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Bill would tax potential north Jersey casinos at far higher rate than Atlantic City

Thursday, July 10, 2014   (0 Comments)
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Bill would tax potential north Jersey casinos at far higher rate than Atlantic City (07/10/14)

On June 30, state Sen. Paul Sarlo (D-Bergen) introduced a bill (S2285) that would tax a potential future Meadowlands casino at a rate of 66 percent for their gross revenues. Atlantic City casinos are currently taxed at 9.25 percent — 8 percent of gross revenues and a 1.25 percent "investment alternative tax." Sarlo said he arrived at the 66 percent figure because it was the highest rate at which any state taxes casinos, and that he will likely revise it down. Sarlo has been pushing for a Meadowlands casino for a long time. But state Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester) and Gov. Chris Christie have, until recently, vociferously opposed casino gaming anywhere outside of Atlantic City. Since New Jersey legalized casino gambling in the 1970s, the resort has been the only place where it is permitted. Things are beginning to change. Atlantic City is still struggling nearly four years into a five-year plan to save it. Sweeney recently said he may be open to letting voters decide whether to amend the constitution in November 2015 to allow North Jersey gambling, and Christie saying he’s willing to talk about it.

Sweeney said any plan to allow North Jersey casinos would need to include financial help for Atlantic City. Under Sarlo’s bill, 65 percent of the north Jersey casinos’ tax revenues would go into the state’s general fund, while 25 percent would go to the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, and 10 percent would go to the Hackensack Meadowlands Tax Sharing Stabilization Fund.

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