March 3, 2010 / 11:14 PM / 9 years ago

Icahn approved as Tropicana Atlantic City owner

LOS ANGELES, March 3 (Reuters) - Billionaire investor Carl Icahn has regulatory approval to own the Tropicana Casino Resort in Atlantic City, the New Jersey Casino Control Commission said on Wednesday.

The agency voted to give Icahn “interim” authorization to own and operate the property while it conducts a full investigation and hearing into the suitability of the company and its owners.

“Carl Icahn’s return to the business of gaming in New Jersey certainly brings ... signs of rejuvenation and optimism in the market,” Sharon Anne Harrington, the commission’s vice-chair, said in a statement.

The New Jersey commission in December 2007 appointed a conservator to oversee the Tropicana after voting not to renew the casino’s license amid complaints about hotel operations and compliance with gambling regulations.

The casino-hotel had been owned by Tropicana Entertainment [TRPET.UL], a subsidiary, before filing for bankruptcy in 2008, of hotel and casino investor Columbia Sussex Corp.

In a bankruptcy auction last year, Icahn agreed to acquire the Tropicana Atlantic City for $200 million. The financier is currently battling with celebrity real estate developer Donald Trump over control of bankrupt Trump Entertainment Resorts TRMPQ.PK, which has three casinos in Atlantic City. (Reporting by Deena Beasley, editing by Matthew Lewis)

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