Senate Approves Bill To Prevent Casino 'Warehousing'

Legislation Will Keep Casino Owners From Closing and Sitting on Licenses

Sentinel — November 3, 2016

TRENTON — Acting to prevent casino owners from shutting down their facilities and "warehousing" their gaming licenses, the Senate on Thursday, October 20th approved a bill that would update gaming regulations to disqualify a casino license for those owners who attempt to manipulate bankruptcy laws and licensing regulations.

"Casino owners shouldn't be manipulating the system and exploiting bankruptcy laws as a way to break unions and take away the rights and benefits of the workers," said Senator Steve Sweeney. "Atlantic City's gaming industry is obviously experiencing the difficult challenges of competition from other states, but the answer is not to engage in practices that punish the workers."

The legislative action is a response to concerns that the owners of the Trump Taj Mahal closed its doors with the intention of warehousing its casino license only to reopen with reduced wages and benefits for its workers. The bill, S-2575, was approved by the Senate with a vote of 29 - 6. The legislation would disqualify a casino license applicant for a five-year period if the owner substantially closes casino property. The bill empowers the Division of Gaming Enforcement to determine what constitutes a substantial closure of a casino hotel facility. It would be retroactive to January 1,2016, but would not apply to other casino licenses held by the owner.

Current law gives the gaming regulators the responsibility to require license holders to abide by varied standards to ensure good practices. The bill will update the standards to prevent the manipulation of bankruptcy law and gaming licensing. The bill is supported by New Jersey Citizen Action, New Jersey Policy Perspective, the New Jersey Working Families Alliance, the Alliance of South Asian American Labor, the Bangladesh Association of South Jersey and the Indo-American Senior Citizens of Atlantic City.

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