Atlantic City’s casino industry has set a remarkable record by contributing a staggering $504 million in taxes and fees during the last fiscal year. This substantial funding plays a crucial role in supporting essential programs for vulnerable residents across the state of New Jersey.
Established in 1976, the Casino Revenue Fund channels state revenues from casino gambling into critical services for eligible senior citizens and disabled residents. These services cover reductions in property taxes, utility charges, and additional health and transportation services.
In the 2023-24 state budget, over $436.6 million from the fund was allocated to the Community Care Program Individual Support. This initiative provides vital services like household chores assistance and self-care training to residents in state-licensed facilities.
Moreover, NJ Transit received more than $38.9 million from the fund, specifically for its Senior Citizens and Disabled Residents Transportation Assistance Program. This program is essential for seniors and people with disabilities, offering county-coordinated transportation for non-emergency medical trips, shopping, and nutrition.
The fund, which has experienced fluctuations over its history, reached a low point of $205.9 million in 2015. However, the reopening of casinos, the legalization of sports betting, and the growth of online gaming have revitalized the fund. Internet gaming, in particular, has significantly boosted tax revenue, with a 15% tax rate compared to 8% on slots and tables revenue.
While concerns exist about tax outflow from the city and South Jersey, Mayor Marty Small Sr.’s administration is actively exploring new revenue avenues for Atlantic City. Despite not directly receiving funding from casino taxes, the city benefits from a $2 fee per occupied casino hotel room, generating millions in revenue. This surcharge, implemented in March 2022, has already contributed over $3.8 million this year, primarily allocated to enhancing public safety.
In the backdrop of concerns, Jane Bokunewicz, director of the Lloyd D. Levenson Institute of Gaming, Hospitality, and Tourism at Stockton University, emphasizes the importance of supporting the casino industry’s internet gaming efforts to sustain this vital revenue stream. The positive trend in New Jersey’s gambling sector, marked by robust growth in August, indicates a promising future for the state’s gambling industry.