Covid-19 Strikes The Casino Industry Again
It’s no secret that the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has absolutely leveled the casino industry and while some casinos were able to reopen after the first two waves, they are now being shut down again due to an increase in cases. One example of this is the state of Massachusetts, who’s Governor just issued several executive orders that will restrict business operating hours for MGM Springfield, Plainridge Park and Encore Boston Harbor
“We want to do everything in our power to avoid reverting to phase one or phase two of our reopening plan,” Massachusetts Governor Baker said in a press release regarding his new Covid-19 restrictions. “But that requires us all to step up and make some changes.”
While the casinos will still have a chance to recuperate some of their losses from the initial lockdown, they will now be required to close from 9:30 am to 5am, which will seriously cut into their profits the longer this goes on. The news comes after the state of Massachusetts reported 1036 new cases on Tuesday of this week, which is up from 842 cases on Monday.
Massachusetts Economy to Take Big Hit From Covid-19 Restrictions
Believe it or not, the restrictions come only two months after the state of Massachusetts allowed casinos to reopen and the sudden cut in hours is going to hit them hard. In fact, between operating costs, and the massive deficit in their projected numbers, it’s safe to say that some casinos have no way to make up their losses at this point.
Keep in mind that this will also have a huge effect on the unemployment rate in the state, which currently stands at 9.6%. and down from 11%. Furthermore, the casino gaming and construction industry is estimated to employ around 12,000 residents in Massachusetts and was a big job creator for the state in 2018
“Just as the state unemployment rate has started trending in the right direction, a statewide rollback will certainly threaten those job gains,” Chris Carlozzi, director of the National Federation of Independent Business told the Boston business journal. “Instead of penalizing businesses playing by the rules that are already experiencing a drop in customers and sales, the state should attempt to take a more targeted approach to curb the spread of the virus.”
Protecting The People or Profit?
Although there is an argument to be made that restricting businesses is only going to result in more economic hardships, it seems like state officials are much more focused on getting a handle on this virus and making sure their hospitals can handle the potential uptick. That might not be what everyone wants to focus on right now, but it should help prevent spread, hospitalizations and hopefully even deaths.
Again, some will argue for states to let businesses regulate themselves, which they have to some degree with implementing cleaning protocol, but it is worth noting that the CDC lists casinos as higher risk infection areas. It is also a place that usually has packed crowds, which leaves citizens little room to social distance with.
In the end, whether these regulations are right or wrong is up to each individual person, but one can’t forget the impact a move like this may have.
One must also not forget that this is only going to complicate the process for these casinos to get back on track and be able to thrive again. Now, that’s not to say it isn’t possible for that to happen, but the new restrictions create a new uphill battle.