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New Jersey Lawmakers Pass New Casino Bill

- December 21, 2016 By Oliver Young -

It is no secret that the bill was designed to target specifically Taj Mahal owner, billionaire Icahn.

Carl Icahn won’t be allowed to open a new casino under the same licence.

New Jersey is one of the few US states where gambling is legal, even though Atlantic City is the only place in the state where a land-based casino can be established. There were some hopes that the citizens will approve the establishment of casinos in North Jersey, but a majority of the citizens of New Jersey rejected the proposal and it seems that there will be no casinos outside Atlantic City in a foreseeable future.

The legalisation of online gambling was also a hotly debated issue in the ‘Garden State’. Eventually, much to the satisfaction of legalisation proponents, online gambling in the state was legalised and the latest reports show that online gambling in NJ is becoming increasing popular.

The Closure of Taj Mahal Sparked Controversies

The Trump Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City was another cause of controversy, and not because it still carries the name of the US President – Donald Trump, even though he has nothing to do with the casino for quite some time.

Namely, the closure of this casino was announced on more than one occasion in the past few years. The staff of Taj Mahal went on strike on more than one occasion. The management blamed the employees, the union blamed the management and it seemed that they simply can’t reach a deal that would work in everybody’s favour. Eventually, the casino resort was closed earlier this year.

Some claimed that the closure of one of the more popular casinos in Atlantic City would be a serious blow for the industry, but other casino operators actually recorded higher revenues after Taj Mahal was closed.

The closure of the casino that was formerly owned by Trump gave birth to another specific legal problem. Namely, under the previous legislation the owner of the company, billionaire Carl Icahn, technically had the right to open another casino in Atlantic City under the same licence under which Trump Taj Mahal operated.

The Bill Specifically Targets Billionaire Carl Icahn

There were certain claims that Icahn intends on doing exactly that and many argued that it simply wouldn’t be fair, because his management failed to reach an agreement with the union.

The specific situation with Icahn was the main motivation behind the new proposed legislation that was adopted this week. The New Jersey Assembly, with an overwhelming majority of 60 in favour and only 17 against passed a new bill, which states that every licence issued to a casino owner who closed its casino will be suspended for five years.

The President of the Senate, Sweeney said that the point of the new bill was to stop owners from bypassing regulations and encourage them to be more constructive in the attempts to reach deals with their unionised workers. John Burzichelli, a New Jersey Assemblyman said that the bill is intended to serve as a carrot, not a stick.

One of the provisions of the bill allows for the five year ban to be lifted if the owners manage to reach an agreement with the workers. Icahn and some of his supporters have already stated that the new bill is unconstitutional, as it only targets him and his company. We are yet to see whether Governor Christie will sign the law, as he is close to Donald Trump, who on the other hand is a friend of Icahn.

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