Icahn bid to control casinos concerns key Senator

The streets drawn on a famous board game come straight out of Atlantic City, whose economic engine would now more than ever embody monopoly if a U.S. Bankruptcy Court approves the sale of another Atlantic City casino to billionaire corporate raider Carl Icahn. Icahn is seeking to add the Tropicana and the Taj Mahal to his gaming portfolio.

Control of eight out of Atlantic City’s eleven casinos concentrated in the hands of just two investors bothers Senate Gaming and Tourism Committee Chairman James Whelan (D-Atlantic City), “but I don’t know if you can get the genii back in the bottle.”

A state law allowing an individual to own more than three casinos changed over a decade ago.

“I was opposed to changing the law back then, and I testified before the committee,” Whelan said. “The Harrah’s property and Caesar’s (both owned by Leon Black) have more than held their own compared to other properties, but Harrah’s corporately is struggling, and that impacts on their ability to get capital to invest here.”

If the bankruptcy court approves the sale to Icahn, he would have the three additional casino properties, in addition to the Tropicana.

“Frankly, judging by his record with Sands we didn’t see a lot of money going from Icahn to Sands, so, yes, I’m bothered, but at this point you can’t get the genii back in bottle,” said Whelan, a former Mayor of Atlantic City. “I don’t see how you can roll it back to where they can only have three. Four opened the door for economic concentration of this kind.”

A U.S. Bankruptcy Court’s approval of the sale of Tropicana’s Atlantic City casino to a group that includes Icahn. Last week, Icahn and Beal Bank presented a restructuring plan to gain control of Trump Entertainment Resorts.

Icahn bid to control casinos concerns key Senator