Tropicana Heads to Auction

It could go for pennies on the dollar.

The Trop's going up for auction but you might as well call it a fire sale. It could go for as little as 20 cents on the dollar!

New Jersey gaming regulators decided Wednesday to let the Atlantic City casino and resort file for bankruptcy. That clears the way for the property to be auctioned off, which could happen as early as June.

A low-ball offer for $200 million is on the table from an investment group that includes billionaire Carl Icahn.

That's a deep, deep discount from the $1 billion sale price the Tropicana was expected to fetch when it was up for sale two years ago. The economic downfall derailed that plan.

Icahn made a mint on when he flipped the Sands casino for $270 million after buying it for $65 million in a bankruptcy sale several years ago.

Don't worry gamblers, no matter what happens, the Trop stays open for business during the bankruptcy process.

"I can assure everyone that our casino will continue to offer the very finest service, and that there will be no negative impact on our employees," said Tropicana President Mark Giannantonio. "We're looking forward to emerging with a new owner."

The Trop lost its casino license in December 2007 after its former owner laid off nearly 1,000 workers. That move basically ran the resort into the ground.

Retired state Supreme Court Justice Gary Stein has overseen the casino as conservator. He says the Tropicana may not fetch more than the opening $200 million opening bid.

"I can't be confident, because this is the most unusual economy the casino industry has ever seen," said Stein.

The Icahn group was selected as the so-called "stalking horse." That means it made an initial bid of $200 million that sets the minimum price at auction. If no one else bids, the Icahn group gets the Tropicana.

At least one other party is interested. The Baltimore-based Cordish Company last year offered $700 million in cash and stock, or $575 million in an all-cash deal. But it withdrew that bid when the economy went south.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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