Don’t Bet On Things Getting Better
Many seem to view legalized sports betting as the answer to New Jersey’s fiscal crisis but if the numbers thrown out by the state’s treasurer are correct than it would seem it’s more like a band aid where a tourniquet is needed.
Elizabeth Muoio told the Assembly budget committee on Monday that the state expects to bring in $13 million in new revenue from sports betting for the fiscal year that begins July 1st and today she’s expected to repeat those figures in front of the Senate budget committee.
The $13 million estimate would hardly make a dent in Governor Phil Murphy’s $37.4 billion budget which includes more than $1.5 billion in higher taxes as well as boosting the sales tax to 7 percent.
$13 million is just an estimate as the tax rate on sports betting has not been finalized and while it may be a conservative number you can see that it won’t make much of an impact when it comes to the state’s ailing economy. For what it’s worth Nevada brought in about $16.8 million into the state last year from sports betting and it’s been legal there for many years.
Outside of the state budget the expected boost from legal sports wagering will help in other areas including New Jersey’s long suffering horse racing industry.
I read an interesting piece over the weekend in which a financial columnist wrote that New Jersey would be much better off in the long run by focusing on policies to make the state more business-friendly. The revenue that would come from that is far greater then what the state will ever realize in legalized sports betting.
New Jersey has long been considered a bad place to do business for many companies and ranked 39th in the 2017 Forbes’ Best States for Business rankings based on business costs, labor supply, regulatory environment, economic climate, growth prospects and quality of life. North Carolina was #1 followed by Texas, Utah, Nebraska and Virginia while neighboring states Pennsylvania and New York were 27th and 29th respectively.
Many people I know who own businesses often complain that the state makes it very hard and costly especially for small business owners who are the life blood of the shore area.