NJ lawmakers consider 2 opposing North Jersey casino plans

Rival plans for casinos in northern New Jersey are up for consideration in the state Legislature.

New Jersey lawmakers are considering tw opposing North Jersey casino plans.

New Jersey lawmakers are considering tw opposing North Jersey casino plans. (1/7/16)

TRENTON - Rival plans for casinos in northern New Jersey are up for consideration in the state Legislature.

Committees in the state Senate and Assembly will hold public hearings on the plans for North Jersey casinos, but both houses still don't agree on a single measure to put before voters.

The Senate version would require that both new casinos be owned by existing Atlantic City casino operators, and would initially send 50 percent of gambling tax revenue they generate to compensate Atlantic City.

Some North Jersey mayors tell News 12 New Jersey that they take issue with the fact that most of the money generated would not benefit their area. Many of the mayors support the Assembly’s plan.

The Assembly version only applies the existing ownership requirement to one of the casinos, and would send 35 percent to Atlantic City.

Assembly speaker Vincent Prieto says that his plan focuses on free enterprise and that he’s already seen interest from major hotel and casino entrepreneurs.

Assemblyman Prieto and Senate President Stephen Sweeney say that they each plan on presenting their casino bills for a vote on Monday.

On Thursday, the New Jersey Senate approved an aid package for Atlantic City and its struggling casinos that would allow the eight casinos to make payments in lieu of taxes for 15 years.

The package will also use casino investment taxes to help pay down Atlantic City's municipal debt.

The package now goes back to Gov. Chris Christie, who vetoed an earlier version in November.

The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.

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