Assembly OKs Lagana, Spencer, Mukherji, Johnson, Gusciora & Mazzeo Legislation to Allow Liquor Licenses for Certain Gaming Facilities

Bill Would Repeal 1959 Law Prohibiting Businesses from Serving Alcohol

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Joseph Lagana, L. Grace Spencer, Raj Mukherji, Gordon Johnson, Reed Gusciora and Vince Mazzeo to repeal a law prohibiting businesses from holding both a liquor license and a license to operate certain amusement games gained the approval of the General Assembly on Thursday.

The bill (A-4143) would permit certain liquor license holders to also hold amusement game licenses, provided the licensed facility covers at least 20,000 square feet and includes at least 100 amusement games. A 1959 law currently prohibits an establishment from holding both licenses simultaneously.

“The only thing standing between a multi-million dollar job creator like Dave and Buster’s – which is interested in opening multiple locations here as soon as possible – and the state of New Jersey is one outdated law. No other state in the country has this ban, and the bottom line is that it simply makes New Jersey less competitive,” said Lagana (D-Bergen/Passaic). “By repealing an archaic law, this legislation will help make our state more business-friendly and open the door to new jobs.”

Neighboring states like New York and Pennsylvania collect millions of dollars in tax revenue from such enterprises, Lagana noted.

“With an unemployment rate that remains higher than the national average, New Jersey has to look for new ways to draw in employers,” said Spencer (D-Essex). “We have a good opportunity to attract businesses and help restore our state’s economy with this legislation.”

“New Jersey ought to be welcoming companies that want to establish themselves here, not keeping up a decades-old barrier to new businesses, jobs and tax revenues,” said Mukherji (D-Hudson). “Repealing this one prohibition will create jobs, enable us to compete with neighboring states, make New Jersey more attractive to these employers and offer additional options for consumers.”

“Individuals from both sides of the aisle agree that making New Jersey a place where residents can work and raise a family has to be a top priority, and drawing in new businesses is essential in that regard,” said Johnson (D-Bergen). “This legislation will help spur economic growth, which will put our current residents back to work and attract those considering making New Jersey their new home.”

“Ending a policy that keeps businesses away from New Jersey is a commonsense move on the road to economy recovery,” said Gusciora (D-Mercer/Hunterdon). “This bill will foster a better business climate and allow the state to be more competitive.”

“As we work to revitalize the Atlantic City region, it’s critical that we have the ability to explore all means of drawing in new business,” said Mazzeo (D-Atlantic). “This legislation will authorize an option that has the potential to establish hundreds of jobs, yield millions of dollars in revenue and help transition Atlantic City into the resort destination we know it can be.”

The measure, which gained approval 71-5, awaits further Senate consideration.