Donald Trump’s Atlantic City Casino Industry Dealings Examined by CBS News

Donald Trump has had to defend his history of bankruptcies while owning Atlantic City casinos. In the televised debates, the 69-year old real estate developer and reality TV star defended his use of American bankruptcy laws, highlighting the bankers and financiers who “made a lot of money along the way with me.”

The message is likely to resonate with Americans. When people have to pay off high mortgages, deal with spiraling credit card interest, or pay back predatory student loans, they are not likely to feel a lot of sympathy for the archetypal banker Donald Trump talks about. But since those debate performances, critics have pointed out other people were harmed by Donald Trump’s bankruptcy filings.

Small Business Owner’s Experience

Recently, CBS News interviewed people from the Atlantic City community who were hurt by the Trump bankruptcies, or who know people affected by the former casino mogul’s use of bankruptcy laws. Bill Gamble, a 69-year old carpet installer from Absecon, New Jersey (10 miles from Atlantic City), said he was one of a whole class of people harmed by the filings.

Mr. Gamble told CBS, “I don’t hardly know a contractor that didn’t get hurt by Trump.

Bill Gamble said he carpeted Trump’s Castle Hotel and Casino. The job took 3 months with a crew of 10 workers. He said that carpet layers are the last part of installation, after the electricians and carpenters finish their work. For that reason, crews are often facing imminent deadlines and are pushed to work double-shifts, thus creating lots of overtime.

In his case, Trump declared bankruptcy. When Gamble sent his bill, he had to go to take Trump to court to collect. The carpeter said, “I only got $13,000 of the $21,000 I was owed. I should have had a lawyer as my partner.

Union Leader on Donald Trump

Bud Eggie, president of Carpenters Local 252, said his people’s experiences with Trump were mixed. Eggie said Donald Trump was good for union members, but bad for small business owners and sub-contractors not associated with a union.

Eggie told CBS News, “We actually had a fairly good relationship with Donald Trump. He always used union labor,” but the same didn’t apply to those with more tenuous financial connections. He said, “Here were small businesses that ended up going away, and some of the businesses affiliated with us stopped bidding on Trump jobs because it could take as long as 120 days to get paid.

Financial Professor on the Economic Times

Murray Sabrin, who serves at Ramapo College of New Jersey as a finance professor, said the experiences people complain about are as much a sign of the times than they are one executive’s business practices. Professor Sabrin said getting paid is harder in the 21st century than it was in previous times.

Sabrin said, “We live in a world where there’s a pervasive risk, where there are no guarantees that your expected returns will materialize.

Local Reverend on Donald Trump

Rev. John Scotland, who serves as the pastor at Community Presbyterian Church in the nearby town of Brigantin, said many members of his community were affected by Donald Trump’s financial dealings.

Rev. Scotland said Trump had a way of blaming his victims for their plight. His justifications for doing what he did were heartless, as Scotland said, “[Trump] has no regard for who he hurts. He’s devastated small businesses and tradespeople down here. He victimizes people and tells them he’s teaching them a lesson.


Those who see American business leaders as the natural leaders of our country are likely to defend Trump’s practices, saying it was not his responsibility to take care of people beyond their usefulness to his business, and therefore the local economy. Donald Trump gave a lot of Atlantic City workers jobs, and he did so for decades. But if the reverend can be believed, teaching someone a lesson by withholding money goes over the line and is antithetical to normal business practices.

Such is the way of a political campaign. Trump staffers and supporters are likely to see the CBS News story as an ambush piece by a liberal news outlet against a Republican candidate. Liberals and supporters of other GOP candidates might or might not agree with that assessment, but they would say that point does not change the facts. More people were affected by Donald Trump’s bankruptcies than a few financiers in New York City who had already made their return-on-investment from the Trump casinos.

About Cliff Spiller

Cliff Spiller has been an online writer for 14 years. He worked for Small World Marketing for a decade, where he covered topics like gaming, sports, movies, and how-to guides. Since 2014, he has blogged about US and international gambling news on,, and

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