The United States has recorded nearly 100,000 deaths from Covid-19. At the moment, New Jersey has the second-most fatalities in the country. Calls to reopen the state economy continue, yet many state leaders feel it’s too early to get back to normal. This week, NJ Governor Phil Murphy spoke about the reopening of Atlantic City casinos.
Many states around the country are beginning to open their gambling industries back up. Unfortunately, New Jersey’s gaming industry may remain closed for some time. Today, we’re going to look at when this state’s casinos may be given permission to reopen.
Atlantic City’s Casino Industry Remains Shut Down
New Jersey is home to one of the biggest and most successful casino industries in the United States. Over the past few years, gambling revenue has gradually increased in Atlantic City. The legalization of sports betting and online casino gambling seems to have brought new life to this area.
Since March, however, casino revenue in AC has plummeted. New Jersey has the second-most Covid-19 cases in the country and all gambling venues here remain closed. As time goes on, more officials in the gambling industry have begun asking for the state government to reopen casinos.
It’s not an easy situation. Obviously, casinos are easy places for a respiratory virus to spread. Cases have been dropping in New Jersey, yet many health experts warn that a second-wave of infections may be just around the corner.
There’s also the issue of tourism. It’s not entirely clear if reopening Atlantic City casinos would immediately draw a huge number of visitors to the city. We’ve seen recently-opened casinos in Oklahoma draw large crowds, yet no one can really say how long this will last.
Lawmakers in New Jersey are now weighing to pros and cons of reopening many different parts of the economy. As many know, the casino industry here employs tens of thousands of individuals. Governor Phil Murphy spoke to the media this week about when the state’s casinos may be allowed to accept guests again.
Reopening Atlantic City Casinos Will Take Time, Says Governor Murphy
There was a time when Atlantic City seemed on the brink of collapse. Several of the major casinos here were forced to permanently close their doors. A huge number of residents ended up losing their jobs.
Over the past five years, however, things began to turn around. More tourists began flocking to this city. New casinos started opening their doors. With sports betting now legal, Atlantic City grew to become a hub for sports fans around the country.
The past few months have undone much of the progress that was made here. Unsurprisingly, many are now calling for the reopening of Atlantic City casinos. Governor Murphy spoke about the situation this week and claims it will take more time than most had hoped.
“It’s a huge game-changer in our economy and in the lives of literally tens of thousands of people out there,” Murphy said. “I would love nothing more to say we’re ready to go. We’re just not there yet.”
The Governor could not confirm whether it would be weeks or months before casinos in AC are given permission to open up again. He acknowledges it’s an incredibly difficult situation. Some feel he may begin to change his mind after seeing the progress that cities like Las Vegas are making, though.
More Cities Begin Allowing Casinos to Reopen
To the disappointment of many, casinos in New Jersey may not open for quite some time. It’s clear that lawmakers feel it’s still too early for these venues to reopen. Not every state is taking this same cautious approach, though.
Officials in Las Vegas feel that it’s now crucial to get the city’s gambling industry back up and running. Many of the biggest casino-resorts here are expected to open their doors next month. Safety measures are being set and debates over things like whether or not to ban smoking are now taking place.
Some parts of the country have already given casinos the green light to open up. In Mississippi, for example, casinos have just finally started accepting players again. Many parts of the country are seeing a surprisingly large number of gamblers emerging.
Reopening Atlantic City casinos is going to take time. The New Jersey Gaming Commission has still not approved any guidelines to open these venues up. Governor Murphy is refusing to tell the media when he expects things to change.
As we mentioned earlier, though, infection rates are beginning to drop in New Jersey. If this trend continues over the next week or two, lawmakers are likely to change their stance.
Do you think reopening Atlantic City casinos is smart right now? When do you think things will change here? Let us know in the comments section below!