New York Governor Discusses Casino Reopening on Individual Basis

The state of New York has been the hardest hit by the coronavirus within the entire United States. More cases continue to show up in the state, though the daily number of positive tests is on the decline. Just a short time ago, the federal government released guidelines that states can follow to begin the reopening process. For New York, it will be some time yet before things get back to normal. During a press conference earlier this week, Governor Andrew Cuomo stated that plans for casinos to be reopened would have to be reviewed on an individual basis.

Two-Phase Plan Approach

On Sunday, a two-phase plan was announced in the state. This would see the construction and manufacturing sectors opening back up by May 15th. This would happen if proper precautionary measures are in place. Two weeks later, after monitoring occurs, other industries could open based on risk factors.

A regional approach for reopening is being taken and Cuomo stated that attractive nuisances reopening could be dangerous. Such venues like casinos could reopen too soon and attract people from outside the region which could cause an influx in cases again.

The Saratoga Casino Hotel and the Rivers Casino & Resort have been closed since mid-March. Both venues are working to create a plan to be ready to open once the go-ahead is given.

Casino Plans

For the Saratoga Casino Hotel, they are working with the New York Gaming Commission to create a reopening plan that will focus on the safety of guests as well as staff members and the community. A spokesperson for the casino stated that when the state and health organizations feel the plan meets protocols and standards, they will look forward to opening.

Rivers is also busy making plans. The casino is focused on the health and well-being of their guests and employees. The casino is creating a comprehensive plan for reopening that will cover several areas including cleanliness, social distancing, crowd management, monitoring and isolation.

Mayor Gary McCarthy spoke about the Rivers Casino reopening, stating that Rivers is not going to open back up at a level they were operating before the shutdown. They will have to follow a protocol where the capacity is gradually built back up or something similar.

For the Rivers home city, they were expecting $2.8 million in revenues from the property. They have already seen a two month loss of around $466,000. The total number will be significant and will grow as the casino will not be operating at full capacity once reopened.

Across the United States, casino operators like the Rivers and Saratoga are making plans to provide a safe and healthy environment once reopening begins. But how will any protocols be enforced? In many states, people are acting out and not following simple procedures such as walking down aisles of stores in certain directions to promote a good traffic flow or wearing a mask for protection.

It seems that everyone has their own opinion as to the current state of affairs and many people are still not even adhering to the six foot rule when it comes to placing a distance between other people. It will be interesting to see what casinos decide to do once reopened and how they will ensure safety protocols are being followed.

Hopefully, everyone will act accordingly and the US will not see another outbreak of the coronavirus as more businesses get back to work.


Rebecca lives in Las Vegas and after completing her degree at Reynolds Journalism school joined the USGS team to pursue her journalism dreams.