When New Jersey casinos can begin reopening on Thursday, the biggest of them all is expected to remain closed. The Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa was expected to reopen on July 6, but officials have now announced that it won’t be happening.
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy gave the green light for casinos to reopen in advance of the July 4 weekend, which is the biggest weekend of the year for Atlantic City. However, Murphy will not be allowing indoor dining to take place at the casinos, citing health concerns.
Murphy announced his decision on Monday, and he referenced the recent spike of positive coronavirus cases in states that have allowed indoor dining to resume. This announcement immediately prompted officials from the Borgata to delay their reopening and cancel a special event that was slated for this weekend.
Borgata is owned and operated by MGM Resorts International, and MGM also put out a statement on Monday. The company stated that no new reopening date had been set, and they will wait on an official word from Governor Murphy.
Borgata has the most slots (2,864) and table games (189) of any property in Atlantic City, and they have also made the most money. The casino posted a gross gaming revenue of more than $131.5 million before the shutdown in March, which was more than double that of the next casino on the list, Harrah’s.
All other Atlantic City casinos are still planning to reopen this weekend, even though they must limit capacity to just 25 percent. Indoor dining will not be allowed anywhere in the state, but restaurants can continue serving meals outdoors or offer carryout services.
Restrictions Could be Lifted Soon
Governor Murphy has been under intense pressure and scrutiny for his handling of the pandemic, and his latest announcement will not sit well with his opponents. Murphy announced on Tuesday that he is hoping to lift restrictions soon, but New Jersey is well behind the timeline of other states throughout the country.
UNITE HERE Local 54 is one of the groups that is unhappy with the announcement from Murphy. President of the union, Bob McDevitt, announced that he doesn’t think that casinos should reopen unless food and drinks can be served. The UNITE HERE Local 54 has over 10,000 employees in their union, and they work in the Atlantic City casino industry.
Murphy, along with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont, announced that the 14-day self-quarantine period had been extended for visitors of the tri-state area. The three governors added eight more states to the list, and that list includes visitors from Nevada.
The tri-state area was considered the hotspot of the coronavirus pandemic back in mid-March and April, but the three states have done a great job of combating the spread of the disease, thanks in large part to taking extreme measures.
More than 80 Percent of Casinos Now Open
The American Gaming Association recently announced that nearly 800 of the 989 commercial and tribal casinos in the US have reopened. The northeast is the one location of the country with the largest number of casinos still closed down.
MGM Resorts International owns and operates several casinos in this region, and many of them remain closed. In fact, MGM Resorts have only allowed 13 of their 21 properties to reopen throughout the country.
Four of these MGM properties that remain closed are in Las Vegas, but some of their properties in Sin City have started to reopen. MGM Resorts International continues to monitor the situation while working closely with state and local health officials.