TRENTON, NJ (AP) A bill a expand Internet gambling in New Jersey it is in the hands of Governor Phil Murphy for another five years, following its approval on Friday by the state legislature.
The measure passed the state Assembly and Senate with minimal opposition from lawmakers, and is now moving to action by the Democratic governor.
But the passage did little to dispel the mystery surrounding the unexpected and unannounced changes made to the bill earlier this week that riled up the Atlantic City casino industry.
A bill to allow Danish offshore wind developer Orsted to keep tax credits it would otherwise have to give back to New Jersey taxpayers passed Friday afternoon by the narrowest of margins in the state legislature.
Democratic New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has signed off on a $54.3 billion budget. Increase spending by 7% over last year.
Officials and residents of several coastal New Jersey cities say state law decriminalizing marijuana use is having an unintended effect: Encouraging large groups of teens to romp on beaches and boardwalks, knowing there’s little chance they’ll get in trouble for it.
Internet gambling started in New Jersey 10 years ago. The original renewal bill would have extended it for another 10 years.
But on Tuesday, an Assembly panel cut that to just two years without discussing or even announcing the change. Since then, lawmakers have repeatedly refused to say why the extension was shortened. The following day, the extension was again set at five years, with no explanation.
The trade association for the Atlantic City casino industry said a full 10-year extension is vital to the continued success of the casinos.
Daniel Heneghan, a gambling industry consultant, said the changes may have already hurt New Jersey’s leading national Internet gambling market.
Reducing the time from 10 years to five years is the wrong way to go, said Heneghan, who previously covered the Atlantic City gambling industry as a reporter and then served as a spokesperson for the state’s Regulatory Commission. of casinos. He sends the wrong message to companies interested in getting involved in Internet gaming.
Since New Jersey began accepting Internet bets in November 2013, Atlantic City casinos and their online partners have won $6.29 billion from gamblers, according to the American Gaming Association, the national trade group of the casino industry. This does not include money from online sports betting.
Internet gambling has been widely credited with helping Atlantic City casinos stay afloat during the 3 1/2 months of closure in 2020 at the onset of the pandemic, as well as the lean months following the reopening of the casinos. casino, as many players remained wary of venturing out. to crowded interior spaces.
There was some speculation this week between the Atlantic City casino and political officials that the legislative move could represent potential leverage on the city in terms of possibly increasing the amount of gambling taxes the state collects in the future. That rate is 8% on in-person winnings from casino gamblers, 13% for online sports betting, and 15% for internet gambling.
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