• Gov. Phil Murphy signed off on NJ’s $38.7 billion budget Sunday.
  • A government shutdown would have closed state racetracks, casinos, and sportsbooks.

TRENTON, N.J. – New Jersey’s shiny new budget came down to the wire this weekend. With a deadline of June 30, Gov. Phil Murphy (D) signed off on the state’s $38.7 billion spending package.

Murphy had threatened to withhold his approval of the budget, which would have forced a partial government shutdown.

That, in turn, would have immediately shuttered the state’s largest sportsbook at The Meadowlands as well as all track-based products and services statewide.

Atlantic City casinos would have had a seven-day grace period before also suspending all services.

Fortunately, Murphy approved the budget Sunday, despite losing out on several of his own requests and top priorities. Still, Murphy was able to eliminate $48.5 million of so-called pork spending in a line-item veto, and he moved $401 million into New Jersey’s “rainy day fund.”

For bettors, of course, the real news is that the sportsbooks at The Meadowlands and Monmouth Park will stay open, as will those in Atlantic City.

Further, New Jersey racetrack venues will not be closed for Independence Day festivities, a move that would have disrupted tens of thousands of residents’ and visitors’ holiday plans in the state.

Murphy leaned on that angle as a charitable excuse for not negotiating harder in favor of his base’s pet platforms.

“Going into our July 4th holiday, I cannot and I will not subject our residents to the inconveniences they would suffer under a government shutdown.”

The other good news for bettors is that the state didn’t acquiesce to Murphy’s proposed “millionaires tax.”

That means that when you score a huge payout at any New Jersey sportsbooks, you’ll be able to keep more of your money.

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