New Jersey governor signs casino and VLT legislation

Governor Jon S. Corzine signed a bill that will keep video lottery terminals out of New Jersey horse tracks for three years while requiring resort casinos to annually pay USD 30 million to horse racing interests.

The bill also establishes a casino tax credit on bonuses several casinos give to players that can only be used at those casinos. While the casinos currently pay an eight percent casino gross revenue tax on them, the bill caps the tax on the first USD 90 million.

Casinos are not eligible for the credit until the Casino Control Commission and the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority certify the casinos have signed off on the annual USD 30 million payments.

The bill was designed to encourage casinos to spend more on marketing as the resort casinos reported slumping revenue in 11 of the previous 12 months, down 9.9 percent to USD 395 million in March.

Casinos have long fought off VLTs – essentially slot machines – saying they would siphon off customers. The deal comes as a similar USD 86 million deal inked in 2004 expired at the end of December. Eight lawmakers sponsored the bill, locally including Senator Jim Whelan, and Assemblymen John J. Burzichelli and Douglas H. Fisher.