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Brown calls on governor to keep casinos open in case of state shutdown

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State Sen. Chris Brown is calling on Gov. Phil Murphy to sign an executive order that would keep casinos and racetracks in New Jersey open in the event of a prolonged state shutdown.

Under New Jersey law, casinos and racetracks would be forced to shut down if a government shutdown lasts more than seven days. That last happened in 2006, when Atlantic City casinos closed for three days.

The problem can be avoided if Murphy signs an executive order designating employees at the casinos and racetracks as “essential employees.”

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Former Gov. Chris Christie signed a similar executive order in 2010.

“The 2006 shutdown of the casinos during the July 4th weekend was devastating,” Brown said. “It’s unbelievable to me that as our gaming industry is turning the corner and improving our local economy by putting families back to work, Trenton would force the casinos to shut their doors during the busiest time of the year.”

If Murphy doesn’t sign an executive order, Brown is working on legislation with state Sens. Jeff Van Drew and Jim Beach to keep the casinos and racetracks open.

Assemblymen Vince Mazzeo and John Armato, D-Atlantic, have previously introduced similar legislation in the state Assembly.

If the legislation passes, Murphy would still be required to sign it. Brown said he prefers Murphy to sign the executive order because the state is scheduled to shut down June 30 if a budget is not passed.

Contact: 609-272-7260 JDeRosier@pressofac.com Twitter @ACPressDeRosier

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