Bill Text: NJ A4032 | 2020-2021 | Regular Session | Amended


Bill Title: Provides temporary modifications to payment and use of certain casino gaming taxes and fees; permanently redifines promotional gaming credits to include certain coupons and table game wagers; requires priority funding for senior and disabled transporation services.*

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 4-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2020-09-24 - Substituted by S2400 (3R) [A4032 Detail]

Download: New_Jersey-2020-A4032-Amended.html

[First Reprint]

ASSEMBLY, No. 4032

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

219th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED MAY 4, 2020

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblyman  LOUIS D. GREENWALD

District 6 (Burlington and Camden)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Provides temporary modifications to payment and use of certain casino gaming taxes and fees; permanently redefines promotional gaming credits to include certain coupons and table game wagers; requires priority funding for senior and disabled transportation services.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As reported by the Assembly Budget Committee on September 21, 2020, with amendments.

 


An Act concerning temporary modifications to the payment and use of certain casino gaming taxes and fees due to 1the1 COVID-19 Public Health Emergency and State of Emergency, 1[and]1 permanent modifications to the types 1[and taxation]1 of promotional gaming credits 1, and priority funding for certain programs funded from the Casino Revenue Fund,1 and amending P.L.2008, c.12 1and P.L.1983, c.5781.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     11.  The Legislature finds and declares that:

     a. Due to the months-long required shut-down of all New Jersey casinos pursuant to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency and State of Emergency declared by the Governor in Executive Order No. 103 of 2020, and thereafter a restricted reopening pursuant to the Governor's subsequent Executive Orders, and a majority of the general public's declination to take part in any indoor activity, a catastrophic and unprecedented economic contraction has devastated the regional economy of Atlantic City and surrounding regions causing historic layoffs and economic destruction that will have significant negative and long lasting impacts on casino employees and Atlantic County residents.

     b.    The Atlantic City casino industry, one of the largest employers in New Jersey, provides critical revenue to State, county, and local governments for the support of multiple Statewide social programs providing a safety net for senior citizens and the most vulnerable New Jersey residents.

     c.  Declining attendance and gaming revenue at Atlantic City's brick and mortar casinos and hotels has drastically cut once reliable revenues and projected revenue forecasts, and forced the casino industry to halve their direct employee labor force from an approximate count of 25,000 direct employees to roughly 12,500 direct employees, a sharp reduction of approximately 50 percent.

     d.  United States Bureau of Labor Statistics data show that the unemployment rate for the Atlantic City-Hammonton metropolitan region for the month of June 2020 more than doubled New Jersey's statewide unemployment rate, is by far the highest unemployment rate of any metropolitan region in the State, and empirically establishes that the employees and residents of Atlantic City are the most negatively impacted by this severe economic crisis of all New Jersey residents.

     e.  Due to the continued restrictions on indoor dining, indoor sale of alcoholic beverages, and indoor entertainment, casinos do not have the sufficient demand for services required to support the

rehiring of direct staff at 100 percent pre-COVID-19 levels, and economic forecasts continue to project substantial financial decline in the coming months and beyond until there is a safe, reliable, and available vaccine.

     f.  Due to the limitations on indoor gatherings, Atlantic City will not host annual conferences, meetings, or conventions during the Fall season, which has historically provided casinos revenue to retain employees following the peak Summer tourism season. The collapse of the convention industry will ultimately lead to additional layoffs and increased financial strain felt by all casinos, restaurants, hotels and supporting industries in the region.

     g.  Competing casinos in states bordering New Jersey currently allow for indoor dining and the sale of alcoholic beverages, which provides a much more complete, enjoyable and entertaining experience for attendees, which places Atlantic City casinos at a competitive disadvantage.

     h.  On March 1, 2020, Atlantic City casino hotels directly employed approximately 25,000 individuals and indirectly employed individuals in supporting industries such as food and beverage, entertainment, hotels, motels, and transient accommodations.

     i.  On March 1, 2020, total gaming revenue for Atlantic City casinos for February 2020 was $275,078,000, which was 18.4 percent greater than total gaming revenue reported for February 2019, and total year-to-date gaming revenue through February 2020 was $545,430,000, which represented a 20.4 percent increase from February 2019.

     j.  On March 1, 2020, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics released data for February 2020 that showed the Atlantic City-Hammonton metropolitan area unemployment rate at 6.4 percent, while the overall statewide unemployment rate for New Jersey stood at 3.8 percent.

     k.  On March 1, 2020, total toll-paying traffic on the Atlantic City Expressway at the Pleasantville Toll Plaza for February 2020 was 1,479,501 vehicles, which represented a 9.4 percent increase from February 2019, and total year-to-date toll-paying traffic of 2,938,407 vehicles through February 2020, which represented an 8.3 percent increase from the same period in 2019.

     l.  On March 1, 2020, total air passengers at Atlantic City International Airport for February 2020 was 103,838, which represented a 3.9 percent increase from February 2019, and total year-to-date 202,568 air passengers through February 2020, which represented an 1.8 percent increase from the same period in 2019.

     m.  On June 1, 2020, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics released data for May 2020 that showed the Atlantic City-Hammonton metropolitan area unemployment rate at 32.5 percent, while the overall statewide unemployment rate for New Jersey stood at 15.4 percent.

     n.  On June 1, 2020, total gaming revenue for Atlantic City casinos for May 2020 was $91,160,148, which was 65.8 percent less than total gaming revenue reported for May 2019, and total year-to-date gaming revenue through May 2020 was $874,087,341, which represented a 29.7 percent decrease from the same period in 2019.

     o.  On June 1, 2020, total toll-paying traffic on the Atlantic City Expressway at the Pleasantville Toll Plaza for May 2020 was 666,475 vehicles, which represented a 61.2 percent decrease from May 2019, and total year-to-date toll-paying traffic of 4,992,665 vehicles through May 2020, which represented a 34.3 percent decrease from the same period in 2019.

     p. On June 1, 2020, total air passengers at Atlantic City International Airport for May 2020 was 5,608, which represented a 94 percent decrease from May 2019, and total year-to-date 276,014 air passengers through April 2020, which represented a 47.1 percent decrease from the same period in 2019.

     q.  The COVID-19 pandemic and consequent business closures has clearly not just reversed the consistent track of economic improvement that the Atlantic City casino industry had worked very hard to achieve over the last several years, but has also set back the economy of an entire region that is greatly dependent on the jobs, tourism spending and purchases that the Atlantic City casinos generate. 

     r.  From April 29, 2020 to the present, the Legislature and the Governor have continued to seek ways to restart the State's economy and recover from the financial problems resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

     s.  It is necessary for the State to take action to ensure the continued viability of the Atlantic City region's financial condition and to assist the region's population in dealing with the financial and economic problems resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic through critical State government programs and the immediate passage of legislation to directly assist the Atlantic City region and its residents, who continue to struggle to survive this historic financial and health crisis, and for a population that faces an unemployment rate more than double that of any other metropolitan region in the entire State of New Jersey.1

 

      1[1.] 2.1    a. Notwithstanding the provisions of the "Casino Control Act," P.L.1977, c.110 (C.5:12-1 et seq.), or any law, rule, or regulation to the contrary, any license or other fee imposed on a casino licensee required to be deposited in the Casino Control Fund established by section 143 of P.L.1977, c.110 (C.5:12-143), other than as provided under subsections b. and c. of this section, shall be deferred during the period the licensee's casino hotel facility remains closed due to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency and State of Emergency declared by the Governor in Executive Order No. 103 of 2020, and during the six-month period immediately following the date that the casinos are permitted to reopen after the declarations. The amounts deferred shall be paid by each casino licensee in equal monthly installments over the 12-month period following the deferment period.

     b.    The annual license fee of $500 imposed under section 140 of P.L.1977, c.110 (C.5:12-140) on each slot machine maintained for use or in use at a licensed casino establishment, and that fee imposed on a pro-rata basis, shall be 1[waived] reimbursed1 from July 1, 2020 through 1[June 30, 2021] October 30, 20201, inclusive. If a fee due on July 1, 2020, or a pro-rata fee, is paid by a casino licensee on each slot machine maintained for use or in use during that period, the licensee shall receive a reimbursement of that fee within 30 days following the effective date of this act, P.L.    , c.     (pending before the Legislature as this bill).  

     c.     This section shall not apply to any fees imposed on a casino licensee or its Internet gaming affiliate for the issuance or renewal of any Internet gaming license or permit under section 27 of P.L.2013, c.27 (C.5:12-95.29), or any amounts required to be deposited in the Casino Control Fund under section 22 of P.L.2013, c.27 (5:12-95.24).

    

     1[2.] 3.1     Notwithstanding the provisions of the "Casino Control Act," P.L.1977, c.110 (C.5:12-1 et seq.), or any law, rule, or regulation to the contrary, any surplus funds held by the Division of Gaming Enforcement in the Casino Control Fund, or held by the division due to an overpayment of the investment alternative tax imposed pursuant to section 3 of P.L.1984, c.218 (C.5:12-144.1) in the case of a downward adjustment of a casino licensee's audited gross revenues, shall be returned to each casino licensee in proportion to the licensee's share of the surplus or overpayment, if any, within five business days following the effective date of this act, P.L.    , c.      (pending before the Legislature as this bill), and then, for the six months following the effective date of this act, within 30 days following the end of each fiscal quarter, to mitigate the impacts on the casino licensee due to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency and State of Emergency declared by the Governor in Executive Order No. 103 of 2020.

    

     1[3.  Notwithstanding the provisions of the "Casino Control Act," P.L.1977, c.110 (C.5:12-1 et seq.), section 7 of P.L.1996, c.118 (C.5:12-173.3a), and sections 2 and 3 of P.L.1993, c.159 (C.5:12-173.2 and C.5:12-173.3), the  minimum charge for and minimum fee imposed upon the use of a parking space for the purpose of parking, garaging, or storing a motor vehicle in a parking facility or property owned or leased by a licensed casino hotel, or by any person on behalf of a casino hotel, shall not be in effect and shall not be collected from the period beginning on the date that the casinos are permitted to reopen after the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency and State of Emergency declarations, and ending on the first day of the 25th month thereafter.

     The Casino Reinvestment Development Authority may use or redirect any funds under its purview, notwithstanding that such funds may be dedicated to other purposes, to replace the amounts from the minimum charge or fee for the payment of any bonds secured by proceeds from such charges or fees.]1

 

     1[4.  Notwithstanding the provisions of the "Casino Control Act," P.L.1977, c.110 (C.5:12-1 et seq.), section 6 of P.L.2003, c.116 (C.5:12-145.8), or any other law, rule, or regulation to the contrary, the fee of $3 per day imposed on each hotel room in a casino hotel facility that is occupied by a guest, for consideration or as a complimentary item, shall be waived commencing on the effective date of this act, P.L.    , c.    (pending before the Legislature as this bill) through December 31, 2020.  The fee shall be imposed again commencing January 1, 2021 and thereafter. The Casino Reinvestment Development Authority may use or redirect any funds under its purview, notwithstanding that such funds may be dedicated to other purposes, to replace the amounts from the hotel room fee for the payment of any bonds secured by the fee's proceeds.]1

 

     1[5. Notwithstanding the provisions of P.L.1991, c.376 (C.40:48-8.45 et seq.), or any other law, rule, or regulation to the contrary, the fee of $2 per day for each occupied room in the case of any hotel in the eligible municipality which provides casino gaming, and the fee of $1 per day for each occupied room in the case of the other hotels or transient accommodations in the eligible municipality shall be

waived commencing on the effective date of this act, P.L.    , c.    (pending before the Legislature as this bill) through December 31, 2020.  The fees shall be imposed again commencing January 1, 2021 and thereafter.]1

 

     1[6.] 4.1  a. Notwithstanding the provisions of the "Casino Control Act," P.L.1977, c.110 (C.5:12-1 et seq.), or any law, rule, or regulation to the contrary, a casino licensee reopening a casino property following the property's closure due to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency and State of Emergency declarations issued by the Governor under Executive Order No. 103 of 2020, shall be entitled during the 1[twenty-four-month] 12-month1 period commencing on the date that the casinos are permitted to reopen after the declarations and ending on the last day of the 1[24th] 12th1 month thereafter to receive a reduction in their tax liability on the 8 percent tax on gross revenues, as that term is defined in section 24 of P.L.1977, c.110 (C.5:12-24) and imposed under section 144 of P.L.1977, c.110 (C.5:12-144) 1[, and on the investment alternative tax on such gross revenues imposed under section 3 of P.L.1984, c.218 (C.5:12-144.1)]1. The reduced tax liability required to be provided under this act, P.L.   , c.   (pending before the Legislature as this bill), shall be calculated in accordance with subsection b. of this section, and shall be subject to the provisions specified under subsection c. of this section.

     b.    A casino licensee reopening a casino property following its closure due to the emergency declarations as provided under subsection a. of this section shall be entitled to a reduction of the licensee's gross revenues tax 1[and investment alternative tax liabilities] liability1 on a monthly basis, which obligations shall be calculated subject to rounding, as follows: 

     (1)   for each calendar month in which the gross revenues are less than 25 percent of the gross revenues for the same calendar month immediately prior to March 1, 2020, the gross revenues tax 1[and investment alternative tax obligations] obligation1 shall be zero 1[for each tax]1;

     (2)   for each calendar month in which the gross revenues are at least 25 percent and not more than 49 percent of the gross revenues for the same calendar month immediately prior to March 1, 2020, the gross revenues tax 1[and investment alternative tax obligations] obligation1 shall be 25 percent of the full 1[amounts] amount1 that would normally be due 1[for each tax]1;

     (3)   for each calendar month in which the gross revenues are at least 50 percent and not more than 74 percent of the gross revenues for the same calendar month immediately prior to March 1, 2020, the gross revenues tax 1[and investment alternative tax obligations] obligation1 shall be 50 percent of the full 1[amounts] amount1 that would normally be due 1[for each tax]1; and

     (4)   for each calendar month in which the gross revenues are at least 75 percent and not more than 99 percent of the gross revenues for the same calendar month immediately prior to March 1, 2020, the gross revenues tax 1[and investment alternative tax obligations] obligation1 shall be 75 percent of the full 1[amounts] amount1 that would normally be due 1[for each tax]1.

     The reductions in the tax liabilities enumerated under paragraphs (1) through (4) of this subsection shall not apply in each calendar month in which the gross revenues are 100 percent or more of the gross revenues for the same calendar month immediately prior to March 1, 2020, in which case the gross revenues tax 1[and investment alternative tax obligations] obligation1 shall be the full 1[amounts] amount1 that would normally be due 1[for each tax]1

     c.     Each casino licensee entitled to receive a reduction in their tax liability under this section shall submit to the State Treasurer and the Division of Gaming Enforcement, at the same time that the reduced tax payments are made, a report documenting that an amount equal to the entire dollar amount reduced under this act that was not subject to collection by the State is being expended by the licensee for any of the following purposes:

     (1)   the prompt re-hiring and employment of the casino licensee's former employees and new applicants 1, which shall include a certification by each casino licensee that the licensee has made a good faith effort to rehire former and new employees commensurate with an increase in business activity1;

     (2)   attracting tourists, gaming, and hospitality patrons to visit and stay at the casino hotel property;

     (3)   marketing and promotion for events that would draw visitors to the property or Atlantic City, such as entertainment and conventions; and

     (4)   any other activity deemed by the State Treasurer or the division to be beneficial to the return of pre-emergency economic, gaming, and tourism levels to Atlantic City.

     A casino licensee's failure to submit the report required under this subsection shall deem the licensee ineligible to receive the reduced tax liabilities under this act.

 

     1[7.] 5.1     Section 1 of P.L.2008, c.12 (C.5:12-38a) is amended to read as follows:

     1.    "Promotional gaming credit" - A slot machine credit, sports wagering credit, match play coupon, table game wager coupon, or other item approved by the division that is issued by a licensee to a patron for the purpose of enabling the placement of a wager at a slot machine, a gaming table, or in a sports pool in the licensee's casino or through the licensee's Internet gaming system. No such credit shall be reported as a promotional gaming credit unless the casino licensee can establish that the credit was issued by the casino licensee and received from a patron as a wager at a slot machine, a gaming table, or in a sports pool in the licensee's casino or Internet gaming system.

(cf: P.L.2018, c.33, s.13)

 

     1[8.  Section 2 of P.L.2008, c.12 (C.5:12-144.2) is amended to read as follows:

     2.    a.   A casino licensee shall receive [an annual] a deduction from the gross revenue taxed pursuant to subsection a. of section 144 of P.L.1977, c.110 (C.5:12-144) in an amount equal to [either (1)] the promotional gaming credits, including match play coupons and table game wager coupons, reported by that licensee [in its annual tax return or (2) such other portion of the promotional gaming credits reported by all casino licensees as the division may allocate to a particular licensee to reflect that licensee's pro rata share of the costs of the 2008 agreement executed between the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority and the Casino Association of New Jersey for the benefit of the horse racing industry].

     b.    [Casino licensees] A casino licensee shall be allowed a deduction from gross revenues [for a tax year] pursuant to subsection a. of this section for the total value of promotional gaming credits, match play coupons, and table game wager coupons redeemed by its patrons [at all licensed casinos for that tax year in excess of $90,000,000. For the first tax year in which this act becomes operative pursuant to section 3 of this act, P.L.2008, c.12, the division shall reduce the $90,000,000 deduction threshold for that tax year in proportion to the part of the tax year that has elapsed prior to that operative date].

     c.     [The division shall establish, by regulation, procedures and standards for allocating the deduction established pursuant to this section to reflect each licensee's pro rata share of the costs of the 2008 agreement executed between the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority and the Casino Association of New Jersey for the benefit of the horse racing industry and procedures and standards for each licensee to take the deduction established pursuant to this section to reflect those deductions that exceed the costs of the 2008 agreement. Such regulations shall include standards for the allocation of the $90,000,000 deduction threshold established in subsection b. of this section, the timing of the application of deductions, and all other matters related to the provisions of this section.] (Deleted by amendment, P.L.   , c.   ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill)  

     d.    [(1)    The division shall establish, by regulation, procedures to ensure that the promotional gaming credit deduction established pursuant to this section does not result in a negative fiscal impact to the Casino Revenue Fund. If necessary, the division may reduce the value of the available deduction to eliminate any negative fiscal impact to the Casino Revenue Fund attributable solely to the deduction and not to other economic or other factors that cause a negative fiscal impact to the Casino Revenue Fund.

     (2)   For the purposes of this subsection, "negative fiscal impact to the Casino Revenue Fund" shall mean that the amount generated from taxation of promotional gaming credits falls below the level generated in calendar year 2007.] (Deleted by amendment, P.L.   , c.   ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill)  

(cf: P.L.2011, c.19, s.100)]1

 

     1[9.  Notwithstanding the provisions of the "Casino Control Act," P.L.1977, c.110 (C.5:12-1 et seq.), or any law, rule, or regulation to the contrary, the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, established under P.L.1984, c.218 (C.5:12-153 et seq.), shall commit any available funds in that agency's general fund to the purpose of undertaking a marketing campaign to assist in returning Atlantic City's tourism and gaming activities to their levels prior to the Public Health Emergency and State of Emergency declarations issued by the Governor under Executive Order No. 103 of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Casino Reinvestment Development Authority shall include input from the casino industry in developing the marketing campaign required to be conducted under this section which shall commence immediately upon the effective date of this act, P.L.   , c.    (pending before the Legislature as this bill), and shall continue through June 30, 2021. Nothing in this section shall be interpreted to impair the distribution of any funds otherwise committed under this act, statutorily obligated or pledged by the authority for other purposes, the payment of bonds issued by it or otherwise contractually obligated by the authority, or any bonds issued to refund those bonds.]1

 

     16.  Notwithstanding the provisions of section 2 of P.L.2008, c.12 (C.5:12-144.2), and any other law, rule, or regulation to the contrary, a casino licensee reopening a casino property following the property's closure due to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency and State of Emergency declarations issued by the Governor under Executive Order No. 103 of 2020 shall be entitled during the 12-month period commencing on the date that the casinos are permitted to reopen after the declarations and ending on the last day of the 12th month thereafter to receive a monthly deduction from the gross revenue taxed pursuant to subsection a. of section 144 of P.L.1977, c.110 (C.5:12-144) in an amount equal to the full amount of promotional gaming credits, including match play coupons and table game wager coupons, reported each month by that licensee. The $90,000,000 threshold specified under section 2 of P.L.2008, c.12 (C.5:12-144.2) shall not apply during the 12-month period specified under this section.1

 

     17.  No casino operator shall use funds or savings resulting from P.L. , c. (pending before the Legislature as this bill) to repurchase stock or stock options, or to provide for bonuses for any officer or employee.1

 

     1[10.] 8.1   Nothing in this act, P.L.    , c.    (pending before the Legislature as this bill) shall affect the tax liabilities imposed on any amount received by a casino from casino simulcasting pursuant to the "Casino Simulcasting Act," P.L.1992, c.19 (C.5:12-191 et al.), from Internet gaming pursuant to section 17 of P.L.2013, c.27 (C.5:12-95.19), or from sports wagering pursuant to P.L.2018, c.33 (C.5:12A-10 et al.).

     19.  Section 4 of P.L.1983, c.578 (C.27:25-28) is amended to read as follows:

     4.  a.  The board shall establish and administer a program to be known as "The Senior Citizen and Disabled Resident Transportation Assistance Program" for the following purposes:

     (1)   To assist counties to develop and provide accessible feeder transportation service to accessible fixed-route transportation services where such services are available, and accessible local transit service to senior citizens and the disabled, which may include but not be limited to door-to-door service, fixed route service, local fare subsidy, and user-side subsidy, which may include but not be limited to private ride or taxi fare subsidy; and to coordinate the activities of the various participants in this program in providing the services to be rendered at the county level and between counties; and

      (2)  To enable the corporation to develop, provide and maintain capital improvements that afford accessibility to fixed route and other transit services in order to make rail cars, rail stations, bus shelters and other bus equipment accessible to senior citizens and the disabled; to render technical information and assistance to counties eligible for assistance under this act; and to coordinate the program within and among counties.

     b.    In the State fiscal year beginning July 1 following the effective date of P.L.2009, c.261 and in each fiscal year thereafter, there shall be appropriated to the corporation from the revenues deposited in the Casino Revenue Fund established pursuant to section 145 of P.L.1977, c.110 (C.5:12-145) a sum equal to 8.5% of the revenues deposited in the fund during the preceding fiscal year, as determined by the State Treasurer, to effectuate the purposes and provisions of P.L.1983, c.578 (C.27:25-25 et seq.).

     Notwithstanding the provisions of any other law, rule, or regulation to the contrary, for the State Fiscal Year 2021, appropriations to the corporation from the revenues deposited in the Casino Revenue Fund shall be given priority to ensure that the corporation receives an amount equal to 8.5% of the revenues deposited in the fund during the State Fiscal Year 2019, as determined by the State Treasurer, to effectuate the purposes and provisions of P.L.1983, c.578 (C.27:25-25 et seq.).1

(cf: P.L.2009, c.261, s.1)

 

     1[11.] 10.1  This act shall take effect immediately.

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