The land-based New Jersey casinos have been closed since mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic. While there is no set date to reopen the casinos, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy recently unveiled a “Road Back” plan that will have a direct impact on the state’s gambling industry.
The main goal of the six-step plan is to open up the state in phases. By doing so, the NJ government hopes to reboot the state’s economy while limiting the chances of a spike in new COVID-19 case.
Some have questioned Governor Murphy’s plan considering the number of positive cases in Atlantic City have increased of late. The scheme will be implemented on a county-by-county basis, which means it could be a while before Atlantic City’s casinos are open for business. The state has suffered significantly due to the loss of revenue from the Atlantic City gambling sector.
Here are the six steps in Murphy’s plan:
1. New Jersey counties will have to show continued reductions in confirmed coronavirus cases as well as those hospitalized due to the COVID-19 strain. This could slow the process of reopening Atlantic City casinos considering the recent spike of infected persons in the county.
2. Each county in the state is to increase its capacity for coronavirus testing. The New Jersey government has stated it will give aid to help counties with this step.
3. Continuing to come up with a viable strategy to trace contacts with persons that have the coronavirus. It has been shown that one of the best ways to fight the spread of the disease is contact tracing.
4. Asking New Jersey counties to have specified safe areas for isolation for those infected.
5. Executing an economic restart in a responsible manner. While opening the doors of the Atlantic City casinos would give a major lift to the Garden State’s commercial sector, the other principles first have to be met.
6. When businesses in the state do reopen, each of the counties will need measures in place to ensure New Jersey’s resiliency to a possible resurgence of COVID-19. In particular, counties will be urged to stockpile all necessary medical and protective equipment.
Nine of New Jersey’s land-based casinos are in Atlantic City. History was made in April, which was the first month since 1976 that the state did not generate any money through land-based casino gaming.
New Jersey sportsbooks are still open for business, but there are not many betting options with so many events and leagues either canceled or suspended. It looks as if that will continue, as all of the major sports leagues in the United States will remain on hiatus through the end of May, at least.
New Jersey only trails New York when it comes to the number of coronavirus cases and deaths recorded by US states.