Published on Wednesday, July 5, 2006

All bet’s off in New Jersey

How long the casinos will be idle is not known, but all hotels, restaurants, retail stores, nightclubs, spas and bars that are not on the gambling floor remain operational, authorities said.

Tourism is expected to be harmed by the shutdown.

“The summer was anticipated to be a huge draw for the resort because of all the expanded casinos and new non-gambling attractions, like the $200 million shopping and dining complex, The Pier at Caesars, which debuted last week,” said the Philadelphia Inquirer.

The government crisis involves an impasse between Governor Jon S. Corzine and state lawmakers who were $1 billion apart on a balanced budget.

State parks, campgrounds and race tracks are also starting to close.

The state’s casino industry is a $5 billion-a-year-business.

Atlantic City, in large part due to the casinos that opened here 28 years ago, drew 35 million visitors last year and generated $490 million in state tax revenue.

The state’s casinos, which cannot operate without state inspectors, will remain shut until a budget is adopted.

“The only good thing is that I’ll save money,” said one gambler.

Report by David Wilkening

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