New York casinos are coming up against a brick wall as the state’s governor recently announced the further delay of casino property reopenings.
Andrew Cuomo, New York’s Governor, announced that the state’s casinos will remain closed, deeming them non-essential versus other businesses and establishments in the state. This announcement affects the state’s four commercial casinos, which have already experienced the longest cease of operations in the USA.
Also, based on recent comments made by the governor, these establishments will not be reopening any time soon. The casinos in question include famous properties such as Del Lago Resort and Casino, Rivers Casino, Tioga Downs Casino Resort and Resorts World Catskills. These establishments, along with 12 of the state’s commercial casinos have been closed ever since the March 16 lockdown imposed by the state in order to curb the pandemic’s spread. Currently, there is no timetable for their reopening. The state will be the last gambling market to reopen its casino establishments as recently, Detroit’s Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive order allowing Detroit casinos to reopen.
Cuomo explained the state’s decision to reopen shopping centres and malls but not casinos. He said that people need necessities such as food, clothes, and home goods but casinos are not needed to maintain survival. He further added that measures against the pandemic bring about an issue of density, the likelihood of compliance and the essential nature of the business as state officials determine which businesses should open based on established criteria. Casinos are not the only ones affected by this as other establishments that have been deemed non-essential include gyms and movie theatres as they are yet to open their doors.
One of Cuomo’s strict reopening policies can be attributed to the initial COVID-19 cases in the state. New York City had the most number of cases in the USA, being one of the states heavily hit by the outbreak with 450,000 positive cases for COVID-19, deeming it one of the epicentres of the outbreak. Putting things into perspective, none of the state’s four casinos are even in the general vicinity of the City of Manhattan as they are a couple of hours drive away. Even the closest casino to the city, Resorts World Catskills, is a more than a two-hour drive.
On the other hand, the majority of tribal (Indian) casinos in the state have been open for nearly two months, gradually resuming operations since mid-June. These casinos have several safety protocols in place with one of the more unique measures coming from Turning Stone Casino which only permits guests who live within 120 miles of the casino.
The shutdown has not only affected establishments but also their employees. Last month, six of the state’s commercial properties filed Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notifications (WARN), affecting more than 5,000 workers. These workers have already been furloughed and casinos may face massive layoffs if they are still closed for extended periods.
As it stands, the state is facing a massive budget gap and some communities need the tax money in order to stay afloat.