New Jersey state Senate President Steve Sweeney will present a bill on Monday that would remove sports and internet gaming figures from casino payment in lieu of taxes calculations. Sweeney says the goal is to prevent financial challenges for casinos as they rebound from pandemic lockdowns last year. This would renew the original PILOT program that was first enacted five years ago, when five of the then-twelve Atlantic City casinos had closed:
The latest version of the bill, sponsored by outgoing Senate President Steve Sweeney, exempts internet gambling and online sports betting revenue from calculations on how much the casinos have to pay to the city, its school system, and Atlantic County.
It also would reduce the overall amount of payments to $110 million next year, down from about $120 million under previous calculations.
Joe Lupo, president of the Casino Association of New Jersey, said Atlantic City’s in-person gambling revenue is down 7.5% from where it was before the pandemic hit. He said the legislation is needed “through this economic recession as the region continues to rebuild and recover from the pandemic.”
Meanwhile, Atlantic City casinos are still posting great numbers as they continue to rebound from the 2020 pandemic. Gross gaming revenue totaled $237.5 million in October, which is a 27% increase from October 2020 and a 15% gain over October 2019:
“Atlantic City has effectively extended its momentum from the summer into the fall season. Five casino hotels surpassed their brick-and-mortar results from October 2019 and the other four were within striking distance,” said James Plousis, chairman of the New Jersey Casino Control Commission.
Internet gaming continues to flourish despite the strong return of retail play in Atlantic City. In fact, October set a new iGaming GGR record, as the interactive platforms won $127 million.
With revenue included from casino and horse racetrack sports betting, October ’21 GGR from all verticals totaled just shy of $448.7 million. That is $110.6 million better than last October.
New Jersey is once again at the top of the domestic sports betting world, having broken its own national record for revenues in October 2021. Last month, the NJ sports betting industry took in $1.3 billion in bets taken, surpassing the $1.01 billion the state’s casinos and race tracks had hit in September. Almost $1.2 billion of that $1.3 billion was wagered online, and over the course of 2021 so far New Jersey has taken in almost $8.5 billion with of sports bets:
“Sports betting has swelled with the start of the NFL season, and realized another month of over $1 billion in handle,” said Jane Bokunewicz, director of the Lloyd Levenson Institute at Stockton University, which studies the Atlantic City gambling industry. “October 2021′s record sports wagering handle proves that September was not a flash in the pan, but rather the first sign of a new level of sports betting participation, at least during the NFL season.”
Figures released Wednesday by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement show the casinos and tracks collectively won over $448 million in October, including in-person gambling, internet gambling and sports betting. That represents an increase of nearly 33% from October 2020.
Internet gambling accounted for $127 million, up almost 36% from a year ago, and sports betting revenue — after winning bets were paid out and other expenses accounted for — was $84.1 million, up nearly 44% from last October.
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