Although there has not been an official announcement from the State, Atlantic City Casinos are betting on reopening as hotels are now accepting reservations starting June 1st.
Borgata, Hard Rock, Ocean Resort, Harrah’s and some other Atlantic City casinos have opened their reservation date beginning on June 1st.
A room at the Borgata, for instance, is going for around $123 on June 1st, once you factor in all the taxes and fees. The other casinos come in at about the same rate, give or take $10 or so. That’s pretty cheap.
But don’t think you’re getting a bargain once it gets deeper into the summer. Plan on spending $500 per night for a room at the Borgata over the weekend of July 4th.
A customer service agent on the Borgata’s reservation line explained to us that while they are hoping to open on June 1st, all reservations are considered tentative and dependent on when the state allows the casinos to reopen. And Governor Phil Murphy hasn’t given any clear indications about that. According to the Borgata customer service agent we spoke with, any reservations that must be cancelled by the casino will be automatically refunded.
The Atlantic City casinos have been busy disinfecting the properties, top to bottom. And they’re trying to come up with plans for what reopening will look like. Dealers — and perhaps everybody — in masks? Restaurants at 50 percent (or lower?) capacity? Or just room service at first? Do they not host any shows at all? Or do they do shows and keep people six feet apart?
“It’s all on the table right now,” one casino executive told us.
“The governor is going to be extremely conservative with the plan to reopen,” said another. “You’re on top of each other in a casino. Or, well, you used to be. And people have proven that they can’t self-police. And they have cabin fever. It’s going to be interesting.”
As for Governor Murphy’s decision this week to extend the public health emergency by another 30 days, the casinos are leaving the June 1st reopening date in place, at least for now. One casino exec pointed out that the extension is more about the state having access to the resources that it needs. It doesn’t mean that everything is going to stay shut down for that long.
“Extending this declaration ensures that we can continue using every resource at our disposal to mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” said Governor Murphy in a statement on Wednesday. “But I want to ensure that this extension is not interpreted to mean that we are reconsidering our path forward or changing course on the principles I laid out last week in the Road Back plan. We will continue to stand by these principles and protect public health as we responsibly take steps to get the economy moving again.”
Though the state had absolutely no choice but to close the casinos in light of the coronavirus pandemic, the decision has been an unprecedented disaster for Atlantic City, a town that had been showing promising signs of life in recent years.