Atlantic City is struggling to earn enough revenues from casino gambling and legislators have been trying for some time to rebuild the gaming area of New Jersey. On Thursday, the NJ State Assembly gave their approval to a package that included five bills to help the finances, casinos and schools of Atlantic City. The biggest inclusion of the bill package is the portion that would allow eight casinos to make payments for a 15 year time frame instead of paying taxes.
Other portions of the bill package would establish new aid for state education as well as mandate both retirement and health insurance options for workers of casinos in Atlantic City. Changes would also occur with the taxes that casinos already make in investment taxes and divert the money to pay for projects of redevelopment. The Atlantic City Alliance would be eliminated and the $30 million budget of the group would be used to help rebuild the city, in a yet to be determined manner.
Assemblyman Vincent Mazzeao stated that the bill along with the full package of legislation was introduced to try and stop the ‘immediate bleeding in Atlantic City’ as well as the surrounding area. With the many casino closings last year, Atlantic City now faces many challenges. Four casinos closed down in 2014 and officials of the state are now trying to determine if voters should decide this year if the state should expand gaming into other areas outside of Atlantic City.
With the new package, titled the PILOT bill, casinos would be able to collectively pay $150 million during a two year time frame after approval and then $120 million each year for a total of 13 years, as long as gambling revenues stay within a certain threshold. On June 25th, the State Senate is expected to vote on the bills, to move forward or start over to try and fix the struggling casino town.