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Atlantic City-area legislators ask Casino Control Commission to delay Showboat, Trump Plaza closures

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Trump Plaza
Trump Plaza - (NJBIZ File Photo)

Three Atlantic City-area state legislators sent a letter Tuesday to the Casino Control Commission requesting it direct Showboat and Trump Plaza to remain open and delay their anticipated closures by four months.

Both casinos have recently announced they intend to cease operations within the next two months, a decision that could ultimately lead to the approximate loss of a combined 3,000 jobs.

State Sen. Jim Whelan (D-Northfield), who authored the letter along with Assemblymen Chris Brown (R-Linwood) and Vincent Mazzeo (D-Northfield), said the extension is needed to keep workers in their jobs and give ample time for prospective buyers of the properties “to do their due diligence.”

“Sales of this complexity don’t happen in two months,” Whelan said.

Whelan added that at both properties, “significant capital improvements” are needed.

“There’s a lot to this type of potential sale and trying to rush it, frankly, is a disservice to everyone involved,” Whelan said.

The letter also requests that the commission not permit the placement of deed restrictions on the properties, which would prevent them from reopening as casinos if sold.

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The Showboat in Atlantic City is willing to sell.

Whelan said Caesars Entertainment, which operates Showboat, has a history of using deed restrictions, doing so in the sales of both The Atlantic Club and the Claridge.

Commission chairman Matthew Levinson issued a statement Tuesday noting that the letter had been received and is currently under review.

“I certainly share the very serious concerns they raised about the welfare of workers and all of the businesses that will suffer if casino properties close their doors,” Levinson said. “While our authority is broad in some respects and our ability to direct business decisions of the casinos is limited under the Casino Control Act, the current circumstances are unprecedented and present novel issues which we have been and will continue to review.”

Representatives from Caesars did not immediately return a request for comment, and representatives from Trump have declined to comment.

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Andrew George

Andrew George

Andrew George covers the Statehouse from NJBIZ's Trenton bureau. Born and raised in N.J., Andrew has also spent time as a reporter in D.C., Texas and Pa. His email is andrewg@njbiz.com and he is @AndrGeorge on Twitter.

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