Taj Mahal Sold to Hard Rock: A Glimmer of Hope for the Iconic Casino

Taj Mahal sold
The iconic Taj Mahal Casino was sold to Hard Rock International and two private investors at an undisclosed price (photo: abcnews.com)

The iconic Taj Mahal casino, originally owned by the current US President Donald Trump, has been through a lot over the past few years. It was saved from the bankruptcy by billionaire Carl Icahn, only to be shut down shortly after due to disagreement with the employees.

In the most recent development of events, Taj Mahal was sold to the Hard Rock Casino and an unknown investor. The value of this sale remains undisclosed for the time being.

Taj Mahal sold as predicted

When Icahn initially took over the Taj, it gave rise to hopes everything would be fine with the struggling property. The billionaire had the required resources to make things happen, and he was clearly willing to invest the needed funds to restore the former fame of the iconic property.

That’s at least what everyone was thinking.

However, it wasn’t long before things took turn for worse as the new owner couldn’t come to an agreement with the employees in terms of their health and pension benefits. This led to a full-fledged strike to which Icahn responded by shutting down the casino completely in October last year.

taj mahal sold
After the casino was closed in October last year, it was clear Taj Mahal would be sold shortly, provided favorable legal conditions for the transaction

According to Icahn, the Taj Mahal became an investment that could no longer be justified. So, he decided to cut his losses after investing around $350 million. Former employees, some 3,000 of them, were left in a tough spot, fearing the billionaire would now try to sell the property, getting his money back without having any responsibility to the Union.

Legal issues

Although Icahn wasn’t forthcoming about his plans for the future, it wasn’t hard to guess he’d probably try to get rid of the property and move on. However, before Taj Mahal could be sold, New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney introduced a bill that would prevent the sale.

Sweeney’s bill suggested all casinos that closed after January 1, 2016, should have their casino licenses suspended. The bill was clearly targeted at Icahn and the Taj Mahal, as the only property affected by it.

The bill made it through the Senate, but it was never signed into a law. Governor Chris Christie deemed the bill a direct attack on the Taj Mahal owner, who had to shut down the casino after union representatives failed to negotiate in good faith.

With the bill out of the way, Icahn was free to start looking for a buyer, and it didn’t take long to find one.

Hard Rock buys Taj Mahal

According to the news from a couple of days ago, Icahn will be selling Taj Mahal to Hard Rock and two undisclosed investors. Details of this deal haven’t been released as of yet, so it remains uncertain how much Hard Rock and these private investors paid to obtain the legendary casino.

However, the sale is welcome news for all former employees.

Jim Allen, chairman of Hard Rock International, emphasized the group was excited to be a part of Atlantic City revitalization and was looking forward to creating thousands of new jobs. Former Taj employees will probably be the first in line for their old positions.

taj mahal sold
With the deal in place, the question remains if Hard Rock will prove to be the wild card the legendary casino needs to restore its former glory?

Although new buyers have no doubts about reopened casino being a success, exact plans remain a mystery, including when the casino will be open for business again. Regardless of all the uncertainty, this is finally a favorable development for former employees who have been in the dark for months.

After all, there is some light at the end of the tunnel.

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