New York State Casinos Face Months of Financial Challenges: Analyst

Posted on: October 21, 2020, 02:27h. 

Last updated on: October 21, 2020, 02:47h.

Resorts World Catskills and other regional casinos face economic challenges for at least a year because of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a financial firm.

Resorts World Catskills
Resorts World Catskills, seen here, is about 90 miles northwest of New York City. The Empire State’s casinos were allowed to reopen Sept. 9 after a COVID-19 lockdown. (Image: Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg)

Regional casinos are confronted with several pandemic-related concerns, according to Moody’s Investors Services. These include government restrictions on the number of customers who can enter the property at one time.

After a six-month lockdown because of COVID-19, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) allowed the state’s casinos to reopen Sept. 9 at 25 percent capacity. He also required physical barriers, such as plexiglass walls, at table games. Social-distancing also is mandated.

At Resorts World Catskills, 758 of 1,600 slot machines and 70 of 151 table games are in operation under the restrictions, according to the Times Herald-Record. The newspaper this week reported on Moody’s findings.

These restrictions and other issues have Moody’s believing casinos face “at least 12 to 18 months of serious financial challenges” due to the pandemic, according to the newspaper.

Moody’s research analyst Keith Foley said a state gaming license at one time was “a moneymaker,” according to the newspaper.

However, in the current environment, with casino saturation in the Northeast, the dynamic is changing. At least 30 gaming properties are within a few hours of New York City, the newspaper reported. Resorts World Catskills is near Monticello, about 90 miles northwest of New York City.

“You can’t keep building casinos and expecting them to fill up,” Foley said.

Combating COVID-19

Lingering coronavirus fears also might have an impact on the industry’s financial stability. The Moody’s analyst said crowds might be slow to return to casinos even after a coronavirus vaccine is developed and state restrictions are lifted, according to the newspaper. Casinos attract older crowds in the age group more at risk of becoming sick with the coronavirus, Foley said.

In addition to placing capacity restrictions on casinos and other businesses, New York officials are attempting to stem the spread of the coronavirus by requiring some visitors to quarantine for a period of time.

New York state requires travelers from 40 states and territories to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.

These are states and territories that “have a significant degree of community-wide spread of COVID-19,” according to the New York state website.

Resorts World Expands at Aqueduct

In New York City, Resorts World is undergoing an expansion at its site adjacent to the historic Aqueduct horse track.

Malaysian-based Genting Americas has announced plans for a 400-room hotel at Resorts World Casino New York City. The casino and racetrack are in Queens, near John F. Kennedy International Airport.

The eight-story hotel will be operated by Hyatt Regency. It is expected to open in 2021.

Resorts World Casino New York City opened in October 2011. It is the only casino in one of the five New York City boroughs, though two casinos are near the city limits. Jake’s 58 Hotel Casino is in Islandia on Long Island, east of Queens. Empire City Casino is at the harness track in Yonkers, just north of the Bronx.