Hard Times at the Taj Pave Way for the Hard Rock

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Atlantic City has endured a rough decade.  According to the Press of Atlantic City, “Property values fell by a third, the casino industry shed more than 21,000 jobs and the poverty rate increased dramatically.”  Certainly the financial crisis of 2008 and the wider impact on the broader economy caused much of the downturn like other parts of the country.   However, unlike other areas that were similarly hit hard such as Las Vegas and Miami, Atlantic City has had a difficult time recovering.  No metropolitan area has experienced a steeper decline in GDP since 2006.

In 2014 alone, 4 casinos shut down.   Revel barely lasted 2 years before closing its doors in September of 2014.   Trump Plaza followed shortly after that same month.   Showboat Hotel & Casino and the Atlantic Club Hotel Casino each met the same fate earlier that year in August and January, respectively.

Unlike its Boardwalk neighbors, the Trump Taj Mahal would make it through 2014, but eventually fell under Icahn Enterprises as it exited bankruptcy in 2016.   The bid to revive the casino would only be short-lived.

On March 31, 2017, the sale of the Trump Taj Mahal was officially finalized as Hard Rock International will now claim ownership.  The sale price has yet to be disclosed.

The Trump Taj Mahal first opened its doors back in 1990 at an estimated cost of around $1 billion.  The grand opening was humbly billed as the “eighth wonder of the world” and included this Robin Leach narrated video with the King of Pop receiving a guided tour at the April opening and even performing during the ceremonies.


The casino’s first bankruptcy would occur the following year in 1991.  Part of the Chapter 11 bankruptcy arrangement would require Trump to give up half his ownership to creditors in exchange for a more favorable payoff schedule and lower interest rates.  Despite the bumpy beginning, the Taj would remain the crown jewel of Atlantic City as the highest grossing casino until The Borgata claimed that thrown in 2003.

In the mid-2000’s, Trump’s luck in the casino business would begin a decade-long turn for the worse.  And now hard times have officially paved the way for the Hard Rock.  Images of the iconic recreation of the Indian marble mausoleum that have adorned the Atlantic City Boardwalk for 25 years will soon find itself replaced with a huge neon guitar.

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