Business Report: Rent aid, workplace safety, sports betting, Borgata layoffs

Hundreds of reports of alleged health and safety violations in the workplace

With Gov. Phil Murphy tightening restrictions on gatherings, businesses are bracing for further financial impacts. But starting Monday there is a new opportunity for small businesses in Essex, Passaic and Ocean counties to apply for additional grant money. The New Jersey Redevelopment Authority will distribute the grants to businesses which are struggling to pay their commercial rents. Authority president and CEO Leslie Anderson is encouraging all businesses to apply at www.njra.us.

The state labor department says it has received nearly 400 reports of alleged health and safety violations in the workplace from Nov. 5 through Nov. 12. You’ll recall Murphy recently signed an executive order requiring companies to provide masks to their workers and maintain social distancing, among other things. Nearly all the complaints were filed by private-sector workers.

October was another record-breaker for sports betting in the state. Sportsbooks took in $803 million in total bets last month, according to data from the Division of Gaming Enforcement. Most of that was through online bets, and there was also strong growth in internet gaming last month. But with casinos operating at limited capacity, revenue from the slots and table games has fallen.

The Borgata Hotel Casino has laid off more than 70 workers, and reduced the hours of another estimated 350 workers. The company cited the governor’s new indoor-dining limits as the reason for the layoffs.