New Jersey casino shutdown could lead to $1.1b loss

The American Gaming Association (AGA) recently released a report showing that a two-month shutdown of the New Jersey casino industry could lead to a financial loss of $1.1 billion. That figure deals with all the aspects of casino operations, including gaming, hotel, food and beverage, as well as the impact on employees, vendors, and suppliers.

Bill Miller, president and CEO of the AGA, recently stated, “The impact on our employees, their families and communities is staggering, and the implications extend far beyond the casino floor.”

In mid-March, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy ordered the closure of all of the land-based casinos in Atlantic City because of the coronavirus issue. He stated that they would remain closed “until such time as it is deemed safe for their reopening”. While the retail casinos closed, New Jersey online casinos have remained open.

The report claims that the closures of the Atlantic City casinos have affected nearly 33,000 employees. The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) reported that there were 26,450 Atlantic City casino staff as of March 1.

The New Jersey gaming industry was riding high for almost two years starting in June 2018, when Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City and Ocean Casino Resort opened their doors. There were 21 straight months of year-over-year revenue increases until February of this year. In 2019 the nine Atlantic City casinos had a total gaming revenue figure of $3.29 billion.

Rummy Pandit, the executive director of the Stockton University Lloyd D. Levenson Institute of Gaming, said, “This is a huge challenge for the industry. But if this is something that’s necessary for the well-being of all of us in our community … it’s just one of those situations that is really unfortunate, but there is no other alternative.”

According to the findings of the AGA, the indefinite closures of the casinos will have a ripple effect on the economy of the region. The report claims that almost half of the jobs in the casino industry are not related to gambling. Businesses that support the industry, such as supply wholesalers, retail, vendors, and restaurants, will also be impacted significantly.

The total economic loss for a two-month shutdown of the gaming industry in the United States could be almost $43.5 billion.

Miller stated, “Gaming is an economic engine, employing millions of local residents, generating community investment through vital tax revenue and supporting small businesses in communities all across the country.”

During the shutdown, the nine land-based casinos in Atlantic City have given employees extended health benefits and other types of compensation packages.

“The federal government must act swiftly and comprehensively to get America’s hospitality employees, and the small businesses that support them, back to work,” Miller said.

“Gaming employees, their families and communities are bearing the brunt of this economic standstill and will continue to suffer if Congress and the administration don’t take immediate action.”

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