The Order will also rescind the previous statewide requirement that food and beverage establishments close their indoor areas to in-person service between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. each day.“
Casinos were also mentioned specifically in his address. According to Murphy:
“Casinos and any other retail, recreational, or entertainment business open to the public may also resume indoor food and beverage service during those hours.”
For Atlantic City casinos, this is a welcome development that will boost revenues as players would be more likely to spend on the tables and indulge in lavish meals while they set off a winning streak.
However, the restriction on seating at indoor bar areas is still in full effect due to concerns of strangers getting too casual with the Covid-19 protocols with alcohol involved. Still, the lifted restrictions give not only casinos a chance to recuperate losses, but also provides adult family members an opportunity to get out and mingle in their own groups.
“Since the beginning of the pandemic, my Administration has used science, data, and facts to guide our decision-making process,” Murphy said in a statement. “The downward trend of COVID-19 cases in our hospitals, coupled with the state’s decreasing rate of transmission, allows us to confidently expand our indoor capacity limits without leading to undue further stress on our health care systems.”
The lifted restrictions also apply to personal care services like nail salons. They may also increase their capacity limits to 35%, giving casino patrons an added opportunity to enjoy other forms of pampering without having to worry about delays.
Indoor meetings of addiction groups such as Gamblers Anonymous or Alcoholics Anonymous may also benefit from the lifted restrictions. They can increase their capacity limits to 35% with available space for at most 150 people in large gathering places.
Atlantic City is home to nine land-based casinos which would make use of the increased hours and capacity to its limits. For land-based casinos, 2020 might be the most financially-disadvantageous year ever. Brick-and-mortar revenue dropped by 43.7% in 2020 to $1.51 billion due to closures of businesses in April through June as the covid-19 pandemic raged on. Though businesses opened eventually, they were limited in capacity in the subsequent months.
While land-based casinos saw their revenues drop, online casino gaming and sports betting recorded a massive spike in traffic, which gave brick-and-mortar casinos some sort of boost in revenue, however, everything is usually shared with business partners who manage these online operations.
Casinos in the state are expected to benefit from the loosened restrictions on festive days like the coming Valentine’s Day, and President’s Day.
There are still more to come with the coming March Madness NCAA men’s basketball. The relaxed restrictions will see more gamers fill casino halls taking their shots at the available games while being served lavish meals just as things were before the Covid-19 pandemic.
If things continue the way they’re going and the prevalence of positive tests continue to decline, then casinos would be able to open to the point that they can offer outdoor dining without restrictions. This is to be expected as vaccination rates continue to increase all over the country.