New Jersey Passes Pandemic Relief For Casinos

  • New Jersey’s lawmakers have passed a bill to alleviate taxes on casinos in the state.
  • They cite the COVID-19 pandemic and the closures it necessitated as a proximate cause.
  • Several other casino-related bills are up for approval in the General Assembly as well.

LAS VEGAS - New Jersey lawmakers passed one of several proposed bills to help the gambling industry in the state in the wake of COVID-19.

The New Jersey General Assembly approved a bill from the Senate that would allow casinos to pay less taxes if their revenue falls below certain thresholds.

The bill also exempts the first $90 million in promotional credits offered to gamblers from taxes for two years.

Citing the “catastrophic and unprecedented economic contraction (that) has devastated the regional economy of Atlantic City and surrounding regions” caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the bill aims to keep the Atlantic City casino industry afloat during this time.

The bill also speaks to the importance of the industry to New Jersey’s overall economic health:

“The Atlantic City casino industry, one of the largest employers in New Jersey, provides critical revenue to State, county, and local governments for the support of multiple Statewide social programs providing a safety net for senior citizens and the most vulnerable New Jersey residents.”

The conclusion the bill draws, then, is that:

“It is necessary for the State to take action to ensure the continued viability of the Atlantic City region’s financial condition and to assist the region’s population in dealing with the financial and economic problems resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic through critical State government programs and the immediate passage of legislation to directly assist the Atlantic City region and its residents, who continue to struggle to survive this historic financial and health crisis, and for a population that faces an unemployment rate more than double that of any other metropolitan region in the entire State of New Jersey.”

This bill passed the New Jersey General Assembly on Friday, and on its own, seems a bit insufficient to accomplish the goal of ensuring the continued viability of casinos in New Jersey.

However, the New Jersey Senate has passed several other bills aimed at alleviating the economic impact of COVID-19.

These bills have various effects, many of which would allow for certain types of gambling in the state that are currently not allowed.

One bill, for example, would allow religious groups and charitable events to offer bingo and raffle games remotely.

Another bill would allow voters in the state to vote on whether or not the constitution should be amended to allow for betting on collegiate sports that take place in New Jersey, a currently prohibited activity.

Currently, both of these bills have passed the Senate, but are awaiting approval in the General Assembly.

If they receive it, they will then be sent to Gov. Phil Murphy’s desk for signing.