This week, physical casinos in Atlantic City New Jersey were supposed to open up. But now that’s changed. On Monday night, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy issued guidelines for the reopening. But they are so harsh that casinos have said they will not open under such conditions – even parts of the casinos that were slated to be outdoors.
The order states that when casinos reopen, they cannot allow smoking. But it doesn’t stop there. It also states that no one is permitted to drink any type of beverage inside a casino. Not even a glass of water!
“No smoking is very bad for casinos,” said Steve Callender, head of Tropicana Casino and president of the Casino Association of New Jersey, told The Associated Press. Asked Monday night whether the smoking ban could be a deal-breaker that could cause additional casinos to choose not to reopen under such restrictions, Callender said, “I very well think it could.”
Atlantic City’s top-performing casino, the Borgata, dropped its plans to reopen. It had planned to hold an invitation-only “soft opening” on Thursday, and then open its doors to the general public starting July 6.
Now there is chaos in Atlantic City, with no one able to say definitively when the casinos will reopen.
This is a disaster for the state. Beyond the thousands of jobs that reopening casinos would have created, there’s the tax money casinos bring in to the state.
We cannot imagine what is going on in Murphy’s mind.
He said the order was issued because he felt that when smoking or drinking a beverage, people have to take their masks off. But what does he think happens when people go out to eat in restaurants?
The Borgata’s parent company, MGM Resorts International, said in a statement that the conditions just aren’t right for them to reopen.
“Our guests expect a special experience when they come to our property and if we cannot provide that level of hospitality, we feel it best that we remain closed until such time that the governor lets us know it is safe to offer food and beverage,” the company said. “The health and safety of our employees and guests are at the center of all that we do, and we regret that, at this time, we are unable to welcome back the thousands of employees who are anxious to return to work. We look forward to a time when it is safe to welcome everyone back.”
People need jobs, or else they will get evicted from their homes. This order is a slap in the face to everyone who wants to work in an Atlantic City casino. It’s also a slap in the face to anyone who just wants to drink a glass of water while playing blackjack.