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Business Makeover: Trump Entertainment Resorts


If it's broke, fix it.


On Friday, Trump Entertainment Resorts (TRMP) announced it will have to "skip a $53.1 million interest payment on its 8.5% senior secured notes due [in] 2015."

A 30-day grace period will follow, in which the Atlantic City casino operator will pursue talks with lenders and make necessary adjustments with a view to staying liquid.

Meanwhile, the company is trying to unload its Trump Marina property for $270 million - something Fitch Ratings notes to be crucial if it hopes to avoid restructuring.

What can Trump Entertainment Resorts do to reshuffle the deck and claim the jackpot?

Like most hotel casinos in Atlantic City, Trump's operate on the false premise that patrons are looking for a high-end experience. Open fried-Oreo and funnel-cake stands next to each blackjack table and watch the money roll in.

Even though he has no operational role in the casino company that bears his name, some are quick to attribute its declining business to Mr. Trump's polarizing public image. Build instant goodwill by tapping excess inventory and including a "You're Fired" t-shirt with every stay.

Aside from a few decorative choices, the Trump Taj Mahal bears little resemblance to the original. Up the authenticity factor -- and increase tourism -- by erecting a genuine Indian mausoleum for the next octogenarian who suffers a stroke during keno.

The comfort and convenience of online gambling continues to eat away at the bottom line of brick-and-mortar casinos. Recreate this relaxed, homespun environment by allowing players to don bathrobes. But be realistic: Competing with separate tabbed displays for porn will be a Herculean task.

Everybody knows Atlantic City's Boardwalk has the highest property taxes in the area. Switch locations to the more affordable Baltic Avenue or St. James Place, and consider investing in the local Water Works.

Change the spokesperson to Ivanka.

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