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New York Casinos Allowed To Reopen Next Week

Gov. Cuomo Said That Casinos Could Reopen On September 9 As Long As New Air Filtration Standards Are Met

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Following a nearly six-month shutdown, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that the state’s four commercial casinos will be allowed to reopen next week.

In a conference call with reporters Thursday, the governor said that casinos are eligible to accept wagers again as early as Wednesday, September 9. Like with every other gaming market that has reopened in the wake of COVID-19, those casinos must comply with guidelines set forth by the state to ensure a safe environment for gamblers.

When casinos first let customers inside, only slot machines will be available for gambling. Table games have not been cleared by the state’s gaming regulators but could be after the operators install plexiglass dividers. Face masks will be required for anyone inside, some slot machines will be turned off to ensure social distancing takes place, and casinos will be allowed to operate at just 25 percent capacity.

The state will also require that properties have air filtration systems in place that meet new specifications laid out by the state.

“Casinos can open Sept. 9 on the condition that they have the enhanced air filtration system in place before they open,” said Cuomo on the conference call.

Resorts World Catskills announced that it will reopen on Wednesday, while Rivers Casino, del Lago and Tioga Downs have yet to commit to a date. A Resorts World executive told the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle that its air filtration system already exceeds the state’s standards and there will be at least 200 hand sanitizing stations located throughout the property.

The move ends one of the longest gaming shutdowns of any state. A month ago, Cuomo wouldn’t give a timeline for the reopening of the gaming market, citing concerns over “density, the likelihood of compliance and the essential nature of the business.”

Unemployed workers of those casinos responded with a public rally at the Capitol in Albany two weeks ago, urging the governor to let them back to work. Many of those workers will be slowly brought back to work as Resorts World alone furloughed about 1,200 of its 1,400-person workforce.