The head of the Casino Control Commission ordered gaming in Atlantic City to cease at 8 a.m. Wednesday — the day after the July Fourth holiday — if New Jersey fails to enact a budget by then.
Atlantic City's 12 casinos, which require state monitoring, have waged a court battle to remain open, and an appeals court was weighing the matter Sunday. There was no word on when a ruling would be made, courts spokeswoman Winnie Comfort said.
Gov. Jon S. Corzine said Sunday there was "no immediate prospect of a budget." State parks, beaches and historic sites also were expected to shut down Wednesday.
If the casinos shut down, the state would lose an estimated $2 million in tax revenue each day they stayed closed. Republican Assemblyman Francis Blee, whose district includes the casinos, said it was important for them to remain open.
"We will have tens of thousands of individuals, real people, that are going to be hurt by this," he said. "There will be bread-winners who are not bringing home a paycheck."
Corzine shut down nonessential government services Saturday after the Legislature failed to adopt a budget by its July 1 deadline, leaving the state without the means to spend money. Budget talks became heated this year as Corzine, a Democrat, proposed increasing the state sales tax from 6 percent to 7 percent to help overcome a $4.5 billion budget deficit.
Most Democrats in the Assembly and several Senate Democrats oppose the sales tax increase, fearing voter backlash and reserving any tax increase for property tax reform.
Right away Saturday, lottery ticket sales were put on hold, as was the issuing of drivers' licenses, CBS News correspondent Joie Chen reports. Roadcrew construction was also suspended, and 45,000 state workers were immediately furloughed.
Assembly Democrats proposed a series of alternatives, some of which Corzine accepted, but both sides remained $1 billion apart as the budget deadline passed.
About 45,000 state employees were furloughed Saturday. Corzine's order allows him to keep 36,000 state employees working without pay. Services such as state police, prisons, mental hospitals and child welfare were to keep operating.