Over the last few weeks, COVID-19 continues to surge throughout the U.S. States are preparing for a second wave that is looking to be worse than the first wave the country saw back in March and April. Entertainment and indoor dining could be facing more shutdowns to help mitigate the virus.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy recently limited indoor dining at casinos against hoping to help reduce the spread. He felt the backlash from it but believes it is necessary to get ahead of the virus. “I don’t have a comparison with Philadelphia, but as an absolute matter, casinos have had to comply with closing restaurants and bars by 10 p.m.,” Murphy said during a press conference.
New York and New Jersey were pounded by COVID-19 back in March and April but have not seen the spikes in recent like what other parts of the country have seen.
New York and New Jersey Casinos
New York and New Jersey casinos have not had to shut down AS of writing due to COVID outbreaks. Although there are still restrictions with 25% capacity, casinos are operating on a limited basis with social distancing measures.
In early July, Atlantic City casinos reopened for the first time since the pandemic started, and tribal casinos in upstate New York reopened a few weeks prior. New York’s commercial casinos were the last to reopen as Gov. Andrew Cuomo forced them to remain closed for nearly six months until early September.
Since then, there have been very few COVID outbreaks incidents due to casinos or even employees or patrons testing positive. The worst was when Meadowland Racecourse closed for a week due to a positive COVID test but could reopen not long after.
This does not mean that COVID could not be spread through casinos. Gov. Murphy takes extra precautions, so the New Jersey – New York area does not see the same spikes. Gov. Cuomo will be doing the same thing with New York casinos as well.
The New York and New Jersey area has been more fortunate, but that could change in a matter of weeks.
Casinos Across the U.S.
Multiple states are closing or limiting casino patrons. States like Ohio are putting curfews on casinos so overnight cleaning crews can cleanse the high touch areas. Michigan and Illinois announced closures of its commercial casinos for at least 14 days.
Although tribal casinos in Michigan are allowed to remain open since they do not need to follow executive orders, the same thing is happening in New Mexico with its commercial and tribal casinos. With numbers rising throughout the U.S., the states that are fortunate to have online casino gaming and sports betting will fair well during this second wave compared to states that do not have online gaming.
If states do not have a way to collect revenue from gaming, they could face serious budget deficits. This could be a good way for states to consider online gaming or sports betting if they have not done so. Some states could even speed up the legal process.