New Jersey is experiencing one of the worst outbreaks of Covid-19 in the United States. Unsurprisingly, this virus has taken an incredible toll on the land-based casino industry in this state. Recently, several bills to help NJ casinos were introduced, yet some lawmakers here are already expressing their concerns.
Casinos help to bring a huge amount of revenue to New Jersey every year. Cities like Atlantic City are now essentially shut down. Today, we’re going to look at the details of these new casino relief bills.
Let’s get into it!
New Jersey’s Casino Revenue Fell Quickly Last Month
Everyone knew that US casino revenue figures in March would be bleak. Last week, the reports finally came out and it seems these predictions were correct. Every state with a land-based casino industry saw its revenue drop considerably.
Reports indicate that New Jersey saw a revenue decline of $124 million. That’s the largest drop in the state’s history. Not even the state’s online gambling industry helped to make up for the money lost.
This is a shame, as things were looking fantastic in Atlantic City at the beginning of this year. In January, gambling revenue here increased by 23% compared to the same month in 2019. That progress has now come to a screeching halt.
The effect that this is having on casino companies is clear. Some are losing millions of dollars every day. Not long ago, a city councilman told the media that Atlantic City may never recover from this global pandemic.
Times are certainly tough for casinos. It’s a very difficult situation, particularly due to the fact that no one can say when these casinos will be allowed to open once again. Officials in New Jersey have been looking at ways to help the gambling industry. Unfortunately, not everyone is on board with what lawmakers here are proposing.
State Legislature Proposes Several Bills to Help NJ Casinos
The land-based casino industry has been one of the hardest-hit in the country due to this pandemic. It’s becoming clear that some will never recover. This situation has also been extremely difficult for millions of workers who are employed in the hotel-casino industry.
Lawmakers recognize this and many are working to help these casino companies get through this difficult time. Recently, multiple bills to help NJ casinos were introduced. It was exciting news for many in Atlantic City who hoped this would start to push the city forward.
These bills are already taking their fair share of criticism. They are intended to offer casinos relief on taxes and fees. Other state loans would be used to cover casino property payments for the next few months.
Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo isn’t on-board with the proposed relief efforts. He believes the bills will end up taking away funds from the community and granting them to casino companies. Mazzeo is particularly concerned with the idea of taking from the state’s Property Tax Relief Fund, a decision he feels is detrimental to city taxpayers.
Charity Jeffries, Chief of Staff for Assemblyman John Armato, commented on the situation to the media this week.
“The concern is not that casinos don’t need a little help, but why is it coming at the expense of Atlantic City and Atlantic County taxpayers again?” Jeffries said. “We don’t know what help they need. Casinos don’t have facts and figures. Why are we rushing?”
There are many measures that these bills set to protect casino companies. Even if they’re approved, however, they may not be enough to keep some of these companies from going under. Only time will tell how things play out in one of the country’s biggest gambling hubs.
How Are Other State Gambling Industries Doing?
New Jersey is far from being the only state with a gambling industry that’s hurting. As many are well-aware of, all land-based casinos around the country are completely closed down right now. This is taking a serious toll on many parts of the country.
Obviously, many are looking at the effect this pandemic is taking on Las Vegas. The city has completely closed down and tourism has completely stopped here. Hundreds of thousands of people are now left without a job here due to the current restrictions.
Nevada’s Governor Steve Sisolak is extremely hesitant to allow casinos to reopen. Carolyn Goodman, the Mayor of Las Vegas, has repeatedly called for the city to reopen. It’s still unclear when casinos will be given permission to open their doors again.
Many other states continue to look at plans for the future. In Washington, several tribal leaders recently began to discuss ways to reopen their casinos. This includes measures to allow social distancing inside casinos.
April’s casino revenue figures have not been released yet. Most analysts predict that last month will be the worst in the history of the US casino industry. Hope is that things began to improve as the summer approaches.
Several new bills to help NJ casinos have now been introduced. Unfortunately, some feel these will end up hurting Atlantic City’s community. Stay tuned for more updates on this situation over the next few weeks!