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NJ casinos allowed to open, unclear when they will


TRENTON, N.J. (AP) – Gov. Chris Christie announced Friday that Atlantic City’s 12 casinos can reopen after a nearly five-day shutdown for Superstorm Sandy, but it’s unclear when they will be ready to do so.

Christie announced the order to allow reopening at 10 a.m. Friday and said it was effective immediately. He also allowed roads to the seaside resort, which was subject to a mandatory evacuation, to reopen.

Tropicana Casino and Resort President Tony Rodio, who also heads the Casino Association of New Jersey, said the casinos are working on the logistics of opening.

He also said it’s unclear whether they will need to be inspected before they can welcome customers.

Getting workers in place at the businesses could be a challenge. The city has been shut down since Sunday. And now that it’s reopening, traffic congestion could be a major problem.

The Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa said it planned to open Friday at 4 p.m. The casino was scrambling to arrange to bring employees to the building Friday morning.

The casinos were closed Sunday as Sandy bore down on New Jersey’s coast. It was only the fourth time in New Jersey’s 34-year history of legal casino gambling that the industry was shut down.

The storm made landfall with hurricane force winds just a few miles from Atlantic City on Monday.

The city was flooded and an old section of its famous boardwalk – the nation’s first – was wrecked in the storm, though other parts of New Jersey’s coast were hit even harder.

Last year, casinos were closed when Tropical Storm Irene hit the coast. That three-day shutdown, which came on a busy summer weekend, cost the city $45 million in lost business.

The only other closures were for Hurricane Gloria in 1985 and a state government shutdown in 2006.

The casinos have been on a losing streak over the last several years during a sour economy and because of increased competition from neighboring states.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.