Borgata Hotel Casino &
Spa is eerily quiet. No one is playing any of its more than 4,000
slot machines; its 145 gaming tables are empty; the
125,000-square-foot casino is deserted.
And its a sure bet
that if you visit the Taj Mahal or the Showboat or Harrahs or any
of the eight other casinos in Atlantic City, N.J., and youll find
the same thing.
Thats because the
unthinkable has happen.
Atlantic City, a
gaming destination that welcomed some 35 million visitors last
year, has closed all of its casinos and worse yet, there is no
telling when they will reopen.
The casinos are caught
up in a battle between the New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine and the New
Jersey State Legislature.
New Jersey, as it has
in previous years, is facing a budget deficit. This time around,
the deficit may force at least $2.5 billion in spending cuts.
To combat the deficit,
the governor has proposed raising the states sales tax from 6% to
7% while the legislature has resisted.
Under the states
constitution, the legislature was required to submit a budget for
the coming fiscal year at the beginning of July.
by the impasse, the governor, citing state laws, said on July 5
that in absence of a budget and a way to pay state employees he
would have to shut down all non-essential state
As a result, certain
state employees, including those working at casinos, were sent
By law, the casinos
have to have state gaming commission inspectors, Elaine Zamansky,
spokeswoman for the Atlantic City Convention & Visitors
Authority, told TravelWeekly.com. They are state employees and they
were not deemed essential employees, so they were pulled off the
job, which means the casinos cant operate.
That in turn forced at
least half of the 45,000 people who work in casinos in Atlantic
City to also go home.
The result? Gaming in
Atlantic City for now is a bust.
The casinos could
reopen in a matter of days if the flap over the state budget blows
In the meantime,
Atlantic City finds itself in the strange position of being a
gaming destination with no gaming.
resorts, such as the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa are playing up
their non-gaming attractions to visitors.
Our guests are taking
advantage of our non-gaming attractions at the moment -- the bars,
the restaurants, the spa, the pool, Borgatas spokesman Michael
Facenda said. But our primary revenue source is the
It is estimated the
state will loses about $1.3 million in revenue for each day that
casinos like the Borgata, are closed.
Borgata recently opened an expanded gaming section, adding 36
gaming tables, 500 slot machines and an 85-table poker
We hope that this will
be resolved real fast, Facenda said.
City -- which promotes itself as Always Turned On -- hopes that the
temporary lack of gaming wont turn off visitors.
There is incredible
entertainment and vibrancy, Zamanksky said. I think people will
come and enjoy that.
contact reporter Michael Milligan, send e-mail to [email protected].