No dice, Atlantic City
Casino operators to close their doors after New Jersey lawmakers fail to resolve an impasse on the state's budget.

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (CNN) -- Atlantic City's 12 casinos began shutting down for the first time ever at 8 a.m. ET Wednesday morning as the New Jersey budget crisis that began July 1 continued.

The government shutdown, which has resulted in the closure of all "non-essential" government offices, began after the state legislature failed to adopt a new budget by the constitutional deadline last Friday.

Among the non-essential government agencies affected by the shutdown was the state Casino Control Commission, which is charged with regulating gambling in Atlantic City's casinos.

"I have no authority nor is there any law to support the notion that casino inspectors are essential state employees," Corzine told state legislators. State employees deemed essential are exempt from the furlough.

The casinos contribute some $1.2 million in tax revenue to the state each day, according to the Casino Control Commission.

Tuesday, state legislators spent their Fourth of July holiday trying to resolve the budget crisis, and lawmakers will remain in Trenton until a 2007 budget is enacted.

Gov. Jon Corzine urged the assembly to come to a consensus quickly, saying there was much more at stake than "a canceled visit to Atlantic City."

"The shutdown means the loss of a paycheck to tens of thousands of construction workers, casino workers and public employees. It means real hardship to small business owners who will lose income because they can't sell lottery tickets," the governor said.

On Monday, the casino industry lost back-to-back court bids in the state's appellate and supreme courts to stay open during the government shutdown.

State law prohibits the casinos remaining open without the supervision of Casino Control Commission employees, who join the ranks of the 45,000 state workers already furloughed during the budget crisis.

The closures will be a financial blow for Trump Entertainment Resorts Inc. (Charts), which operates three hotel casinos, and for Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, a joint venture between Boyd Gaming Corp. (Charts) and MGM Mirage (Charts).

-- From CNN's Christopher Browne. CNN's Zak Sos contributed to the report.


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