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ATLANTIC CITY—A unanimous vote Wednesday by the Casino Control Commission paves the way for the sale of the Tropicana Casino Resort to a group of its lenders. The board also authorized the casino’s conservator to request a US Bankruptcy Court judge to schedule an auction of the property.

“This a major step toward getting the Tropicana into the hands of owners who can meet New Jersey’s strict licensing requirements,” said commission chair Linda M. Kassekert in a statement released by the commission.

Back in 2007, the commission declined to renew the Tropicana’s license, finding its then owners unsuitable. Former New Jersey Supreme Court Justice Gary Stein was appointed as conservator.

After soliciting bids, a deal with the casino’s senior lenders, which reportedly includes Carl Icahn, was struck. Under the terms of that agreement, the lenders agreed to serve as the “stalking horse” in bankruptcy court auction with a bid of $200 million.

In a statement released by the commission, Stein said he would file papers as early as Wednesday in the US Bankruptcy Court in Camden.Kassekert also stated that action would not impact the ongoing operations of the casino and hotel, which consists of 2,125 rooms. The commission extended the deadline for a sale until the end of this year as well.

Last month, the property’s parent company, Tropicana Entertainment LLC, and its unsecured creditors agreed on Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization.

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