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Casinos Crap Out In New Jersey
September 12, 2022
A Superior Court judge has thrown out a state law granting Atlantic City’s casinos tens of millions of dollars in tax breaks, calling it a violation of the state’s constitution. The gaming industry sought the breaks, arguing that it was in dire straits because of the pandemic, and Gov. Phil Murphy and legislative leaders fast-tracked it into law. A conservative nonprofit challenged it, arguing that the constitution bars preferential tax treatment. The state maintained that the law was exempt from that prohibition because it served a “permissible public purpose.” Atlantic County Assignment Judge Michael Blee sided with the nonprofit, potentially increasing casinos’ tax bills and sending tens of millions of additional dollars into local coffers. The Press of Atlantic City and ProPublica reported in June that the casino industry was past whatever slump it experienced when it argued for tax relief. Financial reports show that revenue from in-person gambling has surpassed pre-pandemic levels.
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