TRENTON - New Jersey lawmakers have advanced a package of bills to help Atlantic City's finances, schools and casinos.

The state Assembly on Thursday approved five bills for the struggling seaside resort.

The most important would let its eight casinos make payments in lieu of taxes for 15 years, letting the gambling halls know exactly how much they owe instead of facing huge potential increases each year.

Others would create new state education aid just for Atlantic City, mandate employee benefits for casino workers, divert alternative investment taxes the casinos now pay for redevelopment projects to help reduce Atlantic City's debt, and eliminate the Atlantic City Alliance and use its $30 million annual budget for other ways to help the city.

The bills go to the state Senate on June 25.