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Atlantic City Shut Down As Irene Nears

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J., Aug. 27 (UPI) — Atlantic City, N.J., casinos were closed Saturday as Hurricane Irene barreled toward the Jersey Shore.

The shut-down was the third in the resort’s 33-year history as a gambling hub, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. The casinos closed in 1985 when Hurricane Gloria approached the area and in July 2006 when a state budget dispute halted nonessential government services.

By Friday evening, most of the 12 casinos had shut down gambling floors and told gamblers and overnight guests to head out of town, the Inquirer reported.

Historically, hurricanes have done little damage in New Jersey. But Irene’s track was forecast to impact the state’s 125-mile coastline late Saturday and early Sunday.

Gov. Chris Christie ordered the evacuation of coastal areas Friday. Major roads leading away from the shore, including the Atlantic City Expressway and Garden State Parkway, were converted to one-way traffic and police turned back drivers heading toward the coast, WCAU-TV, Philadelphia, reported.

In Atlantic City, casinos said they would remain shuttered at least through Sunday with only skeleton crews on hand to board up windows and stack sandbags.

Resorts International Chief Executive Officer Dennis Gomes predicted a weekend loss of $4 million in revenue.

“This weekend is gone, as far as business,” he told the Inquirer. “We had a lot of shows, and all the hotels were booked solid for the weekend. Now, it’s a complete wash.”

UPI - United Press International, Inc.

Since 1907, United Press International (UPI) has been a leading provider of critical information to media outlets, businesses, governments and researchers worldwide.

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