The House Always Wins? Not in Atlantic City

The recent sale of Atlantic City staple the Tropicana Casino Resort is the latest evidence that the seaside gambling resort in New Jersey is strapped for cash. Atlantic City reported a 19.4 percent decrease in revenue last month— its largest year-over-year decline in the 31-year history of gambling here— and now that report is followed by news that the Tropicana, a gaming landmark in Atlantic City, has officially folded its hand.

New Jersey's Casino Control Commission on Thursday unanimously approved an agreement of sale reached by the trustee for Tropicana Casino Resort and a group of lenders that includes billionaire developer Carl Icahn. The lenders would act as the stalking-horse bidder with a $200 million credit bid for the troubled Tropicana. The vote paved the way for casino trustee Gary Stein to file for Chapter 11 reorganization yesterday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Camden, so the Tropicana could be sold at auction free and clear.

In March, the luxurious Water Club boutique hotel at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City took most of its 800 rooms out of service during midweek in response to declining business.

The casinos have lost a substantial chunk of their business to slots parlors in the Philadelphia suburbs. The Valley Forge Convention Center in Montgomery County was recently approved for 500 slot machines, and Philadelphia is on its way to adding two casinos.

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