The Greater Atlantic City Chamber would like to voice our opposition to bill S854, sponsored by state Senator Troy Singleton, which would divert 1.25% tax on sports betting that currently goes to the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority for marketing and promotion of the City of Atlantic City. The bill would instead earmark that tax money for Atlantic City taxpayers. Singleton estimates 1.25% would generate approximately $2 million per year for Atlantic City property tax relief and reduce the amount the city is required to raise by property tax levy.

A study should be conducted to better understand the tax rate in Atlantic City and what can be done to alleviate the burden on residents.  The Greater Atlantic City Chamber has long supported the use of research and transparency prior to the allocation of resources to best understand the impact of proposed legislation.

In addition, the tourism and hospitality industry is still recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic.  According to the 2020 Economic Impact of Tourism in New Jersey, New Jersey is not anticipated to return to 2019 levels of visitation until 2024.  Visitors create significant economic value and support jobs in sectors like recreation, transportation, food and beverage, utilities, wholesalers, and many more.  Furthermore, the Summer 2021 edition of the South Jersey Economic Review released by Stockton University, the hospitality sector, which includes hotels and accommodations, remains central to Atlantic City’s economy. The sector’s share of Atlantic City’s GDP is five times greater than its share of statewide GDP.  Reallocating approximately $2 million from an underfunded marketing budget will negatively impact the tourism industry which is the 11th largest employer sector in the state.

The Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism and Historic Preservation Committee advanced the bill on March 24.  The state should seek impact studies of this legislation before advancing the bill any further.  There are too many unanswered questions.

For these reasons, the Greater Atlantic City Chamber urges you to oppose S854 (Singleton).