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What's Next For The Taj Mahal Casino? NJ Bill Could Limit Future

by KYW's David Madden

TRENTON, NJ (CBS) --  -- The Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City is closed, but some suggest maybe not forever.

In fact, a bill up for a vote next week in the New Jersey State Senate is meant to address what some think might be the real reason for the shutdown.

Billionaire Carl Ichan still holds the casino license for the Taj, and there's a simmering suspicion about his true motive. He blamed Local 54's summer long strike, in large part, for the shutdown which put almost 3 thousand people out of work. Senate President Steve Sweeney's bill would bar any casino owner who closes a facility from receiving another license for five years.

"What we're trying to prevent is someone from shutting down a site and holding it hostage and then reopening it up with a non-union workforce," Sweeney told KYW Newsradio. "If you're going to close it, surrender the license, give Atlantic City a chance."

Spokespeople for Ichan have repeatedly declined to talk about the future of the Taj Mahal, which Sweeney suggests only fuels the speculation, and his distrust of Ichan.

"It's unfortunate that we're even doing legislation like this," he said. "But when you have unscrupulous business people, you have to watch out."

The bill is set for a vote on Thursday in the full senate. Companion legislation in the Assembly is now in committee.

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