Court ruling gives Borgata $63M in disputed taxes, interest for overcharged taxes for 2009-10

The Borgata casino will receive about $63 million after a state appeals panel concluded Monday that Atlantic City had overcharged it on property taxes.

Continue Reading Below

The ruling affirms a $48 million tax refund, and about $15 million in interest for the tax years 2009 and 2010. It is separate from an $88 million tax settlement the casino reached with the city last year for other tax years.

For nearly a decade, Atlantic City has faced a wave of tax appeals as its casinos successfully argue they are not worth what they once were, when the gambling market was doing better. Four of the city's 12 casinos shut down last year and casino revenue has fallen from $5.2 billion in 2006 to $2.74 billion last year.

A bill that would let Atlantic City's casinos make payments in lieu of taxes for 15 years — and not be able to appeal their taxes — has been passed by the state Legislature and awaits a decision by Gov. Chris Christie.

In the meantime, the city continually finds itself with a losing hand. The appeals court ruling Monday upheld a 2013 tax court ruling that reduced the Borgata's taxable valuation from $2.2 billion in 2009 and 2010 to $880 million and $870 million for those years.

While expressing relief in the ruling, Borgata President Tom Balance wishes it was never necessary to begin with.

Continue Reading Below

"We're not really pleased at all," he said. "We would rather the city charge us the correct amount of property taxes in the first place."

Atlantic City officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the ruling.

The action highlights the need for swift action on the payment-in-lieu-of taxes, or PILOT, bill, said state Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo, an Atlantic City-area Democrat. He said an emergency manager appointed by Christie in January has yet to find any meaningful ways to help the city.

"In absence of any proposal from the emergency manager, I again ask the governor to sign our tax stabilization bill package so we can make sure that Atlantic City and our region have not just a great summer season, but a future that brings Atlantic City back to the resort destination we know it can be," Mazzeo said.

Last year, the Borgata and Atlantic City reached a settlement on disputed taxes under which the casino would receive a tax refund of $88.25 million for tax years 2011 through 2013, as well as an estimated tax credit of $17.85 million for the tax year 2014. But Balance said Monday the city has yet to pay any of that money.

___

Wayne Parry can be reached at http://twitter.com/WayneParryAC