CANJ President: Economic Aid And Relief Bills ‘Critical’

The President of the Casino Association New Jersey (CANJ) Steve Callender released a statement on behalf of the association asking for economic recovery and relief measures to be approved ‘as quickly as possible’ by the Atlantic City.

Callender stated that the introduction of S2400 (Senate bill) and S2398 (Companion bill) in the Senate and A4032 and A4031 in the Assembly was ‘critical to ensure our industry and its thousands of employees have a path forward once we are through this pandemic.’ In March, the US Senate passed a $2tn coronavirus aid bill, the largest economic stimulus in US history. The almost 900-page bill is about half the size of the current budget for the US budgets.

The bill provides cash grants of £1,200 to people making $75,000 or less and an extra $500 per child, an extension of unemployment aid, $500bn fund to support companies, $350bn in loans to small businesses and $100bn for hospitals and pandemic-fighting health systems.

The statement declared:

“The COVID-19 pandemic is the greatest health threat of our lifetime. This crisis has caused an unimaginable loss of life and devastated our state and local economy.

“Atlantic City casinos and hotels have been closed since March 16, and once we reopen and start to recover, we know that there is a long road ahead of us and our employees. This legislation will help stabilise this vital industry, support the safe reopening of our properties, and help us welcome back employees and guests as soon as New Jersey’s stay-at-home order is lifted.

“This legislation will also help us resume our purchases from New Jersey vendors, as well as the tax payments that are based on casino revenue and employment.”

Callender continued to articulate the importance of the gaming industry and underlined the “significant contribution” it has made over the years to the state and local economies.

He went on to add: “Until the recent closure of our casinos, the New Jersey casino industry directly employed over 26,000 people, hosted more than 25 million annual visitors, and in 2019, paid nearly $500m in local, county, and state taxes.

“According to the American Gaming Association, New Jersey’s casino industry annual tax impact to state and local governments is over $1bn, and its total economic impact across the state of New Jersey is $6.45bn.

“We are proud of our track record of giving back to the communities we serve. We are invested in our city, which is why all of our casinos have been making donations to local organisations. Our industry also proudly supports New Jersey businesses by supporting local vendors, donating millions in financial resources and volunteering with local charities.

“We urge legislators to recognise the gaming industry’s significant contributions to New Jersey’s economic recovery and pass this economic relief package as quickly as possible.”