Senate Passes Sweeney-Kyrillos Bill to Cut Red Tape, Create Casino Jobs in Atlantic City
Job-creating legislation sponsored by Senate President Steve Sweeney and Senator Joe Kyrillos (R-Monmouth) to encourage small-scale and boutique casinos to set up shop in Atlantic City has passed the New Jersey Senate.
“The closure of Atlantic City’s four largest casinos put nearly 8,000 residents out of work and far too many are still struggling to get back on their feet,” Senator Kyrillos said. “Cutting red tape is critical to encouraging boutique casino owners to invest in Atlantic City. By passing this legislation, we can shore up the city’s fragile economy, put hardworking locals back to work, and generate huge benefits for New Jersey taxpayers.”
The bill, S-971, creates a pilot program modifying certain requirements for licenses issued under small-scale and staged casino facilities. The bill cuts red tape by permitting small-scale casinos to be located in renovated or newly constructed buildings, instead of a staged casino facility.
Under the bill, an owner of a small-scale Atlantic City casino must deposit 5 percent of gross revenue annually to a fund controlled by the State Treasurer. To encourage economic growth, those funds can be used by the casino to expand operations. Funds that are not used for this purpose within five years of licensure will be expended to fund infrastructure improvements to better the welfare of Atlantic City.
“As much of the shore community continues to recover from Superstorm Sandy, this bill will also require any new boutique casino facility to complete flood-prevention efforts,” Senator Kyrillos added. “This essential component will ensure all new casinos are prepared for future storms.”
S-971 would require any new facility to secure a permit pursuant to the Coastal Area Facility Review Act and adhere to regulations implemented by the Casino Control Commission.
Current law defines a small-scale or “boutique” casino as a facility consisting of not more than 24,000 square feet of casino space and not less than 200 qualified sleeping units qualifies for the “small scale casino license.”
This bill now awaits action in the Assembly.