SOME AC CASINOS MAY NOT SURVIVE THE PANDEMIC PAUSE!

By Harvey Hoffman

Business all over the United States have been closed because of the coronavirus.

And according to the American Gaming Association (AGA) Atlantic City is now virtually costing New Jersey $540 million in casino revenues every month while they remain locked down amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“We haven’t seen it play out yet, but if you look at the economic numbers that are going to start coming out in the coming weeks, this portends to be a worse economic downturn than we even saw in the great recession,” Clyde Barrow, a professor at University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and an expert on the casino industry, told The NY Post.

Meanwhile, more than 26,000 workers are out of a job, part of a ripple effect that is putting a massive dent in Atlantic City’s $2.9 billion-a-year casino industry, experts and officials say.

“It will be the biggest blow to the casino industry that we’ve seen in a lifetime,” Barrow added.

The nation’s casinos estimate that they will lose more than $43 billion in revenue over the next two months before the COVID-19 crisis dissipates and the economy begins to try to return to normal, according to a report in The Hill last month.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy ordered all nine of Atlantic City’s casinos to close March 16, just the fifth time the gambling houses had been shut in the 42-year history of legalized gambling in New Jersey.

The last time was for Hurricane Sandy in 2012, when the casinos closed for three days, the report said.

This time, the casinos will remain closed indefinitely, leaving the boardwalk empty and local businesses gambling on their future.

According to the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, Atlantic City casinos had 26,450 full-and part-time workers when they closed, with the Borgata the largest employer with 5,562 employees.

Barrow said it’s a safe bet the pandemic will put some of the casinos out of business for good.

“That means some casinos won’t survive,” he said. “Some may go into bankruptcy, as happened back in 2006 and 2010” during the recession.

“There will be some losers, and there will be some winners,” he said.

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