Atlantic City Casinos Can Reopen July 2, Gov. Phil Murphy Says No ‘Knuckleheads’

Posted on: June 22, 2020, 01:36h. 

Last updated on: June 23, 2020, 08:22h.

Atlantic City casinos can reopen on July 2, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy (D) announcing today that the nine gaming resorts will be permitted to operate at 25 percent capacity early next month.

Atlantic City casinos July 4 Borgata
Borgata and the eight other Atlantic City casinos will be back open in time for the July 4 holiday weekend. (Image: Borgata Blog)

Atlantic City casinos have been shuttered since March 16. The casino operators have been waiting for weeks for a reopening date, causing division among the state’s most powerful Democrats.

On Monday, word finally came from Murphy himself.

“Casinos will be permitted to open on July 2nd at 25 percent capacity,” the governor tweeted. Murphy warned, however, that anyone not following the health safety measures that will be required for the casinos to reopen will be dealt with quickly.

If any visitor refuses to comply with our simple safeguards, they’ll be escorted out. We’re not going to tolerate any knuckleheads trying to ruin it for those who wish to enjoy themselves responsibly,” the governor declared.

The Thursday date is just ahead of the Independence Day weekend. Casinos had pleaded with the governor to allow them to reopen before the July 4 holiday, as it’s typically one of their busiest weeks of the year.

Close Quarters

Along with the 25 percent maximum capacity regulation, Murphy says additional safety and health guidelines for casinos will be issued in the coming days.

In other states where commercial casinos have reopened, typical health safety measures include the mandatory wearing of face masks for employees (and sometimes gamblers), plexiglass dividers at table games with reduced seating, and certain slot machines disabled to promote social distancing.

Joe Lupo, president of Hard Rock Atlantic City, told the Associated Press that the resort is “delighted” to have a concrete reopening date. “We thank the governor that we’ll be able to be open for the July 4th weekend to meet the demand on the world-famous Atlantic City Boardwalk.”

Murphy had previously stated that allowing casinos to resume operations is a “tough nut” because gaming floors are indoors where “there’s no ventilation.” Lupo countered today, saying, “Our air filtration is better than most hospitals.”

Lupo added that regardless of what the state mandates, Hard Rock will require guests to wear face coverings, and temperature checks will be conducted before entry is granted to workers and patrons.

What Discounts?

Unlike earlier this month, when Las Vegas casinos were permitted to reopen, guests venturing to the nation’s second-richest gaming market won’t find quite as many sweet deals during the town’s initial reopening.

Room rates for Atlantic City casinos over the July 4 holiday are higher than what can be found on the Las Vegas Strip. For a three-night stay July 2-5, Harrah’s Atlantic City is going for an average nightly rate of $224. Hard Rock is $204, and Ocean Casino $326.

By comparison, the same three nights can be booked in Las Vegas for $183/night at Caesars Palace, $194 at Wynn Las Vegas, and $186 at Bellagio.