NJ casinos slowly reopening, out to recoup losses November 2, 2012 at 2:27 am Geoff Mulvihill, ASSOCIATED PRESS ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) – Atlantic City’s casinos were given the OK to reopen by Gov. Chris Christie on Friday, less than a week after closing because of the approaching superstorm, and some gambling halls moved quickly to start recouping losses. One casino opened 90 minutes after the governor’s order and two others prepared to open later in the day as the struggling gambling industry scrambled to restart after a second forced shutdown in two years. Christie announced the reopening order 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. Golden Nugget Atlantic City was the first open, before noon. The Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa and Tropicana Casino and Resort were preparing to open at 4 p.m. Among the first customers at Golden Nugget was 63-year-old Joyce Dean, who lives in Atlantic City. “I was cooped up with my sister,” she said. “I’m so happy to get out and resume my daily visit to Golden Nugget.” Golden Nugget general manager Tom Pohlman said he understands that some gamblers are more focused on recovery than diversions. But he said reopening will help employees. “We employ a large majority of the people that live in Atlantic City and surrounding barrier islands,” he said. “Unfortunately, our people don’t get paid if they don’t work.” It wasn’t clear when additional casinos would open. Tropicana President Tony Rodio, who also heads the Casino Association of New Jersey, said the casinos have logistics to consider. State regulators are giving final approval for reopening plans individually. 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 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 six years during a sour economy and because of increased competition from neighboring states. ___ Mulvihill reported from Trenton. Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.