Business Report Plus: NJ wins fight for legal sports betting

  • Trenton lawmakers unveil sports betting legislation after landmark Supreme Court ruling
  • NJ Chamber of Commerce lobbies Murphy for no new taxes
  • Senate President Steve Sweeney says major changes are needed to make NJ more competitive
  • In NJ, job growth retracted in April after three straight months of gains
  • Camden-based Campbell Soup CEO Denise Morrison resigns
  • New Jersey American Water will be raising rates 12 percent in June
  • Cambridge Analytica files for bankruptcy protection in the U.S. following a sharp drop in business

Sports betting is big business. It’s also now legal, thanks to Monday’s landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling that struck down a 25-year-old federal rule that banned sports gambling. So has revenue-hungry New Jersey hit the jackpot? The American Gaming Association estimates there is currently a $150 billion a year illegal sports betting market, and an analyst at Moody’s said this week that New Jersey would be among the first states to benefit. Shortly after the court ruling, New Jersey lawmakers were quick to unveil legislation on taxing sports betting, and some of the state’s businesses were putting plans in motion to offer sports wagering in their venues. Senior Correspondent Brenda Flanagan covered how sports betting could affect the Garden State.

There’s some growing discontent among New Jersey’s business leaders to Gov. Phil Murphy’s vision for a ‘stronger and fairer’ New Jersey. This week, the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce offered its two cents on the recently enacted laws that strengthened mandatory sick leave as well as family leave for workers in the state. Tom Bracken, the Chamber’s CEO and president [and also an NJTV board member], told us an unintended consequence of the legislation is added cost to businesses, which will make the state even less affordable and competitive.

According to Bracken, the Chamber and other groups will soon be presenting Murphy with a list of suggestions to improve the business climate in the state. He shared just one specific item — no new taxes. “You can’t tax your way to prosperity,” he said.

Lawmakers in Trenton may be paying attention, as Murphy is finding resistance even in his own party to raising additional taxes. “We cannot tax our way out of this fiscal crisis,” Senate President Steve Sweeney told business leaders at an NJBIA forum this week. Sweeney added that major changes in the state’s fiscal policy are needed to make the state more competitive, and he praised the ongoing work of a panel of experts looking for solutions. That group, known as the Economic and Fiscal Policy Working Group, will be releasing its own set of recommendations to fix the state.

Given all this chatter of competitiveness, it’s worth noting that job growth retracted last month, after three straight months of gains. Preliminary data from the federal government shows employment in New Jersey decreased by 7,200 in April. Most of that decline was due to losses in the private sector. Meantime, New Jersey’s unemployment rate slipped last month and now stands at 4.5 percent.

One of the state’s high profile CEOs is out of a job. Denise Morrison abruptly resigned from Camden-based Campbell Soup on Friday, after seven years as chief executive officer. Her resignation came as the company cut its full-year profit forecast. Under Morrison, Campbell’s experienced four straight years of sales declines at its core soup business. The company is currently in the midst of reorganization. Morrison will be replaced by board member Keith McLoughlin. Morrison was one of a only a few dozen female CEOs at America’s Fortune 500 companies.

Customers of New Jersey American Water will see their bills increase starting next month. The state’s largest water company is raising rates by 12 percent. For the average customer that amounts to a water bill increase of $5.90 a month. The new rates still must be approved by state regulators, and it is possible the Board of Public Utilities would approve a lower rate increase. The water company says the rate increase is needed to pay for system upgrades.

Finally, the company that was at the center of Facebook’s privacy fiasco is now liquidating its business. The political consultancy firm Cambridge Analytica filed for bankruptcy protection in the U.S., after suffering a sharp drop in business. Cambridge Analytica, which had past ties to President Trump’s campaign, was under fire for the handling of data from millions of Facebook users.