The budget committee for the New Jersey General Assembly has reportedly approved two pieces of proposed legislation that have been crafted to assist the nine casinos in Atlantic City in surviving their ongoing coronavirus-related shutdowns.
According to a Tuesday report from The Press of Atlantic City newspaper, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy ordered the eastern state’s casinos to close on the evening of March 16 so as to help stop the spread of the highly-contagious ailment. This move purportedly stifled one of the region’s main economic engines and immediately put approximately 26,000 people out of work.
The Press of Atlantic City reported that legislators are now hoping to help these casinos weather the continuing lockdown by passing a pair of measures that would exempt such venues from a variety of licensing fees for the duration of their state-mandated closures. The newspaper detailed that the proposals are known as A4031 and A4032 and would also amend current New Jersey laws concerning promotional gaming credits and their deduction from gross revenues.
The two proposals are now set to be put to a vote before the full New Jersey General Assembly with one of their main sponsors, Democratic Assemblyman Louis Greenwald, reportedly declaring that the closure of the state’s casinos had ‘no doubt cast a huge shadow on Atlantic City and New Jersey’s tourism industry’.
Greenwald reportedly told the newspaper…
“The legislation released from today’s committee will work in complement to provide a fiscal path forward for an industry that has been devastated by the effects of this pandemic. A path that will help propel us through recovery and one that particularly aims to see Atlantic City get back on track. More importantly, these measures will help bring stability for the thousands of casino and gaming employees in this region who face an uncertain future.”
The Press of Atlantic City reported that a pair of companion proposals have been referred to the New Jersey State Senate’s Government, Wagering, Tourism and Historic Preservation Committee although this body has not yet scheduled any hearings.
However, Republican New Jersey State Senator Chris Brown reportedly told the newspaper that he will support both measures in hopes of developing a plan that will help ‘to restart our local economy as quickly as possible’ while the President for the Casino Association of New Jersey, Steve Callender, is said to have described the proposals as critical to safeguarding the future of the casino industry in ‘The Garden State’.
Reportedly read a statement from Callender…
“This legislation will help stabilize this vital industry, support the safe re-opening of our properties and help us welcome back employees and guests as soon as New Jersey’s stay-at-home order is lifted. This legislation will also help us resume our purchases from New Jersey vendors as well as the tax payments that are based on casino revenues and employment.”