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Lagana, Spencer, Mukherji & Johnson Legislation to Allow Liquor Licenses for Certain Gaming Facilities Clears Panel

Legislation Would Repeal 1959 Law Prohibiting Businesses from Serving Alcohol

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Joseph Lagana, L. Grace Spencer, Raj Mukherji and Gordon Johnson to repeal a law prohibiting businesses from holding both a liquor license and a license to operate amusement games was approved on Monday by an Assembly panel.

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– which is interested in opening multiple locations here as soon as possible – and the state of New Jersey is one outdated law.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.”

The measure was advanced by the Assembly Regulatory Oversight Committee.