Before becoming President of the United States, Donald Trump made a name for himself as a businessman. While some argue that he had fortitude and used the 'art of the deal' to experiment in so many different businesses, others suggest checking the current status of many of those businesses. Many of them are no longer trading and some have been made bankrupt. Indeed, Trump has dabbled in the real estate industry, the hospitality industry, the education sector, and the casino industry. Possibly best known for his casino ties, what happened to Trump's casino empire? And what remains of it?
How Well Did Trump Do in Atlantic City?
Atlantic City is second only to Las Vegas for thriving casino businesses in the USA. During his presidential campaign in 2015 and 2016, Trump boasted about the success of his casinos in Atlantic City. But, looking into it, while the rest of the hotels and casinos boomed there, Trump's establishments didn't.
Unlike New York City's Trump Tower, most of Trump's AC businesses are now non-existent. They failed before the rest of the area began to see a decline in quality, according to many records and filed statements. While it could be argued his extravagance did attract customers to the New Jersey resort, as a businessman he didn't fare as well.
Opening in 1990, Trump declared the Trump Taj Mahal Casino the "eighth wonder of the world". The casino was bought with $675 million in junk bonds, resulting in the casino having to make $94 million a year to repay its debts, and averaging $1 million per day just to be in profit. Trump Plaza closed in 2014, Trump Taj Mahal closed in 2016 and was bought by Hard Rock International, and Trump's Marina Hotel Casino was sold and transformed into the Golden Nugget in 2011, resulting in a major loss for the mogul. While Trump wagered little of his own personal fortune, he was able to transfer debts and bankruptcies onto the casinos themselves, leaving himself largely unaffected.
How Did Trump Do Elsewhere?
Trump didn't just leave his mark in Atlantic City. Trump had a casino in Coachella, California, which he sold off in 2006. This was one example of Trump being caught out as exaggerating his abilities – the Trump 29 casino returned to its original name, the Spotlight 29 casino, after just three years. He also owned one in Gary, Indiana, which is now the Majestic Star II. The fact that his casino ventures – throughout times of economic upheaval and economic stability – all petered out isn't a very strong look for the mogul. Yet, he was able to leverage his knowledge of running several businesses in order to secure the top seat as Commander in Chief. Could there have been a reason for the failure of the businesses? Or could it simply have been that supporters of his robust personality didn't turn this support into patronage of his casinos?
Did Online Casinos Change the Industry?
Perhaps the rise of online casinos led to Trump's business decline. The online casino industry wrote its own success story during the 2010s especially, with new technology and extra gameplay functionality being added to create a full entertainment package. As Wildz Casino shows, there are a selection of live casino titles popular in the industry – which include roulette, blackjack, baccarat, and poker, as well as Monopoly and Deal or No Deal. This style of gameplay reflects the tension that might be felt in a casino and shows how the latest live streaming technology can replicate this.
Moreover, the ability to play on desktop and mobile was another coup, especially given how mobile gaming is absorbing more than half of all gaming revenue. Online casinos are often optimized for mobile play, taking the best that their desktop site offers and allowing people to play on the go. This combines the latest trends in how people like to interact with entertainment with the traditional gameplay that appeals to people in the first place. Adapting to the trends of the future and finding where audiences are is important for any business, so perhaps technology played a role in Trump not meeting his revenue targets - whether it was Trump's failure to account for the success of the online industry in his land-based one remains up for debate.
Trump's Business Successes
Many successful business moguls have had periods of bankruptcy – from Walt Disney and Marvel's Stan Lee to HJ Heinz, founder of the bean company, and even boxer-turned-griller George Foreman. Most of these are thought of in a positive light still. This is partly because their businesses were able to be salvaged from any bankruptcy. As many of these bankruptcies occurred before they were even in that line of work, it shows that customers are able to overlook any business failures and focus on the current successes. As the saying goes, you have to have the money in order to go bankrupt in the first place - so how did Trump come to a period of being able to start so many businesses?
While he may have some unsuccessful businesses under his belt, he still has Trump Tower - which is one of the tallest buildings in New York City. His real estate business was successful enough to turn the initial investment into a series of properties throughout the Big Apple. This then turned into a range of golf courses around the world. Trump's passion for golf is widely known, and his courses can be found in Scotland, Ireland, and Dubai, as well as throughout the USA.
His stint on The Apprentice helped solidify his brand. The prize for each season of the non-celebrity version was a role in Trump's organization, with projects including helping with the establishment of Trump Tower Chicago, Trump Entertainment, and Trump SoHo. The show only worked because Trump was able to offer a job that was prestigious enough to make a worthwhile TV show in a successful company. First season contestant Omarosa Manigault even ended up working for Trump as a political consultant 12 years later.
If something is repeated often enough, many end up thinking it to be true. That happened with Trump and that he said that he was a good businessman. While he may have had some success in the real estate industry and leveraged his personal brand so well that he landed in the White House, his casino businesses did less well. The circumstances in which many of Trump's casinos were established meant that they were destined to fail as it was. From high debts to style lacking substance, the casino industry didn't do for Trump what he expected it to, and by the mid-2010s, all evidence of his presence in Atlantic City was removed.