Atlantic City casinos close amid state government shutdown
The familiar sound of slot machines was absent at 8 a.m. Wednesday at Atlantic City's 12 casinos.
As a result of a state shutdown, the casino-hotels will stay open but the blackjack and poker tables and roulette wheels, which are monitored by the state, will be empty. This is the first time the casinos have been forced to close since the first one opened in 1978. Casino officials say the 12 facilities bring in about $1.3 million a day to state coffers via the 8 percent tax.
State parks, beaches and racetracks are also closed as a result of the shutdown. Courts, motor vehicle offices and other state agencies have been shuttered since Saturday. Lawmakers have yet to reach an agreement on the 2007 budget, which forced Governor Jon Corzine to halt state functions. Essential workers such as police, firefighters and child-welfare workers are among those still on the job.
Corzine made a speech earlier in the day in which he blasted lawmakers, saying he doesn't think they've made every effort necessary to get a budget on his desk. Despite Corzine's words, many lawmakers say they don't think an agreement will be reached Wednesday. However, Senator Joseph Palaia (R-11th District) says he wouldn't be surprised to see some type of movement late into the night or early Thursday.
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