New Jersey moves to boost ailing gambling industry following job losses

New Jersey moves to boost ailing gambling industry following job losses

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

New Jersey is to introduce a number of measures to help boost the US state’s ailing gambling industry, after it was revealed that the Atlantic City region ranked the highest in the country in terms of job losses during the past year.

An employment report from the Bureau of Labour Statistics has shown that a total of 9,900 jobs were lost in the Atlantic County region during the 12 months through to October 31.

This 12-month period was a turbulent time for Atlantic City, which, despite the legalisation of online gambling, has been hit by the closure of four of the resort city’s 12 casinos. The Atlantic Club Casino Hotel, Revel Casino and Hotel, Showboat and Trump Plaza are amongst the facilities to have closed their doors in the last year, while the Trump Taj Mahal is threatening to shut later this month.

The closure of these facilities has not only hit the Atlantic City market but also those that were employed by the casinos, with thousands of workers having lost their jobs as a result.

New Jersey was able to record a significant year-on-year jump in total gaming win from current operators during October of this year, with this figure up 19.3 per cent on the same month last year to $207.2m (€167.4m). However, when taking into account the operators that have been discontinued since last October, the total industry figure is down 4.4 per cent.

In response, Governor Chris Christie and the New Jersey Senate budget committee have announced a number of measures to help combat this trend and boost the market.

The budget committee has approved five bills including the Casino Property Taxation Stabilisation Act, which enables casinos to make fixed payments based on their revenue in lieu of the standard property taxes of $150m for the next two years. The following 13 years will see the amount of payments, which will range between $75m and $165m, based on gaming revenue.

Other bills include the directing of taxes to soften the burden on gambling, the Taj Mahal being given a break from health care payments, and the end of a link between casinos and the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority.

In addition, Christie has signed an executive order that will extend the life of the New Jersey Gaming, Sports and Entertainment Advisory Commission. Formed in 2010, the seven-member panel is responsible for making recommendations to help boost the competitiveness of the Atlantic City gambling market.

“New Jersey’s gaming, sports, and entertainment industries continue to be vitally important to the health of the state's economy and to enhancing the quality of life of our citizens,” Christie said, according to the NJ.com website.

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