Taj Mahal casino closing its poker room for renovation; plans July re-opening

Industries Associated Press

Atlantic City' Trump Taj Mahal casino is closing its money-losing poker room for a makeover and plans to re-open it by summer.

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Trump Entertainment Resorts CEO Robert Griffin said the room has become unprofitable for the casino, which is struggling to emerge from bankruptcy.

"Poker is a money loser for us at this point," he said. "With all the starts and stops in this process, we've lost enough business that we need to do something to make it profitable again."

The 48-table poker room will close on Sunday, undergo renovations and hopefully have a grand re-opening by July 4th, Griffin said.

The casino is in the process of being acquired by billionaire investor Carl Icahn, who is swapping $286 million worth of debt he owns in Trump Entertainment in return for ownership of the company.

Icahn has put up $20 million to keep the Taj Mahal open and operating through the bankruptcy process. The casino estimated that should be enough cash to keep it open through the end of 2015.

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Trump Entertainment is fighting its main employees union over health insurance and pension coverage that a bankruptcy judge allowed it to cancel in October.

The Taj Mahal is the last remaining casino that the company owns; it closed Trump Plaza in September and sold the former Trump Marina in 2011 to Landry's Inc., which reopened it as the Golden Nugget.

Icahn also owns Atlantic City's Tropicana Casino and Resort.

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Wayne Parry can be reached at http://twitter.com/WayneParryAC