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Donald Trump's New Jersey casinos file for bankruptcy protection 17/02/2009
Nick Mathiason

"The Donald" is in trouble again. With the bottom falling out of the American gambling market, one of Donald Trump's companies has been forced to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Trump Entertainment Resorts, a collection of three mega-hotels and casinos in Atlantic City, New Jersey, is 28% owned by the colourful 62-year-old American tycoon who has regularly faced similar financial trouble in his eventful career.

The Chapter 11 filing comes four days after Trump, who has reinvented himself as a television star in the US version of The Apprentice, resigned as the company's chairman. His daughter Ivanka stepped down from the board at the same time.

As the company missed the deadline on a $53m interest payment, bondholders rejected Trump's plan to ease its financial crisis by buying back the company. Among Trump Entertainment Resorts' creditors is UK construction giant Bovis Lend Lease, which is owed $7.5m according to the filing.

Recent three-month results for Trump Entertainment Resorts showed an $18m drop in revenues to $196.3m and a net loss of $102.2m.

A US analyst who spoke on the condition of anonymity said of Trump: "He has invested a lot, employed a lot of people and done business with a lot of businesses; all of that would appear to be reasonably positive. At the same time, this is yet another trip through Chapter 11. There are some folks who don't always have the kindest words to say about him."

Trump is also behind controversial plans to build a £2bn golf resort in ­Balmedie, Aberdeenshire. In recent weeks, he has boasted that he has shaved £300m off the £2bn cost of the project because planning delays have coincided with a sharp fall in the value of sterling. But he has delayed plans to build the residential element of the scheme until market conditions improve.

Trump, like most casino operators, is suffering from a disastrous trading environment in Las Vegas, America's traditional gaming capital. There is particular concern over the viability of Harrah's Entertainment, the largest casino firm in the world, which was bought by private equity giants, TPG and Apollo Management for $30bn last year.

Atlantic City, where Trump owns the Trump Plaza, Trump Taj Mahal and Trump Marina casino-hotels, has seen gambling revenues decline by 7.6% in 2008 to $4.55bn. Atlantic City revenues now rival Las Vegas, which has suffered worse than its east coast rival.

Married three times with five children, Trump's colourful private life mirrors his business life. He has made millions as the presenter of The Apprentice, where his catchphrase – "You're fired" – has become an international institution.