Business Casinos
Trump Taj Mahal Wayne Parry, File/AP Photo

In this photo taken June 30, 2016, the exterior of the Trump Taj Mahal casino is show in Atlantic City, N.J. The property will be redeveloped by Hard Rock International, with an expected opening in summer 2018.

June 09, 2017

Sneak peek: Hard Rock's plans for Taj Mahal in Atlantic City

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — Poolside and restaurant gambling, skill-based slots, fantasy sports betting and hidden VIP gambling rooms are among Hard Rock International's initial plans for their remake of the former Trump Taj Mahal casino.

A wish list the company submitted to New Jersey gambling regulators was obtained by The Associated Press. The partially blacked-out copy offers the first look at proposals the Florida-based company has for the shuttered Atlantic City casino that now-President Donald Trump built.

Hard Rock bought it in March for $50 million from billionaire investor Carl Icahn. That's about 4 cents on the dollar from the $1.2 billion Trump spent to open it in 1990.

A summer 2018 opening is planned.

At a major casino conference last month in Atlantic City, Hard Rock chairman Jim Allen said his company had sent a letter to the state Division of Gaming Enforcement outlining plans it has for the Taj Mahal remake that it wanted to discuss with gambling regulators.

In response to a request under New Jersey's Open Public Records Act, the division provided The Associated Press with a partially redacted copy of the letter, with portions blacked out that included "trade secret, proprietary commercial or financial information," which are exempt from public disclosure requirements.

Allen did not return messages Thursday and Friday seeking comment.

The company also plans new slot products not currently available in New Jersey, but state regulators blacked out details. One of the proposals includes technology designed to increase the amount of time customers spend on the device.

Another includes offering gambling in areas off the casino floor "for traditional gaming or other types of gaming, i.e. sports, skill-based gaming, etc."

Some of the proposals are not new; the Tropicana has slot machines in its shopping-dining area called The Quarter, and Caesars Entertainment recently experimented with skill-based slot machines at its three Atlantic City properties.

"We would like the ability to designate space off of the main casino floor for games at a (food and beverage) venue, pool or other area," Hard Rock wrote, adding, "We would like the ability to create private (VIP) gaming spaces that are not visible to the general public. We would like the ability to have these spaces on the casino floor or in the hotel."

New Jersey in 2013 authorized casinos to offer fantasy sports tournaments, which it does not consider to be gambling but a skill-based contest. Resorts Casino Hotel is about to launch fantasy sports tournaments.

The state also is trying to overturn a federal prohibition on sports betting.

In addition, Hard Rock is asking for the right to host casino tournaments or promotions without notifying the Gaming Enforcement division five days in advance.