No smoking, drinking or dining at Atlantic City casinos

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

While most of the Atlantic City casinos will reopen on July 2, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has issued a ban on drinking and smoking at all gambling venues. Indoor dining was scheduled to resume in the Garden State this week, but that has also been put on hold.

Murphy stated that the actions were taken because the public was not compliant with social distancing rules and the wearing of face masks. There has been a spike in the COVID-19 virus across much of the United States, so the New Jersey government is taking no chances.

Murphy said, “Unfortunately the national scene compounded by instances of knucklehead behavior here at home is requiring us to hit pause on the restart of indoor dining for the foreseeable future.”

When asked about the time frame of the restrictions, he added, “I don’t think it’s a matter of days, but a matter of weeks. We have enormous sympathy but the alternative here is worse and unacceptable.”

Immediately after Murphy’s restrictions were announced, Borgata Atlantic City further postponed its opening. New Jersey’s top-ranked casino was scheduled for a soft opening on July 2 before recommencing operations in earnest on July 6, but those plans have been canned.

“Our guests expect a special experience when they come to our property and if we cannot provide that level of hospitality, we feel it best that we remain closed until such time that the governor lets us know it is safe to offer food and beverage,” said a statement from Borgata’s parent company, MGM Resorts International.

“The health and safety of our employees and guests are at the center of all that we do, and we regret that, at this time, we are unable to welcome back the thousands of employees who are anxious to return to work. We look forward to a time when it is safe to welcome everyone back.”

Businesses in New Jersey have been slow to reopen, but many of the casinos in Atlantic City will be open for business on July 2 with an allowance of 25% capacity. On Monday, June 29, indoor shopping malls were allowed to open for business as well.

Like casinos, indoor dining was given an allowance of 25% of capacity before the Governor rescinded it. New Jersey has been one of the states hit hardest by the pandemic, and Murphy said, “None of us, none of us want to go back to that hell. We’ve worked too hard to get here.”

Steve Callender, head of the Tropicana and president of the Casino Association of New Jersey, recently told The Associated Press, “No smoking is very bad for casinos.” He added that the ban could cause more Atlantic City casinos to push back their reopening plans.

In 2008, Atlantic City attempted to prohibit smoking in casinos. However, when gambling revenue significantly decreased and many customers complained, the ban was lifted after only 20 days. However, casinos can now only permit smoking on up to 25% of the casino floor.

MGM Resorts International said in a statement that current conditions are not right for the reopening of the Borgata.

“Our guests expect a special experience when they come to our property and if we cannot provide that level of hospitality, we feel it best that we remain closed until such time that the governor lets us know it is safe to offer food and beverage,” the company said.

“The health and safety of our employees and guests are at the center of all that we do, and we regret that, at this time, we are unable to welcome back the thousands of employees who are anxious to return to work. We look forward to a time when it is safe to welcome everyone back.”

Show More
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.