Casinos have started to reopen throughout the United States, but that isn’t the case in the state of New Jersey. New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has announced that his staff is actively working on getting the casinos reopened, but there is still plenty of work to be done.
Murphy also announced that it is unlikely that any of the casinos will be able to reopen their doors before July 1. There was some hope that casinos could open in July, but now that doesn’t appear in the cards.
All nine of the casinos in Atlantic City have been closed since March 16 under orders from Murphy. Casinos are losing out on millions of dollars each day, and there is a huge unemployment crisis in the state related to the closures.
Casino industry executives have urged the Governor to allow the casinos to reopen to save the economy in the state. Murphy himself acknowledged that some casinos could remain closed if they are not allowed to reopen soon.
Gaming revenue in the state of New Jersey declined by more than $180 million in April, and it won’t get any better in May. Some online sportsbooks have still been able to survive the closure, but the casino industry is struggling.
Cities throughout the state are also hoping that casinos can reopen so that they can get more tax revenue. The city of Trenton reportedly lost out on more than $18 million in gambling tax revenue in March and April due to the closures.
Plan Is Being Developed
Governor Murphy did announce that his administration is working closely with gaming industry executives to create a plan to reopen. New Jersey has been hit extremely hard by the coronavirus pandemic, and opening the casinos presents a unique challenge for the state.
Other states have created plans that allow casinos to reopen safely, and that is what lobbyists are hoping can happen in New Jersey. Murphy is working on these plans behind the scenes, but he is still unsure how to implement the plans safely.
Tribal Casinos in the Northeast have begun reopening, and Atlantic City will be watching these casinos closely. The AtlantiCare healthcare system is working with the state to develop these plans.
Critical Time For Casinos
Atlantic City is one of the biggest resort towns in the United States, and the summer is their most profitable time. Beaches in Atlantic City have been allowed to reopen, but casinos are still required to keep their doors closed.
Independence Day, July 4, is always one of the biggest days of the year in Atlantic City, and it figures to be a huge day in 2020. Fourth of July falls on a Saturday, and casinos could make a killing if they are back open by then.
Even though New Jersey has entered phase two of the reopening plan, large gatherings are still not allowed in the state. It’s unclear if there will be any changes to the plan or the rules by July 4, but casinos could lose out on millions of dollars if they remain closed.
Last July, Atlantic City casinos recorded a gross gaming revenue of more than $277 million, a two percent increase from the previous year. If casinos are not back open by July 4, land-based casinos could be set to lose close to $300 million.
Over 20 businesses were damaged in Atlantic City over the weekend as protests turned violent. Seventeen people were arrested on Sunday night alone, but no major damages were reported at any of the casinos.