The Chamber of Commerce Southern New Jersey (CCSNJ) would like to express our support of S-2398 (Sweeney/Brown), which requires the State Treasurer to allow for loans to casino gaming properties to assist in making the required payments in lieu of property taxes to Atlantic City amid the COVID-19 crisis.
The CCSNJ commends Senate President Sweeney and Senator Chris Brown for their leadership on this important bill that, if implemented, would assist in providing extra funding to one of the most critical industries in New Jersey - the gaming industry. Before the pandemic, Atlantic City casinos directly employed more than 26,000 people and gaming revenue was up approximately 23 percent in 2020. However, that drastically changed on March 16 when Governor Murphy closed all casinos as the coronavirus pandemic’s impact quickly approached New Jersey.
According to the Spring 2020 edition of The South Jersey Economic Review released by Stockton University on April 21, the economic output lost during the casino shutdown is only a portion of the problem. Deemed the “COVID-19 drag” the gaming and hospitality industries are slated to have an elongated operational strain due to the need for spacing and capacity issues.
This simply adds to the urgency of S-2398 (Sweeney/Brown) passage. This above issue combine with the importance of the gaming industry as an economic driver for the South Jersey region and state as a whole makes S-2398 (Sweeney/Brown) an undeniable necessity. As written, this legislation will help stabilize the gaming industry, and therefore Atlantic City, as well as the region, which is vital to helping our state and local economies rebuild and recover from the COVID-19 crisis. For these reasons, the CCSNJ respectfully urges the Committee to support S-2398 (Sweeney/Brown).