(Adds background, details on default, byline)
By Emily Chasan and Bill Rigby
NEW YORK, May 5 (Reuters) - Privately held Casino operator Tropicana Entertainment LLC is set to file for bankruptcy protection as soon as Monday, May 5, person familiar with the matter said.
The filing would be one of the largest bankruptcies so far this year and underscore a decline in the fortunes of casinos as the gambling boom of the past few years fades in the face of an economic slowdown.
The company did not return a call seeking comment.
Tropicana Entertainment said in a regulatory filing last week that it had received a default notice from Credit Suisse Group CSGN.VX, the agent for its lenders on a $1.3 billion credit agreement.
The company said in the filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that its existing forbearance agreement with lenders was dependent on a payment of a fee of up to $3 million to lenders by the end of Monday, and that restructuring in bankruptcy was a possibility if that condition was breached.
Tropicana Entertainment, an indirect subsidiary of Tropicana Casinos and Resorts, owns the famed Tropicana casino in Las Vegas.
The company was created by hotel and casino investor Columbia Sussex Corp when it bought rival Aztar Corp for $1.9 billion in 2006.
It is the former owner of the Tropicana Hotel Casino in Atlantic City, which last December was placed in a trust after the New Jersey Casino Control Commission voted not to renew the casino’s license. (Additional reporting by Deena Beasley, Editing by Phil Berlowitz, Toni Reinhold)