Revenge roulette: Atlantic City hopes to raise $1m by blowing up Trump casino

Atlantic City is holding a charity auction for the right to spark the blast that will bring down a casino opened by Donald Trump in 1984.

The city on the New Jersey coast hopes that blowing up Trump Plaza will raise more than $1m for the Boys & Girls Club, an educational charity that provides after school activities.

The casino was opened in 1984 and closed in 2014, after which it fell into disrepair. Some demolition has been done, but the main structure will be dynamited on 29 January.

There is an element of revenge in the plan, according to Atlantic City Mayor, Marty Small.

“Some of Atlantic City’s iconic moments happened there, but on his way out, Donald Trump openly mocked Atlantic City, saying he made a lot of money and then got out,” Small told the Associated Press.

“I wanted to use the demolition of this place to raise money for charity.”

Trump Plaza hosted boxing matches, the WrestleMania IV and WrestleMania V events in 1988 and 1989, and it was the scene of a famous baccarat game in May 1990, in which the Japanese high roller Akio Kashiwagi lost $10m, an incident later fictionalized in Martin Scorsese’s film Casino.

However, it was not successful as a gaming destination and was closed in 2014 after a deal to sell it for $20m to the Meruelo Group, a Californian casino operator, fell through.

The building was to have been demolished in 2018 but disputes over who would pay for it have caused delays.

Mayor Small announced the latest demolition plan in June, on the grounds that falling debris had made the casino a danger to public safety.

Earlier this year, pieces of the façade broke loose from one of the hotel towers and came crashing to the ground. In one storm, additional debris fell from the structure onto the Boardwalk.

Small said he hopes the site of the former resort will be used for some kind of family attraction. He said: “Not often does inner-city oceanfront land open up. We have one chance to get this right.”

Image: The hotel and casino after its closure (Wcam/Public domain)

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