homes. They’re not gonna be able to afford cars to get around,” said Issac Simmons, head chef of Bar A Trump Plaza.
The latest numbers show casino revenues at Trump are down by nearly 30 percent.
Workers say inside the casino, it’s a dismal day.
“As I walked through this morning, I noticed a lot of tears and hugs being given out. The customers are embracing the workers here more today,” Simmons said.
Only weeks remain, according to a Trump spokesman, who says, “Management and its parent company have been reviewing alternatives for the property. Although no final decision has been made, the company expects that it will terminate the operations on or shortly after Sept. 16, 2014.”
Atlantic City is now in danger of losing one-third of its casinos. One out of four casino workers could soon be unemployed. And it’s all happening in a time period of less than nine months.
“It’s a very tough time. The economy in the region is not great,” said Dr. Israel Posner.
Posner is with the Levenson Institute of Gaming, Hospitality and Tourism at Stockton College. Posner says whats happening in AC won’t necessarily stay in AC. He says the economic impact could have ramifications for the whole state.
“The state of New Jersey depends on tourism for one-tenth of jobs, directly or indirectly, one in 10 people. It’s about a $40 billion industry,” Posner said.
But he says the industry has been cannibalized. Casinos have opened all around us in nearby states, eating into AC’s share of the market. There is also talk of casinos coming to North Jersey — in the Meadowlands or Jersey City.
Last week Assemblyman Chris Brown and workers rallied on the boardwalk. He called for closing casinos to make every effort to sell.
So are there any buyers out there willing to swoop in and save all these jobs? Posner says he has heard there are some kicking the tires.
“If you look up and down the east coast, there are 26 million people that came to AC last year,” said Posner.
But can those numbers convince a buyer to place a bet on an Atlantic City casino? Most workers would likely hope so. Their stake is all in.