Northeast states could be last in US to reopen casinos

At the beginning of June, about a third of the land-based casinos in the United States had reopened. New Jersey’s casinos are all still closed, and the state may be one of the last to allow its gaming venues to reopen. New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has hinted that Atlantic City casinos may be able to open for the Independence Day weekend, but that is far from certain.

On Thursday, June 4, Nevada casinos began reopening, which is significant as 20% of the land-based casinos in the US are located there. While the Silver States has legal online gambling and online poker, there has been lobbying to curb both since the land-based casino operators think those things could cut into their bottom line.

After New York, New Jersey has been hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic. It is also the state that has the most developed market for online gambling, which was legalized in 2013.

The New Jersey land-based casinos are not doing as bad as those in Nevada since the online gambling industry in the Garden State has been booming during the pandemic. In the month of April, online casino revenue in the Garden State reached a record high of $80 million.

New York and Massachusetts are also in the northeast and, like New Jersey, they have been cautious about reopening their land-based casinos. Neither of those states have legal online gambling, yet they are also not as dependent on the casino industry as New Jersey is.

Pennsylvania was the first state in the northeast to open its casino doors again. Three gaming venues in the Keystone State were given the green light to relaunch from June 5 onward, although it is expected they won’t commence operations until the week beginning June 8. The three casinos are in the western part of Pennsylvania and have not been affected as much by the pandemic.

The remaining casinos in Pennsylvania will be slow to reopen because they are closer to the Philadelphia area, where coronavirus infections remain rather high. The three casinos that can open are Rivers Casino, the Meadows Racetrack & Casino, and Lady Luck Nemacolin, all near Pittsburgh in the west of the state.

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