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Gaming Expert Looks At Life In AC After Trump Taj Mahal Closure

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (CBS) - Almost 3 thousand people are likely to be unemployed come the fall, assuming the owners of the Trump Taj Mahal casino hotel go through with their plan to shut the place down after unionized hospitality workers went on strike in July.

Resort owners sent out notices Friday indicating the resort will shut down on October 10th. The warning letters are required under state law.

So how do things look going forward? Well, consider this...

Billionaire investor Carl Ichan, who also owns the Tropicana, says he is tired of pouring money into a losing venture. Local 54 insists Ichan wanted to break them over health care costs.

READ: Trump Taj Mahal Owners Say They'll Close Casino

Bottom line is Atlantic City could soon be down to seven casinos. Two and a half years ago, there were a dozen.

Joe Weinert, an analyst with the Spectrum Gaming Group, says the decision to close could be a blow to Atlantic City's long term economic recovery plan.

"I think there was real hope that Tropicana could make a go of this once iconic property," he tells KYW Newsradio. "And now, suddenly, it's going to be gone."

One cautionary note here: the Taj has been on the brink of closing before, mostly in bankruptcy, only to be brought back by Ichan. But Weinert stresses this announcement would not have come if Ichan wasn't serious about it.

And Weinert says the closure, assuming it happens, will hurt Atlantic City in areas they can ill afford to take a hit.

On the non-gaming side of things, "what hurts Atlantic City is the loss of more than 2,000 hotel rooms, 5,000 parking spaces, a couple of entertainment venues, meeting space," says Weinert.

But the closure will mark a passing of sorts. The Taj Mahal is the last piece of Atlantic City real estate with the name 'Trump' on it.

The Republican Presidential candidate took himself out of the Atlantic City market years ago amid bankruptcy proceedings of his own. His name was left on the Plaza and Taj Mahal in a marketing agreement.

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