Thursday, September 18, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

What's in store for Trump Plaza?

Absent in Thursday's announcement about the sale of Trump Plaza casino-hotel to Southern California-based Meruelo Gaming Holdings LLC was any mention of what exactly the new owner plans to do with the aging midtown complex once it receives the keys.

What's in store for Trump Plaza?

Racks of food are rolled into Trump Plaza, preparing to reopen Friday. MICHAEL BRYANT / Staff Photographer
Racks of food are rolled into Trump Plaza, preparing to reopen Friday. MICHAEL BRYANT / Staff Photographer

Absent in Thursday’s announcement about the sale of Trump Plaza casino-hotel to Southern California-based Meruelo Gaming Holdings LLC was any mention of what exactly the new owner plans to do with the aging midtown complex once it receives the keys.

It’s just a hunch, but an existing Atlantic City gambling den may offer a pretty good idea of what’s in store.

It was only a couple of years ago that Houston-based Landry Inc., a hospitality giant whose signature brands include Morton’s The Steakhouse and The Chart House, bought the former Trump Marina for the bargain-basement fee of $38 million. The low-ball price allowed Landry to invest some $150 million in a complete—make that startling—makeover that turned what had been a property with all of the charm of a bus terminal into the sleek and vibrant Golden Nugget.

Meruelo Gaming has made that deal look positively extravagant: It shelled out a mere $20 million for the Plaza (once upon a time, $20 million was a weekend take at the casino). Assuming the company has sufficient funds (if it didn’t, it would probably not get licensed by the state of New Jersey), it seems logical that it would follow the Landry/Nugget playbook and do a top-to-bottom redo—something the Plaza absolutely demands if it is to have any chance at success.

Age and neglect have left the Plaza shoddy and run-down, and the layout—the casino is on the second level—is not the most user-friendly. But the property does have what is easily the best location in town standing, as it does, at the foot of the Atlantic City Expressway in the heart of the Boardwalk casino district.

Which means with a not-insane amount of capital, a little TLC and a smart marketing plan, TrumpPlaza may have a future after all.

See Cee at Harrah's

Pop artist/TV competition show judge CeeLo Green will be all over Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City Saturday night. First, he’s gigging in the casino’s Concert Venue. Then he’ll head on over to The Pool After Dark to do a couple of tunes and meet and greet his fans.

Harrah’s, 777 Harrah’s Blvd., 9 p.m. (concert), $85, $75 and $65, 10 p.m. (doors open at Pool), $25, 800-736-1420, www.ticketmaster.com (concert), www.wantickets.com (Pool).

Laughs times four

Arte Lange, the former “Howard Stern Show” cast member who has bounced back from a failed suicide attempt in early 2010, heads up the latest edition of the “Anti-Social Network” comedy tour that on Sunday hits Borgata Hotel, Casino & Spa. Also on the bill are Dave Attel, Amy Schumer and tour creator, Jim Norton.

Borgata, 1 Borgata Way, 7:30 and 10:30 p.m., $65, $55 and $45, 866-900-4948, www.theborgata.com.

 We’ll drink (and eat) to that!

 

 Thursday, Robert’s Steak House inside Trump Taj Mahal is hosting a Classic Malts Dinner. 

Hosted by certified Master of Whisky Kevin Loser, the four-course meal specially conjured by Will Savarese the eatery’s executive chef, will showcase award-winning Scotches Talisker 10, Cragganmore 12, Lagavulin 16 and Dalwhinnie 15.

The dinner begins at 7 p.m. Admission is $85. For (required) reservations, call 855-500-7623 or emailkmullins@RobertsAtlanticCity.com. 

Slots of fun

It was this past Monday evening when an unidentified woman celebrating her birthday at Borgata Hotel, Casino & Spa hit $924,231.89 on a $1 “Wheel of Fortune” progressive slot machine.

Obviously, the woman doesn’t have any use for “convenience gambling.” According to the folks at the Big B, she lives in Bensalem, Pa., home of Parx casino.

Monday’s big hit marked the third time in less than two months Borgata has doled out a major slot machine award. On New Year’s Eve, a Maryland man won $3.8 million on a $5 “Wheel of Fortune” progressive machine and more recently, a resident of Harrisonburg, Va. left $250,000 richer.

About this blog
Philly native Chuck Darrow has literally covered Atlantic City’s casino scene since Day One: He was there on assignment the night in November 1976 when voters approved legalized casinos.

Since then, Chuck has covered the town and its gaming industry for several area newspapers -- which is why, in some circles, he’s known as “Boardwalk Charlie.”

You can reach Chuck at darrowc@phillynews.com. Reach Chuck at darrowc@phillynews.com.

Chuck Darrow
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