Moody’s Fears New Jersey’s Online Gambling Will Reduce Tourism
Last week Moody’s Investors Service said that while the legalisation of online gambling in New Jersey will probably help stabilize Atlantic City’s property tax base, it could also reduce the amount of tourists visiting casinos as people start betting from home.
Moody’s has given Atlantic City’s general obligation debt a rating of Baa1 with a negative outlook. A series of bad news is continuing to put downward pressure on its credit rating, however, for now the rating is unchanged.
Nonetheless it is expected that the legalisation of online gambling will result in revenues which will help stabilise Atlantic City’s taxable property values as financial performance is taken into consideration when calculating each casino’s market and assessment value.
Casinos with better taxable values are also less likely to be able to reduce their tax bills through appeals.
For example the Trump Taj Mahal has appealed its Atlantic City property taxes every year since 2008.
However, Moody’s is worried that the ability to gamble from home could cause a further drop in gambling tourism.
The industry has been suffering in Atlantic City since 2005 due to gambling venues in neighbouring states, the financial crisis and high levels of unemployment.