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AG tells tracks they must close if government shuts down (updated)

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Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, pictured at a panel discussion on The Front Line In The Opioid Epidemic in April.
Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, pictured at a panel discussion on The Front Line In The Opioid Epidemic in April. - ()

The state's racetracks and sports wagering sites have been told that they'll have to cease operations at midnight on June 30 if lawmakers and Gov. Phil Murphy can't agree on a budget, while the state's casinos have been told they can stay open for the first seven days of a shutdown.

That’s according to two letters sent Friday from the state attorney general’s office.

“In the event a state of emergency is declared due to the failure to enact general appropriation by July 1, 2018, all racetrack and off-track wagering facilities must cease all operations at midnight June 30, 2018,” reads the letter.

“They can’t do that, there’s already a law in place and we put in place because of the last shutdown,” Senate President Stephen Sweeney, D-3rd District, said following Friday morning budget talks.

During the 2006 government shutdown under then-Gov. Jon Corzine, the state’s casinos and racetracks were shuttered during the weeklong impasse, temporarily leaving thousands out of work.

Following that, the state enacted the law that allows the racetracks and casinos, both of which are regulated by the state under the New Jersey Racing Commission and Division of Gaming Enforcement, respectively, to stay open seven days after an emergency shutdown.

The OAG and Division of Gaming Enforcement issued a letter to the state's casinos indicating as such.

"While casinos can stay open without regulators present, certain internal controls must be in place so that private individuals complete the primary responsibilities that the regulators would otherwise fulfill," the letter reads.

New Jersey’s three racetracks are Freehold Raceway, Monmouth Park Racetrack and Meadowlands Racetrack; the nine casinos regulated by the Division of Gaming Enforcement include the Tropicana, Borgata, Caesars, Bally’s, Harrah’s, Golden Nugget, Hard Rock and Oceans Resort.

Budget negotiations between Murphy and Democratic leaders in the Legislature are still ongoing.

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Daniel J. Munoz

Daniel J. Munoz

Daniel Munoz covers politics and state government for NJBIZ. You can contact him at dmunoz@njbiz.com.

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