This year, the COVID-19 pandemic has dominated all aspects of life, including leisure and entertainment. Once again, the virus is in the news, with the outbreak threatening to cancel Thanksgiving celebrations in the United States. A number of states have already decided to go with new measures, some of which include shutting down non-essential businesses such as land-based casinos.
New Jersey, however, still does not belong to those states. According to Governor Phil Murphy, the state has no plans of shutting down the Atlantic City casinos. Gaming fans will be welcome at all nine AC casinos, but there won’t be any turkey on the menu. At least not in the evening as bars and restaurants in casinos now have to close every night at 10 pm.
Governor Phil Murphy Backing Atlantic City Casinos
With the number of people testing positive for COVID-19 going up in New Jersey, a question arose regarding shutting down Atlantic City casinos. Governor Murphy shut them down on March 18 and kept them closed until July 2, but this time, he believes there’s no need for such a measure.
Even though the number of new COVID-19 cases per day is considerably higher than it was in March when casinos ended up closed, Murphy thinks these sorts of venues do not add to the coronavirus risk.
“We believe, based on the evidence that we have, that they’ve been able to responsibly manage their casino floors” – Murphy said during a briefing with other state officials.
The thing is that Atlantic City casinos seem to be doing a very good job keeping the environment coronavirus-free. Furthermore, recent stats show that casinos rank #44 in the list of places where you’re most likely to catch the disease.
Atlantic City Casinos Would Not Survive Another Lockdown
Another incentive to keep the Atlantic City casinos open is the local economy. The gambling industry has suffered big losses as a result of the outbreak, especially in parts of the United States that rely on this industry.
Atlantic City definitely belongs to this category, as the city’s gaming revenue is keeping the local economy healthy. At least it was in the times before the pandemic. Since COVID-19 came to Atlantic City, the gaming revenue plummeted.
As evident from the figures released by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, Atlantic City casinos generated $186.1 million in revenue this October, which is an 8% decline compared with October 2019.
Not everything is doom and gloom in New Jersey’s gaming world. Online gambling sites have been making a lot of money during the pandemic. Last month, online casinos and sports betting sites generated $118 million.
As a reminder, New Jersey is one of only four US states where online casino gaming is legal and regulated at the moment of writing. The other three states are Pennsylvania, Delaware, and West Virginia.