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Expanded NJ Casino Bill Progresses

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February 08, 2016

A proposed measure for expanding gaming in New Jersey is progressing with state lawmakers. If approved, voters will be able to decide in November if they want two new casinos to be developed outside of Atlantic City. However, some information is missing. Such as locations for the casinos and the tax rate.

Currently under the New Jersey Constitution, casinos can only be built in Atlantic City. On Monday both Senate and Assembly committees voted to approve a referendum bill that would change the state Constitution.

The tax rate for the new casinos has net been set. As of now, lawmakers are leaving that detail open in order to decide on it at a later time if the measure is approved by the voters.

Location of the two new casinos is also unknown. The bill does state that the casinos must be a minimum of 72 miles away from Atlantic City. They also must be in two separate counties. Two developers have proposed possible locations of Jersey City and East Rutherford.

If the new casinos are approved, it is expected that the increased competition would cause even further loss to revenue at Atlantic City casinos. Under the proposed bill tax revenue would be split between the Atlantic City casinos and programs that help with tax relief, the disabled, and the elderly. In addition, the communities that host the casino will receive 2 percent of the tax revenue. The state's horse racing tracks will also receive 2 percent.

In order for the bill to go before voters, it frst must be approved by three fifths of both state legislative houses.

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