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New Jersey Casinos To Reopen July 2

Atlantic City's Nine Casinos Will Operate At 25% Capacity, According To Tweet From Gov. Phil Murphy


New Jersey casinos can reopen on July 2, according to a Monday morning tweet from Garden State Gov. Phil Murphy.

Murphy’s tweet also stated that Atlantic City’s nine casinos would be allowed to operate at 25 percent capacity. Indoor dining would be permitted on the same date at that same capacity. Additional guidelines for the reopening of the gaming market will be released in the next several days.

Those guidelines will likely include several social distancing measures such as a decreased number of players allowed at each table, enhanced sanitization measures, and masks for both players and staff.

According to a report from ABC News, casino owners have already been planning internal guidelines. Joe Lupo, president of Hard Rock Atlantic City, told ABC that his casino will require masks and have hand sanitizing stations located throughout the property. He also said that it has upgraded other parts of the casino that should easily exceed standards set by regulators.

“Our air filtration is better than most hospitals,” said Lupo.

The announcement came just a few hours before Murphy held a briefing on the COVID-19 pandemic, where he gave the green light for sports and personal care businesses to reopen immediately.

Murphy has been one of the most restrictive governors in the country. The announcement comes more than three months after he forced brick-and-mortar casinos to close on March 16. The reopening will mark the end of a 108-day closure, one of the longest gaming shutdowns in the country.

Given how strict Murphy has been with the shutdown, it seems unlikely that poker games will flourish in New Jersey at the outset of the reopening.

In Las Vegas, both MGM Resorts and Caesars Entertainment opted to keep its poker rooms closed at the start of the reopening on June 4. Only recently, were rooms opened with heavy restrictions at Caesars Palace and Bellagio. The two most popular poker rooms in Atlantic City, Borgata and Harrah’s, are owned by the two gaming giants.

It also wouldn’t be shocking to see Murphy take a page from Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s playbook. Whitmer will not allow poker rooms to reopen at the start of Michigan’s gaming market reopening process. She has yet to announce a date for when Detroit’s three commercial casinos can resume business.