You may get more ‘free play’ in N.J. sports betting after Murphy OKs new tax breaks

You may get more ‘free play’ in N.J. sports betting after Murphy OKs new tax breaks

@River, Nj-Casinos

1/25/2022 5:53:00 PM

You may get more ‘free play’ in N.J. sports betting after Murphy OKs new tax breaks

Gov. Murphy signed a bill to allow New Jersey casinos and racetracks to deduct promotional gaming credits from their tax returns.

The gaming credits bill passed during the lame duck session that ended when the new Legislature was sworn in earlier this month. Murphy signed it on Jan. 18.“Part of the reason this is needed is because of what the physical brick-and-mortar casinos and racetracks went through the last two years during the pandemic,” Pascrell said. “It’s good for customers because they get the promotional gaming credit, and it’s good for the casinos and racetracks because they get the tax deduction.”

A-4002,From D.C. to Trenton to your town, the N.J. Politics newsletter brings the news right to your inbox. Sign up with your email here:There are some 30 casino online companies affiliated with the state’s casinos and racetracks that will benefit from the new law.

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Phil Murphy signed a bill giving their sports lounges a tax break on credits used to entice gamblers. Though the new law applies only to brick-and-mortar sports books, it allows online operators linked to New Jersey racetracks to get the same tax relief as sports books attached to casinos. The gaming credits bill passed during the lame duck session that ended when the new Legislature was sworn in earlier this month. Murphy signed it on Jan. 18. Online operators, like Points Bet, an Australian online gaming company with U.S. headquarters in Jersey City and Denver, Colorado, pushed heavily for the bill. Points Bet offers a global online sports book and is affiliated with the Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford. Trenton lobbyist Bill Pascrell, III, of Princeton Public Affairs Group, who was retained by Points Bet to get the bill passed, said the new law helps racetracks and casinos to absorb the pain of the nearly 2-year old pandemic, where 92 percent of every sports bet was placed online and not physically in person. “Part of the reason this is needed is because of what the physical brick-and-mortar casinos and racetracks went through the last two years during the pandemic,” Pascrell said. “It’s good for customers because they get the promotional gaming credit, and it’s good for the casinos and racetracks because they get the tax deduction.” With many New Jersey casinos and racetracks utilizing tax deductable promotional gaming credits to attract new sports betting participants, sponsors say it was only fair that online gaming operators are given the same opportunity. The measure, A-4002, allows them to deduct what’s known as promotional gaming credits from their annual gross sports wagering revenue on tax returns. How do credits work? For example, if you go online, sign up for an account and deposit $250, then the online casino/sports book rewards you $250 in gaming credits to wager with. From D.C. to Trenton to your town, the N.J. Politics newsletter brings the news right to your inbox. Sign up with your email here: Sponsors say the new law could entice gambling operators to give out more credits since the revenue they earn from used promotional credits at their sports books won’t be taxed. Prior to Murphy’s signing, revenue from online sports betting revenue was taxed separately from the 8.5% tax on gross gaming revenue There are some 30 casino online companies affiliated with the state’s casinos and racetracks that will benefit from the new law. “I labeled it the tax parity bill,” Pascrell said. “Why should online gaming companies at racetracks be treated differently than online gaming companies at the casinos?” But it took some time and tweaking of the bill - like a year and half. Murphy conditionally vetoed the bill last year, allowing for only brick-and-mortar sports betting lounges at casinos and racetracks to get the tax deduction, before it ultimately passed both legislative houses. “Many of our casinos and racetracks suffered significant revenue losses during the pandemic due to necessary safety precautions,” Assemblyman Ralph Caputo, D-Essex and Carol Murphy, D-Burlington, the bill’s sponsors, said in a joint statement after the measure was signed it into law. “We must relieve any undue burden on this industry and help them keep residents employed by allowing casinos and racetracks to deduct free wagering credits given out to entice new patrons, who then use those credits to place a bet in their establishment. Due to COVID-19, Atlantic City casinos closed on March 16, 2020 and began reopening on July 2, 2020 with operating restrictions. But new revenue figures from the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement showed the industry rebounded in 2021. Total gaming revenue reported by the state’s casinos, racetracks, and their partners for December was $404.1 million, compared to $312.9 million in December 2020, reflecting a 29.1% increase. Sports wagering exploded, with gross revenue at $59.0 million for December and $815.8 million for the year. New Jersey has offered sports betting since mid-2018. Our journalism needs your support. Please subscribe today to