New Jersey lawmakers are considering a measure to cut Atlantic City in on taxes being generated from the state’s thriving sports betting market.
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — New Jersey lawmakers are considering a measure to cut Atlantic City in on taxes being generated from the state’s thriving sports betting market.
A state Senate committee on Thursday advanced a bill that would divert a 1.25% tax on sports betting that currently goes to the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority to promote Atlantic City.
The bill would instead give that money to the city to be used for local property tax relief.
The amount at issue is about $2 million a year, according to the bill's sponsor, Sen. Troy Singleton, a southern New Jersey Democrat.
Mayor Marty Small has long complained that his city gets nothing from a variety of state-imposed taxes on aspects of the casino and tourism industry, including parking, luxury and hotel room taxes. Sports betting is yet another area where the state taxes, but the city receives nothing, the mayor said.
“Everyone in this room, and there are about 25 of us, can drive to Atlantic City,” Small said. "Once we park our car, that's parking tax. We go to the bar and buy a drink, that's luxury tax. We go into our room, that's the room tax. We go to a late-night show, that's luxury tax again. Then we make a sports bet; that's sports betting tax.
“Guess what the residents of Atlantic City get from our stay?” he asked. “Zero. When are we going to get our slice of the pie?"
State Sen. Vincent Polistina, a Republican representing the Atlantic City area, said the city receives ample tax relief under a revised payment in lieu of taxes bill approved by the Legislature in December.
He opposed the bill, and said that any changes to money flowing to the casino reinvestment agency need to come after a “global discussion” of Atlantic City's present situation and its future, particularly with additional New York casinos soon to be approved.
New Jersey led the nation in terms of the size of its sports betting market since shortly after the first legal bets were made in 2018. It only recently lost its top spot nationally in January once New York state allowed mobile sports betting and zoomed past New Jersey.
Singleton said state lawmakers continually talk about returning money to the people.
“This is literally giving money back to taxpayers,” he said. “If we're serious about affordability, here's an opportunity.”
The bill still needs the approval of the full Senate and Assembly.