Multiple Atlantic City Casinos Facing Closure

Four of Atlantic City's nine casinos are facing the prospect of closure if a bill designed to give them tax breaks fails to pass. The bill will modify the existing law to allow casinos to make payments in place of property taxes to Atlantic City, Atlantic County, and the city's school system in exchange for not appealing their property taxes.

Democrat Steve Sweeney explained that the casinos need help recovering from the pandemic. He said that four are at risk of closure and that, "We do not want that to happen. I don't want to have a situation where it's, 'I told you that place was going to close, and it closed.'"

Joe Lupo, the President of the Casino Association and President of Atlantic City's Hard Rock Casino, said that the association has been holding talks with elected officials. He said that many of the city's casinos are in "grave danger" and added, "We fully expect to pay our fair share, but we need stability moving forward."

Profits and revenues at the city's casinos have been up this year following the decline caused by the coronavirus pandemic. However, casino executives have argued that revenue from sports betting and other forms of gambling should be shared with technology platforms, sportsbooks, and other partners, even if the casinos are paying taxes on the full amount.

That is why the bill excludes sports betting and online casino gambling from calculations on how much the casinos should pay the city in lieu of property taxes. The legislation, which was advanced via a Senate committee, will now go to the full Senate, and it is hoped that it will be approved in the state Assembly.

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