The referendum to move casinos outside of Atlantic City goes to vote this November and should New Jersey voters decide to break Atlantic City’s monopoly on the casino industry, two new casinos will be developed in north Jersey, very close to New York City.
While developers of the two proposed casinos have continued to promise that their facilities will generate a significant amount of revenue for senior citizens, educational programs and community development initiatives, lawmakers have yet to confirm what percentage of gaming taxes will be imposed on the two new casinos. Those in favor for the casino expansion and those against the expansion have launched aggressive media campaigns to sway voters in their favor but there has been a limited amount of information as to how much of cash each facility would generate yearly.
Assemblyman Ralph Caputo has admitted that legislators should have been more transparent and established the tax rate for the proposed casinos, so that voters are able to make a proper decision before they go to vote. Caputo has stated that the proposed Meadowlands Racetrack might have to pay a tax rate between 35 to 40 percent while the more expensive Liberty Rising facility in Jersey City could pay a tax rate between 15 to 20 percent.
Democratic Senate President Steve Sweeney and Sen. Paul Sarlo have worked together on the casino expansion plan but are still not in a position to make a final decision on tax rates. Sen. Sarlo stated that he expects the decision to be made only after the November referendum vote is finished, as legislature has so far been unable to reach a mutual agreement on casino taxes. The senator did not share the same view as Assemblyman Caputo and stated that he felt that New Jersey voters were not really paying a lot of attention to tax rates and publishing this information would not have much of an impact.
Billionaire Paul Fireman who has proposed to develop the Liberty Rising casino stated that his facility will generate around $200 million each year in new funding while Jeff Gural who wants to develop the Meadowlands racetrack casino is willing to pay as much as 55 percent in taxes for his facility.
The lack of information on the tax rate for the proposed casinos has given anti-expansion groups such as Trenton’s Bad Bet ammunition to go after those in favor of the referendum. Trenton’s Bad Bet is backed by the Atlantic City casino union and business groups stated that voters are being asked to buy into a proposal which does not specify as to where the two new casinos will be developed, what percentage of taxes they will pay and how much money they will generate each year.
Genting Group which operates the Resorts World casino in New York has funded Trenton’s Bad Bet as a casino in North Jersey could have an impact on Resorts World’s revenue.