On March 16, Gov. Phil Murphy ordered lights out at Atlantic City casinos.
There is no timeline on when they will reopen. Murphy has given no official word on a timeline to reopen but hinted at a hopeful reopening by the Fourth of July holiday weekend on May 31.
Here is what Murphy said via NJ.com:
“It’s probably still too early to give you a very specific answer, but there’s a lot of work going into that right now. But we are trying like heck to get toward, I hope, before the Fourth of July or at least by the Fourth of July … that we’re in a position where we can say, you know what, subject to a lot of different parameters, the casinos can be open again.”
All nine AC casinos are impacted:
- Golden Nugget
- Hard Rock Atlantic City
- Ocean Resort Casino
Shortly after the March 16 closure, Murphy said AC casinos would remain closed until it is safe for them to reopen.
“It is no longer time for business as usual. This is real. Stop believing folks who say this isn’t real.”
AC casinos switch focus to online gambling
Online casino gambling in New Jersey has been in growth mode for the last few months. Of course, the revenue generated by online casino apps pales in comparison to what land-based casinos generate.
But that is about to change for the foreseeable future.
So, what happens when someone can’t go to the casino for their weekly entertainment? Will they choose to frequent online casinos?
There is a case for both sides of the story.
There is something about the physical pull of a slot machine handle that can’t be replicated on a computer.
But then again, something is exciting about watching and hoping for the symbols of your favorite game to land just right, regardless of where it happens.
But judging from the April revenue report for online gambling, NJ gamblers moved to the internet for their gambling.
NJ online casinos saw a huge jump in business that month. The industry hit an all-time high of $80 million, a 118.6% jump from the year before.
Top 3 Online Casinos in New Jersey
Curfews and quarantines send people to the internet
With curfews in place and millions of people social distancing to keep safe, it seemed inevitable that casinos in AC, and across the country, would close.
However, there is still a need for what casinos provide customers, a form of entertainment that is also a reprieve from the demands of daily life.
Well, that form of entertainment will be in more demand than ever. Certainly, digital entertainment will become a hot commodity.
And businesses would be smart to give the public what it needs most right now, a way to take their minds off the uncertainty that today brings — even if only for a minute.
People across the country and the world are using the internet to share stories and spread goodwill.
Surely you heard about Italians singing and playing music together as a community from their balconies while in quarantine.
Despite Italy being on lockdown due to coronavirus, a nationwide flash mob event saw Italians singing the national anthem and other traditional songs from their balconieshttps://t.co/PbV1jBvphX pic.twitter.com/CF3O2cenHG
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) March 14, 2020
Coldplay‘s, Chris Martin, held an impromptu concert on Instagram from his home. John Legend plans to do the same today.
And you do not have to scroll far in your Twitter feed to see someone asking for binge-worthy content on Netflix.
AC casinos forced to close before
AC casinos closed four times since gambling began in 1978. Three closures were related to hurricanes and one due to a government shutdown:
- 1985: Hurricane Gloria
- 2006: Government shutdown (three days)
- 2011: Hurricane Irene (three days)
- 2012: Hurricane Sandy (five days)
When will AC casinos open? Until now, casino closures lasted only days. And while there is no certainty as to how long this closure will last, it will be weeks, possibly months.
Now, more than ever, casinos will be relying on revenue from their online platforms. New Jersey’s progressive attitude toward online casino gambling is paying off in spades.
Image credit: Felix Mizioznikov / Shutterstock.com