AC's Low Gambling Taxes a Lost Opportunity?May 9, 2017 11:08 am
Last year, New Jersey’s casinos paid just $237 million in gambling taxes, a figure significantly lower than the amounts paid in other US states, with Atlantic City’s gambling venues benefitting from a low tax rate of just 8% on gross gaming revenue, plus a further 1.25% as a community investment alternative obligation.
Compare that figure, for instance, to those casinos in neighboring Pennsylvania which paid a whopping $1.379 billion in gambling taxes in 2016, having been subjected to a 55% tax on slot machines, and a 16% tax on table games. The story is repeated in many of the other gambling markets in the region, with Maryland collecting $452.9 million in casino taxes last year (20% table games, 50-61% VLTs), and New York casinos paying $888 million, having been taxed at a rate of between 31-41%.
Many advocates have spoken out in favor of AC’s low gambling tax rates, though, and have highlighted the necessity of providing extra support for casino operators who are required to offer hotel accommodation with at least 500 rooms in order to help the city in its aim of becoming an all round tourist destination. One such advocate is Michael Pollock from Spectrum Gaming Group, who stated:
“I think it’s right with a single-digit tax rate. It’s an enormous competitive advantage to the state to both existing and potential properties.”
Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo has also pointed out that increasing the casino tax rate at a time when the City is only just beginning to recover from hard times would not constitute a prudent move for the industry.
Those on the other side of the argument, however, are more concerned about lost opportunities, with Assemblyman Chris Brown, who in 2015 led a drive to revise AC’s gambling tax law, explaining:
“I simply believe casinos should pay their fair share of taxes to ensure we don’t place an additional, unfair tax burden on our working families.”