In every state, restrictions are in place regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. In the gambling industry, casinos must adhere to certain guidelines, such as mask wearing, social distancing, cleaning protocols and lower capacity levels. In Atlantic City, casinos as well as lawmakers and officials want to see some restrictions loosened by Governor Phil Murphy to help bring in more consumers. Requests have been made to see restrictions relaxed regarding indoor gatherings including conventions and trade shows to bring in revenues.
Loosen Up A Little
The casinos in Atlantic City along with other non-essential businesses were closed down back in March due to the onset of the virus. Operations were allowed to resume in July for some venues, including casinos. After being closed for so long, and with heavy restrictions in place, the venues are struggling to gain any ground.
Casinos in Atlantic City often host trade shows and conventions, which are huge many makers for the industry. They also play host to business meetings for big companies which also helps to bring in revenues. None of the properties have been able to offer such events due to the virus. Millions of dollars are now lost due to the virus issues.
Steve Callender is the regional president for Caesars Entertainment Inc., as well as the president of the Casino Association in New Jersey. He recently asked the governor that the casino industry needs assistance. Callender said that the fall is a big season for conventions and meetings. With these events not taking place, the industry would be hit without another big monetary loss. Even more jobs will be lost and the recovery to the economy will take longer to get over.
Opening Up the Convention Industry
Callender said that casinos need to be allowed to resume meetings and conventions. Indoor dining capacity needs to be increased to 25%. Right now, the casinos are restricted to 25%. The nine casinos in the region are ready to host larger gatherings, staying in compliance with the public health and social measures of the state.
Resorts Casino Hotel CEO and President Mark Giannantonio commented on the industry as well, stating casinos have created quality health and safety protocols that have proved successful in bringing back indoor dining. Now is the time to safely allow these facilities to bring back the convention and meeting services.
While many people associated with the gaming industry are seeking a loosening of restrictions, it just may not happen. On Friday, Governor Murphy stated that indoor dining may be shut down again if the case count continues to increase.
There has been a recent surge in cases around the state and this could signal more restrictions rather than a looser approach. The casino industry could be hit hard if restrictions continue through the fall and winter. This time frame is usually slow anyway but add in the COVID-19 pandemic and the industry could be devastated due to lower revenue earnings. We shall see in the coming weeks if cases increase and if the governor decides to put more restrictions in place that will affect the industry as a whole.