Atlantic City Casinos Now Accepting Hotel Reservations for June 1st and Beyond
But don't expect to be arm-to-arm at the craps table anytime soon.
Could Atlantic City casinos reopen as early as June 1st? That’s what most of the casino properties in the Jersey Shore town seem to be betting on.
You can now make a room reservation for the Borgata, Hard Rock, Ocean Resort, Harrah’s and some other Atlantic City casinos beginning on June 1st. So, no, not Memorial Day Weekend, a.k.a. the unofficial start of summer in these parts. But one week later.
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.
None of the Atlantic City casino executives and representatives that we reached out to would offer an official comment about a potential June 1st date for Atlantic City casinos reopening. But their off-the-record consensus is that this is going to be a gradual and phased reopening. So don’t expect to be arm-to-arm at the craps table with other players anytime soon.
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.
More than 25,000 Atlantic City casino employees now find themselves unemployed as a result of the coronavirus closing the casinos, and many of them live right there in the incredibly impoverished city. And it’s not as if the reopening of the casinos will mean an automatic return to the record-setting revenues from last summer.
“We don’t even know how many people will want to come into the casino once we are open,” one Atlantic City casino insider told us. “So many people have switched over to online gambling. There’s no way that all of the casinos down here are going to recover from this.”
Speaking of which, one of the country’s main credit rating agencies recently predicted that while all of the casinos may reopen, Atlantic City’s Ocean Resort could face “eventual closure” thanks to the current financial environment as well as the casino’s relatively lackluster performance prior to the forced closing. On the other hand, Ocean Resort did just get some good news that suggests things might not be quite so bleak. Ocean Resort is the casino that replaced Revel, Atlantic City’s infamous $2.4 billion boondoggle.
“We have the potential of an Armageddon in Atlantic City,” George Tibbitt, the president of the town’s City Council, recently told Politico.