New York State Casinos Subject to New 10pm Bar and Restaurant Curfew

  • Bars and restaurants must close between 10pm and 5am, casinos can remain operational 24/7
  • Further restrictions may apply if the new measures do not limit coronavirus spread
  • New York State casinos are already struggling financially because of the 25% capacity limit
  • New Jersey casinos started following a similar COVID-19 directive this week
skyline of lower Manhattan in New York
Casinos in the state of New York will be subject to a new 10pm bar and restaurant curfew starting Friday, November 13 at 10pm. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Cuomo’s new directive

Casinos in the state of New York must close bar and restaurant areas at 10pm under a new directive introduced by Governor Andrew Cuomo. The measures come into full effect on Friday, November 13 at 10pm local time.

Gov. Cuomo announced the new bar, restaurant, and gym curfew this week in an effort to combat the rising number of COVID-19 cases across the state:

Although gaming floors in casinos may remain open at all hours under the restrictions, operators must end bar and restaurant services from 10pm to 5am. Bar seating is completely banned.

gaming floors in casinos may remain open at all hours under the restrictions

During a press briefing, the New York governor told reporters he would introduce further statewide restrictions if the new measures did not reduce the spread of the virus. Speaking about restaurants and gyms, he said: “If these numbers keep going crazy… you will go back to a close down.” The governor has appointed the State Liquor Authority to enforce the new rules.

Other state casino restrictions

New York State casinos closed in mid-March as a result of the ‘first wave’ of coronavirus in the region. Gov. Cuomo permitted casinos to reopen on September 9, subject to a string of restrictions which has limited gaming revenue.

Casinos and video lottery terminal facilities must adhere to a 25% occupancy limit. Strict safety conditions are also in place, including mandatory face coverings and increased spacing between gaming machines. The State Gaming Commission is in charge of enforcing the rules.

As a result of limitations, New York State casinos saw revenue decline for the first full month of operations since reopening in September. According to reports from The Daily Gazette, gaming revenue at Rivers Casino and Resort Schenectady fell 29% year-on-year. Of the state’s casinos, Del Lago Resort and Casino saw the steepest decline, which was down 46% from 2019 levels. As a result, gaming tax figures also fell. Saratoga Casino contributed $2.51m gaming tax in September, 54% less than what it paid out in 2019.

New Jersey’s similar measures

Earlier this week, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy announced similar restrictions for the Garden State, ordering casinos to adhere to a 10pm curfew for bars and restaurants. The new measures will be detrimental to casinos in New Jersey’s gambling hub of Atlantic City, all of which have struggled this year.

combined revenue loss of $112m for the second quarter of 2020, down 85% year-on-year

Because of the March closures, the properties posted a combined revenue loss of $112m for the second quarter of 2020, down 85% year-on-year. Although they got the go-ahead to reopen on July 2, Atlantic City’s casinos have also been subject to capacity limits and strict safety protocols which have impeded recovery.

In September, however, New Jersey’s Assembly Appropriations Committee passed a bill that guaranteed some financial relief for the state’s nine casinos.