The good side: No shuttered resort
Owner Carl Icahn closed the Taj Mahal in October after a protracted labor dispute. That has left a large and vacant property on the eastern end of the AC boardwalk between Resorts and Showboat, which is now open as a resort only, without gambling.
The obvious upside of Icahn selling? That part of the boardwalk gets some of its buzz back. After a variety of resorts closed down in recent years, many in AC would like to see one of the city’s iconic locations open up for business again.
There’s also the issue that AC has lost four out of ten hotel rooms since 2014. More from the Press of AC:
The loss of rooms complicates efforts as the city aims to draw visitors not attracted solely to gambling.
“The greatest need for rooms is felt during the busy season and sold-out weekends when visitors will not find accommodation and thus possibly not come,” said Rummy Pandit, executive director of the Lloyd D. Levenson Institute of Gaming, Hospitality and Tourism at Stockton University.
The 2,000-plus rooms at the Taj being open again would help ease things on the rooms front, especially with the status of TEN Atlantic up in the air.
Whether the Taj reopening is actually good for the bottom line remains to be seen, however.
The bad side: Casino revenue
The remaining casinos after the purge of the past few years seem to have found equilibrium.
Even with the Taj closed for the final three months of the year — and with lower traffic for some of the year due to the strike — the other AC casinos flourished. In fact, the casino industry as a whole saw an uptick in revenue in 2016. That’s the first time that has happened in a decade.
Online gambling helped save the day in 2016. But what happens if you add the Taj Mahal back into the mix? It’s not clear at all that the result would be additive in terms of revenue, and it might just cannibalize money flowing through the remaining casinos.
What will Icahn do?
Icahn can probably sit on the property indefinitely if he doesn’t find a buyer at a price he wants. And he might do so just to spite government officials with whom he doesn’t see eye-to-eye.
Icahn will definitely sell if he can get a return he deems acceptable. What a prospective buyer would do with the property would probably determine whether it’s a good deal for AC.
Image credit: cheapbooks / Shutterstock, Inc.