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Indoor Dining Returns To New Jersey Casinos

Gov. Phil Murphy Announced The Ban Would Be Lifted Friday Morning


Atlantic City casinos got some good news Monday as New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced that the indoor dining ban will be lifted later this week.

Murphy said that beginning Friday, September 4, restaurants will be allowed to have indoor patrons and must operate at 25 percent capacity.

According to a Press of Atlantic City report, Murphy’s lifting of the ban will bring both jobs and consumers back to the casinos.

“We are very pleased to resume indoor dining this Friday, allowing us to bring valued team members back to work,” Joe Lupo, president of Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City told the daily newspaper. “We have seen tremendous success with our outdoor dining venues, although weather variables have been a real challenge. Opening indoor dining brings back a key amenity that our guests know, love and deserve.”

In late June, Murphy announced that both brick-and-mortar gambling operators would be eligible to reopen for business July 2, marking the end of one of the longest coronavirus-induced shutdowns of the gaming sector by any state. He was also going to allow indoor dining on that same day but reneged on that promise just a few days before the scheduled opening.

With restaurants unable to seat guests inside, there was one less draw to attract customers to the Atlantic City properties. Gamblers inside were forced to eat outside or take the food to their hotel rooms while the ban was in place. This mandate won’t affect the serious gambler, but guests who would gamble a small amount while enjoying a night out are likely not frequenting a casino while it is in place.

Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, the state’s highest-grossing casino, decided to push back its opening date until it could properly adjust its business model to the mandate. It reopened later that month.

July’s revenue report reflected the situation as brick-and-mortar revenue was down more than 20 percent year-over-year with $248.7 million in winnings.