Governor Murphy made his statement in responding to a question from a reporter who asked why are Atlantic City’s casinos remaining open while those in neighboring Pennsylvania (only Philadelphia for now, but Pittsburgh remains on open, yet alert). Those Pennsylvanian restrictions appear set to stay in place until January 1 2021.
New Jersians may recall that Atlantic City’s land-based casinos were initially closed as a response to the first wave of the global pandemic, March 16 to July 2.
It is good news for both the state’s players that might prefer to play in bricks-and-mortar casinos for whatever reason, rather the total security of online play. It is perhaps even better news for the Garden State’s casinos ahead of the upcoming Thanksgiving and Holiday season boom time.
It’s has been a tough time for the state’s land-based casinos following the initial March to July closures and Governor Murphy has put many of the operator’s worst fears to rest, if perhaps only for a short time.
In addition, Governor Murphy praised the State’s land-based casino operators for their proactive uptake of pandemic public health and safety security measures. New Jersey’s casinos have all successfully implemented the required health and safety measures which include spacers, reduced capacity, temperature checks, screening questions, and much more.
Governor Murphy’s assertion that Atlantic City casinos are safe comes at the same time as he imposed further restrictions across the state. Murphy recently signed a new executive order which lowered gathering limits for both indoor and outdoor venues. As of November 23, Murphy ordered that people may only gather in groups of up to 10 indoors. For gatherings taking place outdoors, the limit is 150 people. In both cases, the state expects proper social distancing and wearing of face masks.
It is a pat on the back for the casino industry that they can stay open at this time, as Governor Murphy has been impressive in his open and honest handling of the pandemic and afraid to act tough when it has been required of him.
Atlantic City Casinos have big losses to Recoup
With reduced capacity since reopening on July 2, Atlantic City’s casinos have been hit hard. Recently lowered a full rating point by the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, Atlantic City’s casinos have seen thousands of jobs lost and redevelopment projects postponed for the immediate future.
Being allowed to stay open at this time is critical for the Atlantic City casino’s survival. Of course, its all come at time that online casinos continue to boom in the Garden State. For New Jersians, of course, they would prefer both sectors of the gaming industry to be strong, and for now at least, it seems Governor Phil Murphy agrees.