Casinos that filed for bankruptcy and were saved

There have been many casinos that filed for bankruptcy, but some of them were later saved. Find out which those casinos are and which were their owners at that time.

The US casino industry has always been unpredictable. Many land-based casinos had to shut down over the years, while others showed impressive growth and managed to stay on top of their game.

When we think about struggling casinos, the first thing that comes to mind is probably the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, the virus forced many gaming venues to shut down completely for several months in 2020.

However, this is not the first time that casinos have struggled. There have been many casinos that filed for bankruptcy in the past, some even before casino resorts became a common thing.

What’s interesting is that some of these casinos were later saved and went on to become successful once again. This goes to show that even if things seem hopeless, there’s always a chance for a comeback.

In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the casinos that declared bankruptcy and the companies that owned them at the time.

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Trump Taj Mahal

We cannot start discussing failed casinos without mentioning Donald Trump’s creations. The former president of the United States made a fortune by building and promoting casinos and hotels, but not all his ventures proved to be successful.

One of the most famous examples is the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City. The glamorous casino opened its doors in 1990 with much fanfare, but it soon turned out that it was deep in debt.

Trump didn’t own the casino by the time it filed for bankruptcy, but he was still affected as his name was attached to the brand. Trump claimed that he hadn’t been involved in the day-to-day operations of the Taj Mahal for several years prior to its bankruptcy. 

The Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino also faced financial problems and declared bankruptcy in 1995 and 2009. Both casinos ultimately closed down, in 2014 and 2014, respectively.

Coming back to the Trump Taj Mahal, the casino declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 1991 and reorganised its debt. It changed hands several times until it was sold to Trump Entertainment in 1997. Just a few years later, the casino was deeply in debt again and had to file for bankruptcy for the second time in 2004.

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After going through another reorganisation, the Trump Ent. Filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2009, and the Taj Mahal was closed along with other properties. The worker's union took Icahn Enterprise LP to court, claiming that they broke the labour contract. After a long legal battle, the casino was allowed to reopen in 2016, but it eventually shut down for good in 017.

Harrah’s Entertainment

Harrah’s Entertainment was a casino company based in Las Vegas. At its height, the company operated more than 30 casinos around the world, including renowned brands such as Harrah’s, Caesars, and Horseshoe. Some of the most popular destinations were Harrah’s Reno, Harrah’s Council Bluffs, and Harrah’s Chester Downs & Turf Club.

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Harrah’s Entertainment wasn’t immune to financial trouble. The company declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2008 amidst the global economic crisis. Harrah’s managed to emerge from bankruptcy just six months later after reaching an agreement with its creditors.

A similar scenario happened in 2014 when Harrah’s parent company Caesars Entertainment Corp (CEC) filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy due to $18 billion in debt. Caesars Entertainment Operating Company (CEOC), which operated 11 of Caesars’ casinos, declared bankruptcy as well.

Some of the casinos that were affected include Bally’s Las Vegas, Baltimore’s Horseshoe Casino, Harrah’s Ak-Chin, Harrah’s Philadelphia, Harrah’s New Orleans, and Harrah’s Reno. Harrah’s Council Bluffs and Harrah’s Chester Downs & Turf Club were also included.

The company completed its restructuring process in 2021, so all these casinos should be back on track.

Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino

We’ve already talked about the Trump Taj Mahal, but another one of Donald Trump’s casinos that ended up filing for bankruptcy is the Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino. Unlike the Taj Mahal, this casino was never too extravagant, but it still couldn’t avoid financial problems.

The Trump Plaza opened its doors in 1984 and was also deep in debt just a few years later. Trump claimed that he no longer had any involvement in the casino’s management and therefore shouldn’t be held responsible for its debts. He even sued the Plaza’s board for not letting him sell his stake in the property.

Trump eventually reached a settlement in the lawsuit and was able to divest from the casino. The Trump Plaza declared bankruptcy for the first time in 1992 and was bailed out by its creditors. Trump was able to get rid of his connection to the casino in 1995.

Surprisingly, the Trump Plaza got into further financial troubles and went bankrupt again in 2001. The casino attempted to restructure its debt under Chapter 15, but the creditors wouldn’t agree to reduce the amount they were owed. As a result, the Trump Plaza filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and was sold to Carl Icahn in 2004.

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The businessman kept the Trump name on the property until 2011, when it was finally dropped. The Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino closed down in 2014 and was demolished in 2021.

Resorts International

Resorts International was one of the pioneers of the casino industry, being the first min resort to open in Las Vegas. Designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, the same studio behind Lever House and the Hancock Tower, the resort cost $6 million to build.

Resorts International changed ownership several times throughout the years and struggled financially. The casino declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 1987, 2001, 2004, and 2010. Stations Casinos bought the property for $31.6 million in 2014 and ultimately decided to raze it to make way for a new resort called The Reimagined.

Marina del Rey Le Meriden

Marina del Rey Le Merieden is not your typical casino that struggled financially. In fact, the hotel doesn’t offer gambling options. However, it’s worth mentioning because it was once the priciest bankruptcy in Los Angeles history.

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The hotel was built in 1963 and changed names a few times. Nowadays, it’s known as Hotel Angeleno, part of the Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants chain. The property declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 1994, reporting liabilities between $50 million and $100 million.

At the time, the owner was Equity Resorts International Ltd., whose chairman was Andrew Weitzenberg. The businessman bought the hotel for only $7 million in 1992, taking out more than $60 million in loans secured against the property.

Equity Resorts put the Hotel Beverly Terrace and the Ambassador Hotel up for sale to cover the debt, but it didn’t work. The Hotel Angeleno came out of bankruptcy in 1995, and it seems to be doing well now.

Turning Stone Resort Verona

Turning Stone Resort Verona is owned by the Oneida Indian Nation and has never declared bankruptcy itself. However, the corporation did file for bankruptcy in 1996, before the casino opened its doors.

At the time, the Oneida Indian Nation had outstanding debt related to lawsuits with private landowners who objected to the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. The Nation reached an agreement with its creditors in February 1996, allowing them to move forward with the construction of Turning Stone and two other casinos: Point Place Casino and Yellow Brick Road Casino.

All three venues are located in central New York and belong to the Lodge Gaming Development Corporation, which is wholly owned by the Oneida Indian Nation. Turning Stone is considered one of the , so it’s safe to say that the Nation was able to turn things around.

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Atlantis Paradise Island

Atlantis Paradise Island was built by Trump Plaza Casino and Hotels U.S. Ventures, a company owned by Donald Trump. Completing the resort cost twice as much as anticipated, leading to Trump’s decision to bring in investors to help finish the project.

Trump Hotels and Casino Resorts reported a loss of nearly $24 million in 1998, largely due to the performance of the Atlantis Paradise Island. The casino was deep in debt and missed interest payments in November 2001, defaulting on its loans.

Trump’s venture filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2002, and the Atlantis was affected. Kirk Kerkorian’s MGM Mirage ultimately bought the property for $175 million, and Trump was relieved of his ties to the casino.

MGM Mirage renamed the resort The Atlantis, Paradise Island and started a $250 million revitalization programme. The company eventually sold The Atlantis, Paradise Island to Brookfield Asset Management for $100 million in 2007.

Surprisingly, The Atlantis was hit by Hurricane Harvey in 2017 and has remained closed ever since.

Casinos That Filed for Bankruptcy and Survived - Final Thoughts

As you can see, many casinos have had their fair share of financial difficulties. Some of the biggest and most famous casinos in the world went bankrupt or had their parent companies declare bankruptcy.

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Most of these casinos were eventually saved, either by changing ownership or completing a restructuring process. While some casinos managed to recover, others were forced to shut down for good.

It just goes to show that the casino industry can be highly volatile and unpredictable. Even the grandest of casinos can face financial hardships and go bankrupt.

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