Atlantic City Casino Restrictions Loosened, Capacity Increased

Posted on: February 4, 2021, 09:28h. 

Last updated on: February 4, 2021, 09:28h.

Atlantic City casinos will be required to adhere to fewer operating restrictions beginning tomorrow, February 5.

Atlantic City casino Phil Murphy COVID-19
New Jersey Phil Murphy is allowing Atlantic City casinos to increase their capacity, and serve food and beverages 24/7. The directive means racetrack sportsbooks will be open for the entirety of this weekend’s Super Bowl. (Image: Press of Atlantic City)

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) announced yesterday that he’s lifting the 10 pm nightly suspension of indoor food and beverage service. He’s also allowing restaurants to increase their indoor capacity from 25 percent to 35 percent. Bar seating remains on hold.

For casinos, around the clock food and beverage is critical. The gaming floors, beginning tomorrow, can accommodate more people, as their operating capacities are also being increased to 35 percent.

The curfew repeal means sportsbooks at the state’s three horse racetracks won’t have to kick out guests at 10 pm during this Sunday’s Super Bowl LV.

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, my Administration has used science, data, and facts to guide our decision-making process,” Murphy declared Wednesday. “The downward trend of COVID-19 cases in our hospitals, coupled with the state’s decreasing rate of transmission, allows us to confidently expand our indoor capacity limits without leading to undue further stress on our health care systems.

“I am incredibly grateful to the millions of New Jerseyans who have been vigilant in practicing social distancing and wearing face coverings, and I urge everyone to continue their efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19,” the governor explained.

Trump Plaza Auction

Trump Plaza is set for implosion on February 17. Twenty auction winners will have front-row seats for the event.

While it wasn’t nearly the $1 million Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small (D) had hoped for, a city-ran auction surrounding the demolishing of the shuttered Boardwalk casino resort built by the former president raised $16,000. Ten auction packages that include an overnight stay at Hard Rock with a $200 dining credit, plus two tickets to an implosion viewing party hosted by Small at One Atlantic, raised the $16,000.

Hard Rock additionally donated $10,000. The proceeds will go to the Boys & Girls Club of Atlantic City.

Small originally wanted to hold an auction for the rights to hit the implosion button. But Trump Plaza owner Carl Icahn’s people said such an event would jeopardize the safety of the implosion. The billionaire, however, matched the high auction offer, which was $175,000 at the time.

All in, the bringing down of the long-shuttered Atlantic City eyesore raised $201,000 for the Boys & Girl Club.

Recovery Jumpstart

Atlantic City’s nine casinos saw their land-based gross gaming revenue plummet nearly $1.2 billion in 2020. While internet gaming surged — online casinos winning $931.5 million of gamblers’ bets — the brick-and-mortar casinos are more profitable during a non-pandemic environment.

Along with gaming, Atlantic City casinos generate revenue from food and beverage, overnight hotel stays, entertainment, and shopping.

Casino executives in Atlantic City and across the nation are betting on pent-up demand to jumpstart the gaming industry’s recovery.

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