New Jersey Continues to Battle COVID-19

The state of New Jersey recently lifted restrictions placed on casinos and gaming sites in the state, but that has since been taken away. Governor Phil Murphy has again backtracked on one of his recent rulings, and casinos face another considerable restriction. 

Governor Phil Murphy continues to limit opportunities for sportsbooks and casinos after announcing an indoor smoking ban this weekend. The indoor smoking ban will be in effect for all of the casinos that are currently in operation in Atlantic City.

Indoor dining can resume at all of the casinos throughout New Jersey, but the no-smoking ban will keep customers away from the casino floor. Smoking has been known to either contract the COVID-19 virus or produces complications for those that contract it.

Casinos and sportsbooks in Atlantic City are now open, but they must restrict capacity to just 25 percent of their regular customer base. Even though this is a massive upgrade from the standard operating procedures, it will still limit the amount of revenue brought in.

Atlantic City casinos have been open since the beginning of July, but they have all been operating under strict rules and regulations. The casinos have offered sports betting, but the retail sports betting numbers have not been great.

The no-smoking ban in Atlantic City is a massive blow to the industry, but casinos will continue to operate until they are again shut down completely. 

Can Labor Day Provide Relief?

Atlantic City casinos were allowed to open up before July 4 weekend, but each establishment was limited to a certain number of customers. Tourism rates were low during the July 4 weekend, but casinos expect a big surge on Labor Day.

Even though the governor has implemented a ban on smoking and indoor dining, most hotels and casinos are already booked. Customers might not be allowed to smoke on the premises, but betting options are available in Atlantic City.

New Jersey expects some substantial betting numbers this weekend as they look to rebound from a tough few months. When live sports shut down in the United States, it was hard for most casinos and sportsbooks to make any money. 

East Coast Will Change Policy

The coronavirus pandemic has walloped both the state of New York and New Jersey, but they have both done a great job of limiting the spread. New Jersey is willing to give residents more freedom, but those will be taken away instantly. 

Atlantic City is hoping to lure more young people to the gaming industry, but this new regulation will likely keep a large percentage of the population out of the casinos. The gaming industry is looking for a boost after the COVID-19 pandemic, but this new restriction will keep bettors away.

The state has seen many bets wagered from a younger generation during the pandemic, and Atlantic City is hoping that this trend continues. Younger gamblers have been betting on mobile apps, but they are expected to make a return to Atlantic City casinos as well.

Legislators in New Jersey believe that the new smoking ban will bring a younger generation to the casinos, as most younger people are not smokers. These people want to bet on sports, and the reopening of casinos allows them to do just that. 

Both New Jersey and New York will keep a close eye on COVID-19 numbers, and the gaming industry will be shut down again if there is a spike. 


Logan is based in Los Angeles and is an avid poker player having played in tournaments across the globe. He covers both poker & regulatory affairs.