Atlantic City Casinos Get Closure Notice, Effective Monday Night

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New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, in a joint press conference with fellow governors, announced that Atlantic City’s casinos have been ordered to shut down at 8 p.m. Monday.

The same goes for New York’s upstate commercial casinos, including Resorts World Catskills, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced. Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont was also on the Monday morning call, and Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods casinos in his state will be under similar order.

“The good news is online gaming will continue, the bad news is there’s not much to wager on,” Murphy said at a separate press conference Monday afternoon.

It’s not just casinos that are being impacted by the coronavirus outbreak. Movie theaters, gyms, bars, and restaurants will have the same shutdown time. Restaurants can still offer takeout or delivery — just no sitdown service. New Jersey also is indefinitely imposing a curfew from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m.

Pennsylvania, meanwhile, has a mixed scorecard on shutdowns.

Valley Forge Resort Casino closed on Friday, and it was soon followed by Harrah’s Philadelphia casino and the Rivers Casino properties in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, though western Pennsylvania has had fewer coronavirus cases than the eastern side of the state.

“Although there have been no known cases of COVID-19 at the property, we are suspending operations out of an abundance of caution and to promote the social distancing recommended by health officials,” a Rivers official said, referring to both casinos.

Parx Casino near Philadelphia and Wind Creek casino in Bethlehem soon followed suit. Many of the closings are announced for “two weeks,” but realistically no one knows for sure.

Rhode Island, Ohio, and Illinois officials have mandated casino shutdowns, while the MGM and Wynn casinos in Las Vegas also are closing their doors Monday.

On Sunday night, Michigan joined the list of states shuttering their casinos. Alabama, California, Indiana, and Massachusetts also have had closures, and more states are sure to follow this week.

NJ/NY racetracks also heavily impacted by the coronavirus

The Meadowlands Racetrack and Freehold Raceway canceled their racing cards last weekend, and their resumption of action also is in limbo.

Yonkers Raceway is closed indefinitely after the first death of a New Jersey resident, who was a longtime horse racing trainer most closely affiliated with that track. (Aqueduct Raceway has continued racing, but with no spectators.)

The second COVID19-related death in New Jersey is of a woman from Freehold whose family recently attended a party with the first victim. Several other members of that party also have tested positive for the virus.

Monmouth Park’s racing season doesn’t begin until May 2, and it’s too early to tell if the ban on gatherings of more than 50 people will be lifted by then.

Every state except Maine and Oklahoma has declared public health emergencies.

Without team sports, casinos, or most racetracks as gambling options, what’s a bored gambler to do?

New Jersey and Pennsylvania are among a handful of states that offer extensive online casino betting, and already Pennsylvania has experienced an uptick in such gambling.

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John Brennan

John Brennan has covered NJ and NY sports business and gaming since 2002 and was a Pulitzer Prize Finalist in 2008, while reporting for The Bergen County Record.

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