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Carl Icahn can profit from Trump Taj Mahal casino flop

Carl Icahn lost $100 million on the Trump Taj Mahal's failure. He can make some back at the Tropicana.

Yes, activist hedge fund investor Carl Icahn took a loss on his investment in the Trump Taj Mahal — he says it was for a whopping $100 million.

Icahn's a savvy investor, but even he couldn't have foreseen the issues that would come to hurt the properties that bear Trump's name: according to data from Foursquare, foot traffic to his places of business have been hurt during his campaign for the presidency.

But there's still a way Icahn can swing a profit on the failure of the Trump-affiliated gaming house. He just needs Trump's former patrons in Atlantic City to head over to the Tropicana.

Icahn, through Icahn Enterprises LP, is also an investor in Tropicana Entertainment, a pink-sheets listed gaming company with operations in Atlantic City (where the Trump casino announced it will shutter come Labor Day in a few weeks). The company's stock is up more than 9 percent this year, and Icahn is its chairman and, by proxy of the fund, controlling shareholder.

"Tropicana AC has benefited from the closure of several competitors in Atlantic City and recent capital investments," Icahn's holding company said in financials Thursday.

In this July 13, 2016 file photo, casino workers and activists protest outside Trump Taj Mahal owner Carl Icahn's office on Fifth Avenue in New York City.
Getty Images
In this July 13, 2016 file photo, casino workers and activists protest outside Trump Taj Mahal owner Carl Icahn's office on Fifth Avenue in New York City.

The Tropicana company also has facilities in Indiana, Nevada, Mississippi, Missouri, Louisiana and Aruba, and Icahn's holding company said its Evansville (Indiana) Tropicana has helped the company boost revenue.

To be sure, south Jersey's gaming scene is under straightforward economic pressure, with online apps sucking up potential clientele and the development of more upscale resorts closer to nearby metropolitan areas potentially putting a damper on profits.

Neither Trump nor Icahn may be able to make Atlantic City great again — but the Tropicana has gotten a boost in revenues for both the three- and six-month periods.

Atlantic City is preparing for its casino headcount to fall once more, from eight to seven, once the Trump property closes next month.