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NEWS 3 July 2017

NJ casinos could shutter if budget resolution not found

By Tom Lewis
Atlantic City’s casinos could be forced to shut down at the end of this week owing to the continuing budget disagreement between the state legislature and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, according to a report by the Press of Atlantic City.

In 2008, then Governor John Corzine signed a law recognising the state’s Casino Control Commission as essential, but this only allows casinos to remain open for seven days in the wake of the initial shutdown.

The Garden State faces losing millions in tax revenue should its casinos close, which could happen as early as 8 July.

A similar budget impasse in 2006 caused Atlantic City’s casinos to close for three days, given that the work of gaming regulators and inspectors was not essential under state law, hitting the state’s coffers for $4m in tax revenue.

Governor Christie confirmed at a Sunday news conference that state Attorney General Christopher Porrino is looking into whether there is a way to keep the casinos open.

The current budget standoff, which shut down the state government on Friday 30 July, has reportedly been caused by a conflict over the finances of the state’s largest health insurer.

Per NJ.com, a bill that would give the state government control over the amount Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield can keep in surplus before contributing to a public health fund was refused a House vote by Assembly Speaker and Democrat Vincent Prieto.

This led to a push back from legislators in Prieto’s own party, preventing the state budget from receiving enough votes to pass.

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