Casino Reopening for Atlantic City Casinos

Atlantic City's nine casinos have now reopened. This follows upon permission by Governor Phil Murphy, who had ordered them to close on March 16. This comes as a relief not just to casino gamblers, but also to the many employees of the casinos who've been out of work for nearly four months. 

Casino tables and slots are open, but no food or drinks are served in the casino. Smoking is also forbidden on the casino floors.

The first casinos to open were Hard Rock, Ocean, Resorts, Tropicana, and Golden Nugget, which all opened on July 2nd.  Caesars, Bally's, and Harrah's opened on the next day.



Atlantic City: Ghost Town

Atlantic City is synonymous with the casino industry. But when casinos were ordered to shut down, 27,000 people were left without work.  

The normally packed hotels are now at only 75% capacity to allow greater social distancing. Business has been slow at casinos as concern for safety and having less income has affected normal customers. 

As of now, the number of Covid cases is decreasing in the Atlantic City area. However the casinos depend on out-of-town guests, who may come from high-case areas.

Gambling Income for July 2020

All things considered, July was not as bad a month for New Jersey's casino industry. Total revenue for July was $264.5 million, compared to $334.4 million in July 2019 (a 20.9% decrease).

However online casinos saved the day. Online casino revenue in July 2020 was $87.5 million in July, compared to $39.3 million in 2019 (an increase of 122.5%).

Safety Measures at Casinos

While the rules of each casino may be different, you can expect rules like the following at any of the Atlantic City casinos:

  • No eating, drinking, or smoking on the casino floor.
  • Hand-washing stations and hand sanitizers are available for use by players and dealers.
  • Increased frequency in the sanitation of all tables, machines, kiosks, and ATMs.
  • Guests and employees must wear a mask at all times.
  • Presence of screen between employees and guests.
  • The number of customers will be limited in accordance with regulations.
  • Guests will be asked to refrain from standing beside or behind customers playing.
  • Alternating slot machines are disabled.

You can read NJ's state-official protocols here

Why didn't Borgata Reopen at First?

Borgata was the last Atlantic City casino to reopen. According to their tweet, "We respect the Governor’s decision to postpone the reopening of indoor dining in New Jersey to protect the public. Given this decision, our property Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City will remain closed."

As of now, Borgata's hotel and casino are open. Like the other casinos and hotels, they have published strict guidelines for staying as safe as possible during Covid. 

 

 

Resources:

"Bettors Gamble With Their Money, and the Virus, as Atlantic City Reopens"  by Tracey Tully (July 3, 2020): https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/03/nyregion/atlantic-city-casinos-reopening-coronavirus.html

"The places a COVID-19 recession will likely hit hardest" by Mark Muro, Robert Maxim, and Jacob Whiton (March 17, 2020): https://www.brookings.edu/blog/the-avenue/2020/03/17/the-places-a-covid-19-recession-will-likely-hit-hardest/


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