Atlantic City Casinos to Stop Food and Drink Service After 10pm, Gambling Will Go On

  • New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy announced the new restrictions earlier this week
  • Measures effective Thursday 10pm, gambling activity to continue around the clock
  • Executives, officials recently called for expanded casino capacity to curb revenue losses
  • Atlantic City casinos had to close between March 16 and July 2 following the pandemic outbreak
Bar worker holds sorry we're closed sign
Indoor food and beverage service at Atlantic City casinos will stop daily after 10pm starting Thursday, as new COVID-19 restrictions come into effect. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Measures come into force tonight

Starting Thursday, Atlantic City casinos can no longer serve food or beverages indoors after 10pm as part of new COVID-19 restrictions. New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy announced the rules earlier this week, at a time when virus cases are rising rapidly across the United States. 

As a result of the new measures, there will be no indoor dining or bar-side seating from 10pm until 5am across the state. Outdoor dining, delivery, and takeout services will carry on after 10pm. Around-the-clock gambling operations at the casinos will continue as normal. 

around-the-clock gambling operations at the casinos will continue as normal

Gov. Murphy spoke about taking a more precision-based approach to restrictions, rather than broad, all-encompassing actions like those implemented in March. Referring to the latest curtailments on indoor dining, he said: “Looking at the data, we are taking surgical steps that we hope will help mitigate the current increasing rate of spread.”

According to figures from The New York Times, the 14-day change in reported cases of COVID-19 in New Jersey is +87%.

A blow to the city

The new restrictions to take effect tonight will be a blow to the region’s casinos that have been operating at lower capacity since reopening in July.

It was only recently that local government officials and casino executives were calling on the governor to allow for greater capacities at these venues in view of decreasing revenue. Local unions were also in favor of such a move.

In a letter to Gov. Murphy, Atlantic City Democratic Assemblymen John Armato and Vince Mazzeo spoke about the need for the return of conventions to help revitalize the city. Without the meetings and conventions industries, the politicians believe “the negative economic impact to both large and small businesses, including lost wages, will be devastating to the market and residents.”

It’s been a tough year

Atlantic City casinos have been battling to get back to normality in recent months. They got the green light to resume operations on July 2 after closing on March 16, following a statewide shutdown order.

On reopening, the casinos could not sell any food or beverages. As a result, the biggest casino in the state, the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, pushed back its reopening to the public until July 26. Since then, the city’s land-based operations have been doing their best to get back to business, with many relying on their online gambling revenues. Indoor dining began once more, and live poker in the city resumed only last month.

a combined loss of $112m in the second quarter

Showcasing the damage caused by the pandemic closures, Atlantic City casinos suffered a combined loss of $112m in the second quarter of 2020. Job cuts also came into the picture as the Borgata laid off 2,295 employees in August.