Atlantic City’s casino industry contributed a staggering $504 million in taxes and fees during the last fiscal year, marking a record amount that is pivotal in supporting various programs for vulnerable residents across the state.
Casino Revenue Fund Empowers New Jersey’s Vulnerable Residents
The Casino Revenue Fund, established in 1976, was designed to channel state revenues from casino gambling into essential services for eligible senior citizens and disabled residents, covering reductions in property taxes, utility charges, and additional health and transportation services.
In the latest 2023-24 state budget, more than $436.6 million from the fund was allocated to the Community Care Program Individual Support, reported The Press of Atlantic City. This initiative provides crucial services like household chores assistance and self-care training to residents in state-licensed facilities.
Additionally, NJ Transit received over $38.9 million from the fund, specifically for its Senior Citizens and Disabled Residents Transportation Assistance Program. This program is vital for seniors and people with disabilities, offering county-coordinated transportation for non-emergency medical trips, shopping, and nutrition, acting as a lifeline for their daily needs.
The fund’s history has seen fluctuations, reaching a low point of $205.9 million in 2015 due to the economic downturn and the closure of several casinos. However, the reopening of casinos, coupled with legalized sports betting and the growth of online gaming, has revitalized the fund. Internet gaming, in particular, has significantly boosted tax revenue, with a 15% tax rate on internet gaming compared to 8% on slots and tables revenue.
Atlantic City Pursues New Revenue Avenues Despite Concerns Over Tax Outflow
Jane Bokunewicz, director of the Lloyd D. Levenson Institute of Gaming, Hospitality, and Tourism at Stockton University, emphasized the importance of supporting the casino industry’s internet gaming efforts to sustain this vital revenue stream.
While concerns have been raised by local officials about the outflow of tax revenue from the city and South Jersey, Mayor Marty Small Sr.’s administration continues to explore avenues to bring more revenue to Atlantic City. Although the city does not receive direct funding from casino taxes, it benefits from a $2 fee per occupied casino hotel room, generating millions in revenue.
This surcharge, which came into effect in March 2022, has already contributed more than $3.8 million this year, primarily allocated to enhancing public safety. At the same time, New Jersey’s gambling industry experienced robust growth in August, surpassing the previous year’s results. Casino revenues remained stable with a modest increase, while internet gaming and sports betting showed significant growth, marking a positive trend for the state’s gambling sector.
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